Railroad Union designation presents me the opportunity to talk to many local unions about the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). You can dowload my Power Point presentation made to the members of those locals by clicking on Download file.
For anyone who works for a railroad, or have clients that work for a railroad, it is important to know that if you are injured on the job, you are not covered by a Worker’s Compensation Act in your state. Since FELA predates Worker’s Compensation, it operates with the underlying goals of a Tort case (an injury or wrong committed, either with or without force, and either intentionally or negligently, to the person or property of another; Source: LawyerIntl.com), while Worker’s Compensation does not. The Tort goal is to fully compensate an individual for the legal wrong of another. In FELA, the damages allowable are full damages for lost income, medical costs, pain, suffering, and disability; determined by a jury. Worker Compensation in Nebraska allows 2/3 of your average weekly wage while you are unable to work, scheduled medical costs, and 2/3 of your average weekly wage times the permanent injury not to exceed of 300 weeks, unless totally and permanently disabled; determined by a Judge. The trade off in Worker’s Compnesation is that you don’t have to prove anyone was at fault, however you do have to prove that you were injured on the job and working. In our office, many more Worker’s Compensation cases go to trial as opposed to FELA.