Seattle FELA Railroad Injury Attorneys & King County FELA Railroad Injury Attorneys
At the dawn of the 20th century, railroad workers were experiencing an alarming rate of personal injury and death. Due to public outcry, Congress passed the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), in 1908 to protect and compensate railroad workers and their families for both personal injury and wrongful death claims resulting from railroad-related accidents. FELA is a federal statute that now protects railroad workers not only in Seattle, Washington, but also in railroad injury accidents across the nation.
As a general matter, FELA provides compensation to railroad workers injured on the job. Unlike general worker’s compensation claims, which are generally “no fault,” FELA establishes a fault-based system in which the injured worker must show that the employer was negligent. Thus, the injured worker must generally prove that the railroad failed to provide a safe workplace. However, there are special areas in FELA that act like strict liability – for example, where a defective object or condition at the workplace injures someone on the job. Significantly, there is no monetary cap placed on the amount of compensation granted to railroad injury victims under FELA. Seattle railroad injury attorneys and King County railroad injury attorneys represent a variety of different railroad workers in Seattle, Washington railroad injury claims, providing them with quality legal services and getting them the compensation they deserve.
What types of railroad injury victims can a Seattle Railroad Injury Attorney help?
All types of railway workers come under FELA’s compensation scheme, including:
- Maintenance of way workers
- Maintenance workers
- Other railroad workers
Seattle railroad injuries occur every day, and if you or a loved one has been injured or killed while working for a railroad in any of these capacities, don’t hesitate to contact a Seattle FELA attorney regarding your claim for legal compensation and damages.
What types of injuries does a Seattle Railroad Injury Attorney commonly pursue?
Railroad work is inherently dangerous and has produced countless Seattle railroad accidents and injuries over the years. Common railroad injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Hearing loss
- Back and neck injuries
- Chemical and asbestos exposure
- Exposure to toxic solvents
- Respiratory illnesses due to inhaling diesel exhaust
- Injuries due to heavy lifting
- Shoulder injuries
- Knee injuries
- Repetitive motion disorders
- Limb Amputation
- Slip & Fall or Trip & Fall
- Traumatic brain injury
- Bone fractures
- Crushing injuries
- Other injuries from heavy machinery
Seattle FELA attorneys and other King County FELA attorneys can help you pursue a claim for railroad workers’ compensation if you have been injured in any of these ways. Seattle FELA lawyers can assist injured employees of any Seattle area railway and, notably, can assist injured workers in a lawsuit stemming from a Seattle Union Pacific Railroad injury or King County Burlington Northern & Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad injury.
Amtrak employees are also covered by FELA
Amtrak services Seattle with its' station located at 303 South Jackson Street. There are three routes that can be found at this station: the Empire Builder, Coast Starlight and the Amtrak Cascades. The Empire Builder takes passengers from Chicago to Portland/Seattle. The Coast Starlight gives passengers the opportunity to experience the West Coast going from Seattle, WA to Los Angeles, CA. The third route transfers passengers throughout the Pacific Northwest from Eugene, OR to Vancouver, BC stopping in both Seattle and Tacoma.
What must a Seattle railroad worker prove to maintain a successful FELA action?
An injury victim, whether in Seattle, WA, King County, or anywhere else in the country, must meet three basic requirements to recover damages under FELA’s compensation scheme. First, the accident must have occurred in the course and scope of employment for the railroad. This does not mean that the accident must have happened on property owned by the railway, so long as the injury is sustained in the furtherance of the worker’s employment-related duties. Second, the railroad must be engaged in interstate commerce between at least two states. This requirement is broadly interpreted and is almost always satisfied. Third, the railway must have caused or contributed to the injuries sustained. As noted above, this requirement generally looks for some sort of negligence on the railroad company’s part. Seattle railroad workers involved in accidents are entitled to monetary damages under FELA, and a Washington railroad injury attorney will work hard to pursue the maximum compensation possible. Call a Seattle FELA lawyer today for help pursuing your claim.
What types of damages are recoverable under FELA’s compensation scheme?
In a FELA case, Seattle railroad injury victims can hope to recover the following:
- Past and future medical expenses (including hospitalization expenses)
- Past and future lost wages
- Past and future pain and mental suffering
- Past and future disability
Keep in mind that recovery under FELA is granted instead of recovery under state workers’ compensation statutes, and no double recovery is permitted. FELA allows monetary payouts for pain and suffering, decided by juries based on comparative negligence rather than according to a pre-determined benefits schedule, such as that used in ordinary workers’ compensation cases. For more information on personal injury damages generally, visit our Damages page. A Seattle FELA attorney will be able to explain what types of compensation you may be entitled to and get you the maximum recovery possible.
