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Federal Employers Liability Act
Federal Employers Liability Act

I pride myself in helping clients through their toughest times.- Bill O’Mara

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

A Virginia Law Firm with Experience Handling FELA Claims

Federal legislation gives workers the ability to obtain legal recovery for their injuries

The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) is a 1908 law that allows railroad workers to file suit and claim compensation for injuries suffered on the job in the railroad industry. The Act is intended to hold railroad companies responsible for not providing their employees with a safe workplace, and covers a wide range of potential harms that workers may have suffered. If you work for a railroad and have been hurt as a result of the actions of the railroad company, you may have grounds for a successful FELA claim.

The law practice of Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers is dedicated to getting you compensation if you have been hurt due to someone else’s actions. Our attorneys are well versed at FELA claims and fight on behalf of clients to get them the recovery they need from employers like Norfolk Southern and CSX.

What does FELA do?

The FELA law holds that “common carriers by railroad” who engage in interstate commerce are legally responsible to employees for damages that occur from railroad accidents in the course of their employment. It also has several key provisions that strengthen an injured worker’s ability to recover, including:

  • A limitation on the contributory negligence doctrine — Some states bar an injured person from receiving compensation if they are even the slightest bit responsible for an accident, even if the railroad company deserved a greater amount of the blame. Instead, FELA grants recovery to workers even if they had partial responsibility for the incident.
  • The elimination of the assumption of risk defense — Before FELA was passed, railroad companies escaped responsibility for accidents involving employees by claiming that their work was inherently risky, and employees voluntarily assumed that risk. This legislation barred that defense in cases involving FELA claims.
  • A ban on contracting around liability — Railroad companies cannot require employees to waive liability through a contract. A provision in an employment contract that limits a railroad’s responsibility through injuries is invalid.
  • A requirement to provide truthful information to investigators Rules or threats to employees about providing investigators with information related to injuries is strictly prohibited by FELA and can be punishable through fines or imprisonment.

FELA is an important law that is meant to give you a fair opportunity for compensation if you have been injured in a railroad worker accident. If you were injured on duty during railroad work, our FELA attorneys can explain more about the process for legal recovery.

What kind of compensation am I eligible for under FELA?

Although it varies with the nature of the case, typical damages available to successful FELA claimants include:

  • The reasonable value of medical care someone received and those he or she is reasonably certain to need in the future
  • Wages a plaintiff has lost due to the injury, and future losses a plaintiff would probably have received
  • The value of household services that a plaintiff cannot perform
  • The physical and mental pain or suffering the plaintiff has experienced

If you have been hurt while working for a railroad carrier in some form, whether as an engineer, a track man, a conductor, a carman, or as a train yard clerk, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries, as well as the trauma you have suffered. Our lawyers can help you understand what to expect from the FELA claim process. We know how to deal with the RR claims agents and their tricks.

You receive no fee if you do not receive recovery for your injuries

The attorneys of Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers provide legal services to employees injured through railroad negligence. We are available 24/7 for our clients and we receive no fee until you have been compensated for your injuries. To learn more about FELA and your options for recovery, contact us at 757.455.0077 or online for a free consultation.

John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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  • VOTED BEST OF 2018!

    Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers voted Best Law Firm in Norfolk.

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    Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers awards three $2,000 college scholarships annually to high school seniors in the Tidewater and Eastern Shore areas of Virginia. Eligible students can submit an essay of 500 to 1,000 words on the subject of Distracted Driving. We established this program to aid worthy scholars and to raise awareness of the tragic consequences of distracted driving, which we encounter too often in our practice.

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