Jim has served as the director of the FELA program for the Transport Workers Union, and is the designated counsel for the Transport Workers Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, with members working at Amtrak, Conrail, Norfolk Southern, Metro North, PATH, CSX and New Jersey Transit. Jim was on the Board of Directors of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys from 1994 until 2001, and was President of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys from 2001 to 2002. He also served as a lecturer at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies, where he instructed union representatives on techniques for arbitrating railroad cases. He is one of the leading FELA attorneys in Philadelphia.
Most railroad employees understand that when they are physically injured while employed with the railroad, and that injury was in whole or in part caused by the negligence of the railroad, they are entitled to sue under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA), 45 U.S.C. 51 et seq. Most, but not all railroad employees understand that when there is an issue concerning a violation of their rights under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, this dispute is covered by the Federal Rail Safety Act. However, often railroad employees are confused, and not sure if they are entitled to sue their employer, or whether they must file a grievance when there has been a violation of work-related rules that have caused some sort of psychological, emotional, or non-physical injury. It is important for the union worker to understand his or her rights under FELA and the FRSA.
No. They are required to insure prompt medical care under the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA).
Under 49 U.S.C. 2225.33(a) (1), a railroad employee is afforded protection from an invasion of privacy by management. There are two exceptions: (1) if the employee free from duress permits a manager to accompany him, or (2) the injured worker is unconscious or otherwise unable to provide information.
You need to work closely with your attorney and/or union to document what is occurring. Keep a detailed daily log of the names of all managers and employees involved. Document what has occurred, including dates, times and places as well as all equipment or tools involved. What can be done about this type of intimidation? A qualified attorney can go into court and put an end to the practice, but it is time consuming. In the mid-1990s, Mr. McEldrew was assigned to a task force that was organized to investigate a pervasive scheme by a major freight carrier that culminated in the firing of several mid- and high-level managers. The key to success is a unified effort by the employees, unions and attorneys.
Your claim may be handled by the FELA, the collective bargaining agreement or your personal automobile insurance carrier. If you speak to them without legal representation, you may inadvertently allow the most likely to owe you compensation off the hook without realizing it. The situation is complex and should be handled with the advice of an attorney.
The right of railroad workers to seek compensation for injuries suffered on the job is governed by theFederal Employers Liability Act, also known as FELA. Under FELA, injured railroad workers can sue for damages caused by their employers’ negligence or carelessness in state or federal court. The benefits available under a FELA claim are generally far greater than would be available under a state workers’ compensation claim. In FELA, the language of the Act is as follows:
…shall be liable in damages to any person suffering injury while he is employed by such carrier in such commerce, or in case of the death of such employee… resulting in whole or in part from the negligence of any of the officers, agents, or employees of such carrier, or by reason of any defect or insufficiency, due to its negligence, in its cars, engines, appliances, machinery, track, roadbed, works, boats,
wharves, or other equipment…
Most FELA cases are easy to recognize. There has been a physical injury resulting from either a fall, a collision between trains or vehicles, an injury resulting from the violation a Safety Appliance Act causing a distinct physical injury such as a fracture of a bone, herniation of a disc, or head injury. When the negligence of the railroad causes a non-physical injury, i.e., emotional distress, fears, psychological problems of any sort, discrimination, or mental trauma resulting from witnessing a catastrophic injury of another employee, this causes uncertainty for both the union and the employee. These are what is known as psychic injuries, and whether or not they are compensable, and whether or not the employee can sue the railroad for the resulting non-physical or emotional type injuries depends on a wide variety of circumstances and details that may not make a lot of sense to the railroad employee
Types of Railroad Injuries
Accidents: Any railroad-related traumatic injury including slip, trip and fall accidents;
use of equipment; malfunctioning equipment; lack of equipment; locomotive
hazards; electrical shocks or other injuries stemming from work
While FELA is a negligence statute, FELA allows for a broad spectrum of damages, including full wage loss — past and future, full pain and suffering — past and future and full medical benefits — past and future.
We will help you recover compensation for your losses, including:
In late 2008, Congress passed a new law, Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA, 49 U.S.C. 20109), which protects rail employees who engage in a “protected activity” and prohibits rail employers from interfering with the right of employees to seek medical help.
If you are terminated or disciplined for any of the above, you are entitled to:
You must file a claim within 180 days of any alleged violation.