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What are your rights under FELA?

If you are a railroad worker in California, you have rights under the Federal Employers' Liability Act. FELA, according to the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, was designed to reduce the number of accidents involving railroad workers. It was enacted when it was apparent the railroad was not doing enough to protect its workers and the federal government decided to step in.

In order to protect your rights under FELA, you must follow all guidelines for reporting an incident, along with following all safety rules and procedures. Any remedies you collect under the act can be reduced if you are found to be at fault or if the statute of limitations expires. The statute of limitations for claims is three years after the date of the incident or when symptoms were first discovered. You should always report accidents right away to your supervisor. You should fill out requested form, but do not provide any additional information until you have a witness or some form of representation.

You may be able to collect payments for injuries, medical expenses, emotional distress and financial loss. Your family may also be awarded damages if you were killed in the accident. The awarding of damages is often handled by a court.

Under FELA, employers are required to provide you with a safe work environment. This includes providing you with proper safety gear and training. A "safe" work environment is left open for interpretation, though. In many cases, the court or a jury must decide what constitutes safety. To collect damages for injuries or death, you are left with the burden of proving your employer was negligent and responsible for the accident. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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