Most people who get hurt on the job can apply for workers’ compensation benefits. However, railroad workers must instead file a Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) claim instead of workers’ comp.
One thing that you need to understand is that, like many aspects of the federal government, FELA claims typically can take longer to resolve than workers’ comp claims do. Below are some highlights of the FELA claims process.
After an injury on the railroad, it is usually helpful to retain an Illinois FELA claims attorney to help you wend your way through the process. Your legal counsel can help you file the claim that starts the ball rolling.
Once your claim is filed, the railroad begins its investigation into the accident that injured you. Your FELA attorney should be doing the same on their end, including taking witness statements and documenting your injuries.
Because the claims process can be slow, to preserve your rights to seek compensation and keep your claim from proscribing, your attorney may file a civil lawsuit naming you as the plaintiff. That does not mean that you can’t still negotiate a settlement, however, as your attorney will likely still be pursuing this route right up until it’s time to go to court. Some claims can be settled during alternate dispute resolution (ADR) actions.
If it does go to court, the judge will rule either in your favor or in favor of the defendant (your railroad employer). But that is not necessarily the end of the matter, as either side may appeal a decision against them.