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What is the Federal Employers’ Liability Act?

If you work for a railroad company in California, then you have probably heard of the Federal Employers' Liability Act. As defined by the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, the FELA provides you with protection if you are injured because of negligence on the part of your employer. To get benefits, though, you must prove in court that your employer was at fault and their actions or lack of action led to your accident.

Negligence can be proven through showing your employer did not provide you with a safe working environment. This could be showing safety equipment was not provided or the employer did not manage a situation to reasonably reduce the risks of an accident. In general, your employer will be held to the standards of a reasonable person and how he or she would have acted in the same situation. Mental and physical injuries are covered by the act. In addition, surviving family members can file under the FELA if your death is caused by a railroad accident due to employer negligence.

It is important to understand the FELA is not workers' compensation. If you are found to be responsible for your injury, then you may not be entitled to any claims under this act or the amount of damages you are awarded may be reduced. If the court rules in your favor, you may be able to collect for loss of earnings now and in the future, suffering and pain you have experienced due to the injury and medical expenses. This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.

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