If you have been involved in a work-related accident, you are likely to
file a workers’ compensation claim through your employer. In limited
instances, you may need to learn about the FELA, or Federal Employers’
Liability Act, and how it differs from standard workers’ compensation
claims. Unless you work in the railroad industry, you are likely covered
by state workers’ compensation laws rather than FELA.
No matter what industry you work in, if you have been involved in a workplace
accident, it is important to speak with a
Maryland personal injury attorney. Work-related accident claims can be complex, and you need to ensure your
rights are protected throughout the process.
What is the Federal Employers’ Liability Act?
FELA was born out of a need to protect railroad workers and force carriers
to improve safety standards for both their employees and their patrons
and their property. Congress enacted FELA in 1908, and it has forced railroad
carriers to become accountable to their employees for any injuries they caused.
The Federal Employers’ Liability Act allows employees to file a lawsuit
against their employer for negligence or for violation of a federal safety
statute. Employees can seek compensation of medical expenses, lost wages,
and other related damages. FELA covers railroad workers throughout the
Claim Filing Differences
FELA allows workers to file in either federal or state court, and the injured
worker is entitled to a jury trial. With a workers’ compensation
claim, the injured employee will file a claim with the insurance company,
which provides the benefits for the company. The employee also may waive
the right to go to court in exchange for benefits based on a predetermined schedule.
How Negligence Differs
In a standard workers’ compensation claim, there is no requirement
to prove employer negligence in order to claim benefits for medical expenses
and lost wages. With a FELA claim, the employee is required to prove the
employer’s negligence contributed to the injury. This may be through
evidence of unsafe work conditions, equipment defects, or due to the actions
of another contractor or railroad employee. If the injured employee was
negligent in any way, the damages will be reduced by the employee’s
percentage of fault.
One of the main differences between FELA and workers’ compensation
claims involves the amount of financial compensation. Workers’ compensation
claims are typically capped at an amount based on injuries, which can
vary by state, as well. FELA has no cap on compensation limits.
Workers’ compensation claims are limited to medical treatment and
current and future loss of earnings. FELA allows for non-economic damages
like emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment.
Retaining a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
In the event you have been injured in a workplace injury, it is important
to speak with a
Maryland workers’ compensation attorney. A skilled attorney can fight for you to get compensation for your medical
bills, disability payments, rehabilitation and retraining, and permanent
injury damages when applicable. Contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro
at 301-870-1200 to schedule a consultation.