The railways are an integral part of the transport infrastructure of any state or country. Several thousand miles of railroads traverse Ohio and the rest of the country and provide an important means of transport for both freight and passengers. In order to make sure that such a vast rail network functions smoothly, railroad companies employ a large number of workers for the upkeep of the network. These workers, however, are often exposed to workplace hazards that are unique to the railways.
The Congress passed the Federal Employers Liability Act in 1908 to protect railroad workers. This federal act covers the thousands of railroad workers in Ohio and the rest of the country. According to the FELA, a worker employed by a railroad company is eligible for compensation if he or she is injured while on duty, irrespective of whether such duty was being carried out on the railway tracks or away from it. In the event of a workplace death, the family of the deceased worker is entitled to compensation.
To obtain FELA benefits, an injured worker or a representative needs to file a claim directly with the employer. While many claims are accepted, there can be instances when a claim is disputed or denied by a railroad company. In the event of such dispute or denial, the claimant can approach a court. Of importance, unlike state workers’ compensation programs that provide compensation for no-fault cases, a FELA claim needs to be supported by evidence, which proves that the railroad company, the railroad company’s employees or an equipment manufacturer was responsible for the injury or death.
While an experienced attorney can advise those affected about the nuances of the FELA claim process and the available benefits, in short, it can be said that the compensation amount for injuries while working on the railroads is based on past and future wage loss; past and future medical expenses; and past and future pain, suffering and mental distress. In the event of the railroad worker’s death while on duty, the family members may be entitled to receive death benefits. And finally, if the deceased worker does not have a surviving spouse or child, the benefits are paid to surviving parents or other close relatives, as may be deemed fit.