How long do you have to file a claim under FELA? What is the applicable Statute of Limitations for Washington railroad injuries?
FELA places a time limitation on the filling of claims that dates three (3) years from the date of the accident/injury. Like all federal laws, FELA’s statute of limitations applies to Seattle, WA railroad accident cases just as it does to all railroad injury cases across the nation. This means that if you are a King County railway accident victim, you must file your claim within three years from the time you were injured.
It should also be noted that when a Seattle railroad injury is caused by repetitive stress or is an occupational injury that occurred over a period of time, the limitations period begins to run when the worker knew, or reasonably should have known, that he or she was suffering from an injury related to their work for the railroad. To preserve your legal rights, you should contact a Seattle railroad injury attorney well before this three-year period has expired.
Are Seattle and King County, Washington, railroad workers eligible for any other type of compensation?
Although railroad workers injured in a Seattle railway accident can recover for job-related injuries under FELA, they may also be entitled to other disability benefits in some cases when they are disabled on the job or as the result of a non-work related disability. Contact one of the experienced Seattle railroad injury attorneys on this page for an explanation of the compensation you may be entitled to under both FELA and other disability benefits laws.
One way you might be entitled to additional compensation is through the United States Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), which is a co-equal agency to the Social Security Administration (SSA), and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois at 844 N. Rush Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Some of the RRB’s functions include administering retirement, survivor, and disability claims for railway workers and their families (including spouses and minor beneficiaries). A Seattle or King County railroad employee is eligible for these benefits if he or she has enough “time-in,” which means 120 or more months of service for the railroad. In some cases, an employee with 60 or more months of service may file a claim with the RRB; however, any employee with less than 60 months must file with the SSA. As with SSA disability benefits, it is important to have a well-qualified and experienced Seattle injury attorney to manage and guide your claim through the bureaucratic process.
For more information regarding railroad disability benefits through the RRB, consult the U.S Railroad Retirement Board’s website.
What are important steps Seattle railway injury victims should take after being injured while working for a railroad?
Report the injury to your employer by completing an injury report.
List all relevant details in the report, including any condition or other factor that could have contributed to the injury in any way. This is particularly important because FELA, unlike other worker’s compensation claims, is fault-based and requires a finding that the railroad was negligent in some way. If you don’t include all contributing causes when you fill out the accident or injury report, it may later be used as evidence against you.
Discuss your injury with your co-workers and ask them to be a witness for you at trial, if necessary. Also, ask them to record their observations as soon as possible after the accident occurs.
See a doctor. You are not required to see a company doctor and may see your own doctor to get an independent and unbiased assessment of your injuries.
Keep accurate records of lost wages, expenses, travel costs, and other financial costs related to the injury. Where possible, keep copies of all receipts.
Maintain logs of your discomfort and physical symptoms resulting from the injury and make sure to inform your doctor of these symptoms.
- Contact one of the experienced Seattle railroad injury attorneys listed above for a free initial consultation regarding your claim.
In Washington, there are two Class-I railroad lines that are extremely active: the Union Pacific Railroad and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads. These two lines account for much of the industrial commerce locally, regionally and internationally. The Class-II rail line, the Montana Rail, is also active throughout the state. There are also many Class- III lines that help promote distribution and production and many of them connect with the two Class I rail lines helping to maintain and stimulate the Washington State's economy. Freight rail is a major source of economic growth and also helps promote maritime activity by transporting cargo from the ports to various inland stops. Amtrak is also present in the Washington area which provides passenger transport to various stops. Contact information for the two Class I rail lines and other railroad lines in the Seattle area are as follows:
Amtrak - Seattle
Union Pacific Railroad Co
BNSF Railway Co
Seattle railroad injury attorneys and King County railroad injury attorneys represent a variety of different railroad workers in Seattle, Washington railroad injury claims, providing them with quality legal services and getting them the compensation they deserve.
Personal Injury Attorneys Serve Seattle and Surrounding Cities
Serving clients throughout Northwestern Washington, including Auburn, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Bothell, Boulevard Park, Bremerton, Brier, Burien, Clyde Hill, Covington, Duvall, Edmonds, Enumclaw, Everett, Federal Way, Hunts Point, Issaquah, Kent, Lakewood, Medina, Mercer Island, Monroe, North Bend, Parkland, Poulsbo, Puyallup, Redmond, Renton, SeaTac, Seattle, Sheridan Beach, Shoreline, Shorewood, Skyway, Snohomish, Tacoma, Tukwila, University Place, White Center, Yarrow Point, areas in the vicinity of Boeing Plant II, King County International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and other communities in King County.
Contact one of the qualified King County FELA railroad injury lawyers above for a no-strings-attached, FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION regarding your personal injury claim.