If you are a railroad worker, you face certain perils on a regular basis. Your job is physically demanding and you are not always provided with a safe work environment. Railroad workers are injured at an alarming rate and many become ill due to a work-related disease. Under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), a railroad can be liable if its negligence even partly contributed to a worker’s railroad injury.
Many railroads have been accused of failing to offer “a reasonably safe place to work.” This duty to provide a safe work environment only goes up as the level of danger increases. Some examples of an unsafe work place, include exposing railroad workers to unusual heat or cold and failing to exercise reasonable care relating to heavy snow, ice or other condition.
Railroads have the duty to test and inspect their rail yards to uncover hazards. However, a railroad’s liability does not stop at its own tracks or leased tracks. Railroads can be held liable for workers’ injuries or death that occur on the premises of third parties, as long as the workers were in the line of duty at the time. Therefore, employers have the duty to inspect the premises of third parties to ensure there are no dangers before allowing workers to complete job duties at these locations.
A rail carrier can be held responsible for a FELA railroad accident, if it was caused by:
- Failing to supply adequate assistance in the workplace
- Furnishing unsafe equipment and tools
- Not warning of dangers
- Exposing workers to unreasonable risk of injury from co-workers
Occupational diseases are also covered under FELA and workers can pursue claims against their employers when they become ill. Some of these medical conditions include hearing loss, asbestosis, mesothelioma, cancer, cumulative trauma injuries and solvent induced illnesses.
After a FELA railroad accident, it can be confusing knowing what steps to take. Ben Glass recommends that if you have been hurt in such an accident that you contact the experienced Virginia FELA lawyers, John Cooper and Jim Hurley at (800) 752.0042. They have written the informative book, Your Rights When You Are Injured on the Railroad, so be sure to order your free copy.