You may be one of many Connecticut railroad employees who come from a long line of railroad workers in your family. Perhaps your father, grandfather or even great grandfather worked in the same industry. In fact, their stories may have ignited the first sparks of interest that led you to follow the same employment path even though your loved ones may have told you how dangerous work on the railroad was for them.
It remains one of the most dangerous types of jobs in the U.S. today. However, you and your fellow co-workers receive protection in ways that past generations of railroad employees did not. Advanced technology has brought about better safety equipment, and the system through which injured workers may claim benefits has also changed. Every railroad worker should be familiar with the Federal Employers Liability Act, commonly referred to as the FELA. If you suffer an injury on the job, you can reach out for immediate support.
Everything changed in 1908
Sadly, the early years of railroad development in the U.S. were marked by power-hungry railway owners and greedy employers who were fighting to try to corner the market and did not always have employees’ best interests in mind. This caused many serious injuries, even deaths, to occur due to employer negligence. In 1908, however, the U.S. Congress enacted the FELA, which provided immediate protection to thousands of railroad workers across the nation.
The FELA system works in place of workers’ compensation
In most other employment industries, employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, which provides benefits to employees who suffer injury in the workplace. As an employee of a Connecticut railroad, you do not get workers’ comp benefits if you’re injured on the job; however, the FELA provides a system of legal recovery, which you may navigate if you believe your employer’s negligence caused your injury.
Proof of liability
The FELA process differs from workers’ comp because the latter requires no proof of liability. It is merely a standardized system where in you may claim benefits to help pay medical bills and replace lost wages following workplace injury. If you file a claim under the FELA process, you must show evidence that all defendants you name in your claim are liable for your injuries.
Your employer’s obligations
Railroad employers are obligated to provide proper training and equipment to keep you as safe as possible on the job. They must also employ all available measures to keep you safe from the harmful actions of others while you work. If your employer fails to adhere to safety protocols, resulting in a train collision or workplace accident that causes you injury, the court may hold your employer legally accountable for any and all expenses you incur in connection with the incident.