The history of the railroad in the United States dates back to the 1800s. Since then, thousands of people, perhaps yourself and maybe even some of your family members included, have earned their livings as linemen, engineers, conductors and other workers on the tracks and in offices behind the scenes. As a current railroad employee, you’ve likely heard of the Federal Employers Liability Act although you may not realize how critical it is to your protection.
Before the FELA became law, the average railroad worker in the United States could expect to survive seven years. Back then, a major problem for railroad workers was employers who placed profit over safety. Some say not much has changed in that regard. One thing has definitely changed, however. Because of the FELA, you can seek legal accountability against an employer if negligence results in your injury.
Safety improvements implemented because of the FELA
As a railroad employee, the FELA provides protection to you and your co-workers in many ways. The following list tells how, and provides information regarding other resources available to help protect your rights if you suffer injury while working on the railroad:
- One safety measure the FELA required railroad administrators to implement was to make sure all handholds and grab irons remain in good repair.
- Inspectors must also regularly check hand brakes to confirm that they are functioning properly.
- There are also train brakes and engine brakes subject to inspection under the FELA. All braking systems must be working as designed each time a locomotive heads down the tracks.
- If you suffer injury after falling on a slippery floor or tripping over random debris in the walkway or engine area, you may have grounds for litigation.
- The FELA helps enforce the idea that the court can hold individuals, employers and companies accountable for their actions.
The FELA also prompted removal of asbestos from pipe coverings and brake system linings. This law may be your ticket to justice if another party or parties’ negligence causes you injury. Many railroad injuries are catastrophic, leaving workers unable to return to their duties for extended amounts of time, perhaps even permanently. If you suffer injury on the railroad, you may face a long, challenging road ahead to recovery.
Railroad litigation is often very complex, which is why most injured railroad workers in Connecticut opt in for allowing experienced attorneys to advocate on their behalves in court.