Atlanta Train Accident Attorney
Trains are a common mode of transportation in the United States, from subways and passengers’ trains to commuter rails, trams, and more. While train accidents aren’t as common as traffic accidents, they can cause serious injuries and fatalities when they do occur. In 2019, the United States recorded a total of 1,835 train accidents, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. Over 900 people died as a result of a train accident or incident on the railroads. Most train accidents occur due to human error or other acts of negligence. Railroad workers face a higher risk of injury and death than workers in many other fields. If you were injured in a train accident, or your loved one was killed, you can hire our Atlanta train accident attorney to help you seek justice and collect compensation for your injuries or loss.
Railroad Workers and FELA
At the turn of the 20th century, the railroad industry was expanding quickly without any care or concern for the safety standards of railroad workers.
Railroad employees were injured and killed as a matter of course, and the railroads barely compensated them for their injuries or their families for the death of their breadwinner. As a result, in 1906, Congress enacted the Federal Employees Liability Act (FELA) to provide compensation for railroad employees who sustain injuries on the job.
What an Injured Railroad Worker Must Prove
Unlike worker’s compensation laws, under FELA an injured railroad employee must prove that the railroad was at fault and could have prevented the employee’s injuries or death.
Under FELA, an injured railroad worker must prove:
- The accident happened while the railroad worker was on the job with the railroad.
- The railroad was negligent (at fault).
- The railroad’s negligence played some part (even the slightest part), in causing the injury or death.
What You Can Recover Under FELA
Under FELA, the family of a railroad employee who suffered wrongful death or an injured railroad employee is entitled to recover compensation for:
- Past, present, and probable future harm attributable to the railroad’s negligence
- Past and future lost wages and benefits
- Pain & suffering
- Emotional distress injuries
To build a strong case and increase your chances of getting the compensation that you deserve, it’s critical that you contact an experienced train accident lawyer BEFORE completing an accident report and giving a statement to the railroad.
Railroad Employees Covered Under FELA
The test for whether a railroad employee is covered under FELA is determined by evaluating whether what he/she does in any way furthers or affects transportation. It’s enough if any part of the employee’s duties affects commerce.
Railroad employees such as conductors, switchmen, brakemen, engineers, laborers, and the following types of railroad employees have been considered covered under the FELA:
- A lumber tie inspector was covered by FELA because many of the ties were being sent across state lines.
- A railroad’s clerical employee was covered by the FELA because her handling of the railroad tracings for blueprints was essential to the maintenance of the trains.
- A fireman developed silicosis due to years of inhalation of silica from locomotives’ sanding boxes.
- A member of a switching crew handled cars that were not destined for interstate commerce until after the accident. He was on a railroad track, considered to be an interstate highway, at the time of the accident.
The only way you can be sure if your case is covered under FELA is to talk to an Atlanta train accident attorney. Contact us for a FREE, no-obligation consultation.
Railroad Worker Injury Claims
In the early 1900s, railroads were one of the main sources of transportation and shipping in the United States. Thousands of people worked on our nation’s railroads, maintaining the tracks and the trains.
Railroads were and still are the backbone of our country, with over 140,000 miles of tracks, millions of passengers, and roughly 113,300 railroad employees. Today, railroads provide secure employment and good pay, but they aren’t always the safest place to work.
In 1908, the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) was enacted. This was meant to address the dangerous conditions many railroad employees faced. Before the 1900s, switchmen and brakemen faced harrowing odds: the average lifespan was seven years, and the odds of dying a natural death were four to one.
When employees were injured or killed on the railroad, they had little to no way to recover damages. Most employees were considered to have “assumed the risk” of working on a railroad, and the railroad company would use that consideration against the employee. Thankfully, FELA put a stop to that practice.
Railroad workers are protected by federal law when a railroad provides interstate commerce between multiple states. The Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) requires railroads to be safe for workers by following safety guidelines and conducting routine safety inspections.
An injured railroad worker can recover damages if they show that an act by the railroad company, or a failure to act, caused the worker’s injuries. Family members of killed railroad workers can also receive compensation if the company’s negligence played a role in the death of their loved ones.
Why Hire A Lawyer After A Train Accident?
Victims of train accidents may be severely injured and traumatized, which can result in expensive medical attention or time away from work. A train accident lawyer can help you determine liability in an accident and collect compensation to help cover your losses.
Federal and state laws that govern railroad safety are complex. Different government agencies may investigate the scene of the crash. It takes an experienced Atlanta train accident attorney to sift through these complicated laws and investigations and build a strong case for you, putting your mind at ease.
FELA for Railroad Workers
FELA enables injured railroad workers to sue the railroad company for negligence, either at a federal or state level suit. The act also eliminated antiquated laws that allowed railroad companies to escape litigation. In 1939, FELA finally abolished the “assumption of risk” clause, making it much easier for railroad workers to collect compensation for any work-related injuries.
Unlike worker’s compensation laws, which don’t require proof of negligence, FELA allows employees to sue the railroad company and hold it liable for costs. This is significant because worker’s compensation isn’t always enough to cover the expenses associated with a railroad accident. In many cases, railroad injures are severe, possibly life-altering, or even fatal.
How Can I Collect Compensation Through FELA?
In any type of personal injury case, including a FELA claim, the plaintiff (you) must prove the other party (the railroad) acted in a way that led to your accident. For example, if the company didn’t follow safety regulations correctly or didn’t provide proper safety equipment, it may be considered negligent.
Under FELA, you only need to prove the railroad was slightly negligent to receive compensation under what is known as the “comparative fault system.” This ensures you can be partially responsible for your own accident and still collect compensation. The amount of compensation you receive will be affected by how liable you are. For example, if you were found 10% responsible in a $200,000 case, you would receive the total value minus your 10% liability – $180,000 in this example.
FELA was designed so injured railroad workers have the option to recover the costs of current and future damages to get their lives back on track and live comfortably. This is in stark contrast to worker’s compensation laws, which often have strict payout and time limits.
I Heard Trials Can Take Long – Do I Have to Go to Court?
FELA gives you the right to sue the railroad company, but you don’t always end up in court. Railroads often offer a significant amount of money to settle out of court. You then have the option of accepting the settlement, negotiating a higher one, or going to trial.
Your Atlanta train accident attorney will help you decide the best course of action and what types of damages you can claim and receive compensation for. Damages usually include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses.
Atlanta Train Accident Attorney
Are you a railroad worker who has been injured in a train accident? Contact Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC today to find out how our team of experienced, reputable, and dedicated train accident lawyers can help you file a FELA claim to seek compensation for your damages.
Call us now at (470) 268-5802 or contact us online for a FREE, no-obligation consultation/case review.
Atlanta Train Accident Attorney