Railroad disability refers to temporary or permanent disabilities sustained by railroad employees during their course of employment.
Since the late 1700s, the railroad industry has played a significant role in the economies of many U.S. states. However, despite providing transportation, employment and revenues, the railroad industry is also known to put its workforce at a greater risk of sustaining injury, permanent disability and/or death due to factors such as (but not limited to):
- highway-rail incidents (in which interaction between a railroad and a highway passenger occurs on the track or at a crossing)
- human error
- signal and/or equipment defects
- track defects
Railroad Disability Benefits
Railroad disability benefits are designed to help injured railroad employees pay for the cost of their injuries including medical costs, long-term treatments and the cost of living if their injuries prevent them from working.
Any railroad worker who is injured while working (as well as families of deceased railroad employees) will likely be entitled to disability benefits under the stipulations of the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).
What is FELA?
Enacted in 1908, FELA is a law that:
- Entitles injured railroad workers to compensation for their injuries and losses, as long as they can prove the negligence or recklessness of an employer, co-worker or equipment manufacturer contributed to their injuries
- Allows families of deceased railroaders to collect death benefits, as long as their loved one was killed on-the-job.
In most cases, railroad disability benefits granted via FELA are larger than settlements awarded via traditional workers' compensation laws.
Who Does FELA Protect?
The term “railroad worker” refers to a broad base of occupations that work in the service of trains, including (but not limited to):
- cargo unloaders
- crane operators
- freight handlers
- railway repairmen
- train attendants
Types of Railroad Occupational Disabilities
Some of the most common types of railroad disabilities this workforce is likely to endure include (but aren't limited to):
- back and neck injuries
- loss of limbs
- permanent vision or hearing impairment
- traumatic brain injury
Should railroad employees sustain any of the above disabilities while working, it's vital that they receive emergency medical attention to prevent further damage to their health. Often, permanent railroad disabilities will require lifelong care and/or long-term rehabilitation.
Railroad injury lawyers work to help railroad employees who are injured on the job recover disability benefits.
Have you or a loved one been injured while working in the railroad industry? If so, contact a FELA attorney who will evaluate your case and help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Learn more about other types of railroad injuries and dangers: