The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) is a law passed by Congress in 1908 to protect railroad workers who become injured on the job. FELA established a uniform federal system for railroad workers to recover compensation for injuries and illnesses that happen while they are working. FELA is similar to the workers compensation system that is established for most other employees, but there are some significant differences. The most important difference being that FELA is not a no-fault system; in order for railroad workers to obtain compensation for their injuries, they must show that the railroad company or a third party was at least partially at fault.
Injured railroad workers can file a FELA claim in either state or federal court. FELA claims are extremely complex however, and it is always best to file them with the assistance of an experienced attorney. Many attorneys have experience with personal injury cases, but it is important for railroad workers to have their cases handled by someone with specific experience pursuing FELA claims. But what if you can’t find a FELA claims lawyer in your local area?
Does Geography Matter when Hiring a Lawyer for a FELA Claim?
Where the attorney is located is an important factor in many areas of the law. With a FELA claim however, the attorney’s location makes very little difference. This is because FELA is governed by a specialized federal law with specific and unique rules regarding what types of compensation can be recovered, and how you are allowed to go about recovering compensation. Workers’ compensation, on the other hand, is governed by state laws and state-specific procedures, and this is another key distinction between these two types of claims.
When it comes to recovering compensation for injured railroad workers, experience and depth of knowledge with FELA claims is much more important than location. It doesn’t matter if you are in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, New York, in the Midwest or on the West coast, we can handle your FELA claim. Not a lot of firms focus on this area of the law, so it may very well be to your advantage to hire a lawyer from out of state who has the proven ability to successfully navigate the complexities of this specialized area of law.
Does Geography Matter when Deciding where to File my FELA Claim?
While a FELA claims lawyer can work in all 50 states, it is important to note that the venue where you file your claim does have some limitations. In 2017, the US Supreme Court placed restrictions and where an injured railroad worker is allowed to file their claim. Since most railroads have tracks and workers in multiple states, it used to be commonplace for plaintiffs to shop for the most favorable venue.
In BNSF Railway Company vs. Tyrrel, et al., 2017, the Supreme Court limited the jurisdictions with these types of cases. FELA cases must now be filed in states where either:
The new criteria still gives plaintiffs some options regarding which jurisdiction in which they want to bring their FELA claim. First of all, you need to decide whether to file the case in federal or state court. Next, you need to look at which state (out of those available to you) would be the best venue to pursue the claim. Your attorney will thoroughly review your case and explore all available legal avenues to determine the best way forward toward obtaining maximum compensation for your injuries.
Contact Our Seasoned Railroad Worker Injury Attorneys
If you or someone close to you is a railroad worker who has been injured on the job, you deserve to be fully compensated for your losses. At Burge and Burge, we have helped numerous clients in Alabama and throughout the country with FELA claims, and we have the knowledge, skills, resources, and dedication to provide the strong personalized representation you need and deserve, and to ensure that those responsible for your injuries are held fully accountable. For a free consultation with one of attorneys, call us today at 205-251-9000, or send us a message through our web contact form.