The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) is the law governing railroad workers injured on the job.

Railroad Accidents and Injuries

Injured railroad workers are governed by the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). Under FELA, injured railway workers can seek damages in court for injuries suffered while on the job. Railroad workers are not covered by workers’ compensation laws.

Do I Have to Prove the Railroad Was Negligent to Recover?

Yes, to win a FELA case, the injured railroad worker must prove that the railroad was negligent, and the railroad’s negligence played a role in causing the injury. If the injured employee cannot prove the railroad was negligent or that the railroad violated a safety statute, the injured worker will not recover any damages, including lost wages or pain and suffering.

A railroad may be negligent in a number of ways that lead to an injury. Negligent acts fall into the following categories:

Failing to provide adequate equipment and tools.

Failing to properly train employees.

Failing to properly create and maintain workplace safety rules.

Failing to provide adequate manpower.

Violating federal safety regulations or laws like the Federal Safety Appliance Act or the Locomotive Inspection Act.

What If I Am Partially Responsible for My Injuries?


Under the FELA, the percentage of fault a jury assigns to the injured railroad worker reduces the injured railroad worker’s recovery in that amount. For example, if a jury determines the railroad was 50% at fault and the injured railroad worker was 50% at fault, the injured railroad worker only recovers 50% of the damages awarded by the jury. However, in cases where the railroad’s violation of a federal safety statute plays any part in the railroad worker’s injury, the railroad worker is entitled to recover 100% of his/her damages regardless of if the jury also assigns some fault to the injured railroad worker. 

What Damages Can I Recover in a FELA Claim?

The damages recoverable in a FELA claim include:

Past and future lost wages.

Past and future medical expenses.

Mental and emotional suffering.

Physical pain and suffering.

Loss of earning capacity.


Are There Time Limitations On Bringing the Claim?

The statute of limitations for bringing a FELA lawsuit against a railroad employer is set by federal law. The time period within which you must bring your lawsuit is three years from the date of your injury. If you do not bring your lawsuit within that time period, your claim could be completely barred and the court will most likely determine that you are not entitled to receive compensation. Additionally, if railroad workers are injured on the job due to the negligence of a contractor, third party, industry or tractor-trailer crash, the statute of limitations is governed by the law of the State where the injury occurred. For example, if a locomotive engineer is injured during a derailment following a tractor-trailer crash in Texas, the injured engineer’s statute of limitations against the railroad employer is three years from the date of the crash, and the statute of limitations against any third parties for negligence is two years from the date of the crash.

Let Our Firm Help.


We are here to help you recover compensation if you or someone you love was injured. Our legal team is here to help protect your rights to the fullest extent under the law. We stand up for you and the community. Please contact us for a free consultation.