Discover the Difference Between FELA and Workers’ Compensation

Most people who are employees in the United States have a right to workers’ compensation and this is true in California. Generally speaking, if a person is employed (either part-time or full time) by a company, then that company is required to cover them under a workers’ compensation policy. There are a few exceptions – including railroad workers.

Does this mean that they have no recourse if they are injured in a train accident on the job? Not necessarily. In some cases, the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) will cover them. Keep reading to learn more and remember you can contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 if you require a free legal consultation.

Understanding FELA

FELA is similar to workers’ compensation in that it offers recovery options for a railroad employee if they are injured on the job. There are four factors that must be established for a worker to qualify for FELA:

  1. The railroad is a common carrier engaged in interstate commerce
  2. The worker was employed by that railroad and assigned to perform duties that benefitted the railroad when they were injured
  3. The injury occurred while the person was employed by the railroad company
  4. The injury was the result of the railroad’s negligence

That is the main difference between workers’ compensation and FELA: negligence. Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance, meaning that the injured party does not have to prove that any particular party was at fault – and they can even have been at fault. The coverage is still in place. This is not the case for FELA.

FELA Only Applies if the Railroad Was Negligent

A worker is only eligible for FELA coverage if their injury is the result of the railroad’s negligence. That said, the standard for proving liability is lower compared to what a civilian would have to prove to be eligible to win a personal injury case. In a personal injury case, the civilian would be required to prove that the defendant was negligent based on a preponderance of the evidence, which means that it is more likely than not that the negligence of the defendant caused the injury.

On the other hand, a FELA claim only requires that the worker show negligence – they do not have to meet the preponderance of evidence standard. If there was a safety statute not followed, then negligence does not even need to be proved.

Find Out if Your Case is Covered by FELA, Workers’ Compensation, Or Neither

If you were injured while working on the railroad, you should talk to a personal injury attorney right away to find out what your options are. You can request a free legal consultation today by calling The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000.