FELA is a United States federal law enacted in 1908 to protect and compensate railroad workers who are injured on the job where the employee can prove that the Railroad was at least partially negligent in causing the injury or where a defect in the railroad’s locomotives or cars contributed to causing the injury. The benefits and damages a railroad employee can be entitled to include compensation for past and future lost wages, past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, disability, and disfigurement.
In the above-mentioned case, Plaintiff, age 58, was a train engineer employed by the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad and was seated in his stationary locomotive on the date of the incident. He was waiting for a caboose to be coupled onto his engine when another 143-ton locomotive with a 25-ton caboose unexpectedly rear-ended his 124-ton locomotive. The impact speed was 7 mph and pushed the plaintiff’s locomotive, which had its brakes fully applied, 6.3 feet. Plaintiff suffered a herniated disc at L 1-2 with nerve root compression, a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder requiring surgery, and aggravation of preexisting degenerative conditions in his lumbar and cervical spine. His injuries left him unable to perform his job duties and he never returned to work after the occurrence.
The jury awarded the plaintiff $537,607 in past and future loss of earnings to age 67, $900,000 in past and future disability, and $900,000 in past and future pain and suffering, for a total verdict of $2,337,607. The railroad’s last settlement offer was $200,000.
If you are a railroad worker injured on the job, you will be required by the railroad to fill out an incident report. This report must be prepared very carefully and with the understanding that it is a “fault” report, meaning it is through the fault of the railroad that you were injured. It is very important that you speak to legal counsel before submitting this report. Whether you have been injured on the job or are the victim of harassment, intimidation, or retaliation, at Anesi Ozmon we have experienced and trained FELA attorneys and former rail labor union officers available 24/7 to assist you in every way possible in making sure that you and your family’s interests and rights are fully protected.