FELA Cases are Negligence-Based

Whether representing injury victims or their families in wrongful death cases, New York train accident lawyers must prove negligence on the part of the railroad company. Courts base FELA cases on comparative negligence laws, which means plaintiffs may recover damages even if the court assigns a fault percentage to the plaintiff. For example, if the court determines that the plaintiff was 60 percent at fault for causing the accident, the plaintiff can still recover 40 percent of the damage amounts claimed. Recoverable damages in FELA cases include:

  • Lost wages (past, future, and insurance coverage)
  • Medical costs (past and future treatment)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental distress
  • Permanent injury
  • Scarring or disfigurement

The statute of limitations for bringing legal action is three years from the accident date. However, the sooner you contact our FELA attorneys, the sooner we can provide you with legal advice, investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident, and protect your rights.

Contact Us

For the representation you need for your railroad injury case, contact the diligent New York injury lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP, today by calling (212) 779-0057.

Experienced FELA Representation for Union Members

Hach & Rose, LLP, has extensive experience fighting for union members and their families. We represent railroad workers employed by the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), Amtrak, Metro North, Chessie Seaboard Expanded (CSX), New Jersey Transit, Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail), and other railways.

Our FELA attorneys are also designated counsel for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 754 and the Independent Railroad Supervisors Union (IRSA).

Train accidents in New York and throughout the United States occur for a variety of reasons, and at Hach & Rose, LLP, we are ready to take on cases involving:

Whether your injury occurred because of one of the above-listed reasons or not, do not hesitate to contact us today to discuss your situation.

New York Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) Lawyers

Tremendous railroad expansion coupled with intensified risks for railroad workers culminated in Congress passing the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Unlike workers’ compensation, FELA allows railroad employees and their families to sue employers for negligence causing work injuries and death.

Because railroads are an interstate transportation industry and FELA is a federal law, courts hear cases at both the federal and state levels. The New York FELA attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP, effectively pursue FELA cases on behalf of our clients in New York and nationwide. To discuss your situation in further detail with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us today at (212) 779-0057.

The Federal Employers Liability Act Statute

The Federal Employers Liability Act is commonly called FELA. FELA statutes allow railroad workers and their families to bring a lawsuit against their employer for an unsafe condition that caused a work-related injury. This law is unique, especially in New York State where injured workers generally can’t bring lawsuit to their employers because of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Preclusion.

Under FELA, injured railroad workers are eligible to collect all past and future wages, medical expenses, damages for pain and suffering, or any other financial losses incurred. Hach & Rose, LLP, effectively pursues FELA cases on behalf of our clients in New York and nation wide.

This past month, Hach & Rose, LLP, resolved a FELA case for $900,000 for our client who fell approximately six feet. The fall was caused by an improperly and insufficiently illuminated stairwell. He suffered injury to his right ankle, foot, and toes. The narrow treads were in violation of applicable safety codes, combined with poor illumination. As a result of this injury, he underwent ankle fusion surgery.

If you have been injured at work, it is important to seek immediate advice from a lawyer who is aware of and experienced with the FELA statute. The FELA lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP are experienced at handling a wide range of FELA cases and can put this experience to work for you. Call Hach & Rose, LLP, at 212-779-0057 or 866-LAWS-USA today for the assistance you need.

Decision Johnson vs Amtrak Respective Counsel

Negligence / Federal Employer’s Liability Act / Standard of Care / Federal Railroad Safety
Act / Federal Preclusion / Causal Link / Proof of Lost Wages
Summary judgment is not appropriate in an action by a railroad engineer alleging injury from an improperly lubricated switch since Plaintiff has satisfied the requirement for standard of care and genuine issues of material fact exist. Plaintiff sufficiently established a standard of care under the relaxed burden of proof required by the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (“FELA”) through expert testimony about industry practices and customs and Defendant’s failure to adhere to its own internal regulations.

Genuine issues of material fact remain regarding whether Defendant breached that standard, which must be decided by a jury. Plaintiff’s claims are not precluded by 49 C.F.R. § 213.103 because there is a genuine issue of material fact whether the work area around the switch constituted a walkway; earlier precedent has held that regulation does not preclude FELA claims regarding the use of ballast in walkways; federal preclusion is an affirmative defense and there is a genuine issue of material fact; and summary judgment should not be granted given the importance of jury remedy in FELA actions. There is a genuine issue of material fact whether the evidence will establish a causal link between Defendant’s conduct and Plaintiff’s injuries.

Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s injuries could have come from unrelated activities while Plaintiff’s medical evidence and expert testimony all support a causal relationship. A genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether Plaintiff has sufficiently proven lost wages, specifically in regards to whether Plaintiff worked immediately following the injury and whether he could return to physically demanding positions that are similar to his previous position.

Defendant’s motion for summary judgment is denied.
WILLIE F. JOHNSON, JR. v. NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION
D.C. Super. Ct. No. 2013 CA 001107 B. Decided on August 26, 2015. (Hon. John M. Mott. J.). Mark Glen Sokoloff, Esq. of Hach & Rose and Lawrence M. Mann, Esq. for Plaintiff, Dawn Singleton, Esq. of Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociatta for Defendant. Cite as: Johnson v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., 143 Daily Wash. L. Rptr. 1937 (D.C. Super. Ct. Aug. 26, 2015). ORDER MOTT, Judge: This matter is before the court on defendant National Railroad Passenger Corporation’s (“Amtrak’s”) Motion for Summary Judgment, plaintiff Willie F. Johnson’s opposition, and Amtrak’s reply thereto.

Johnson brings a negligence claim under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (“FELA”) 1 for Amtrak’s failure to properly lubricate a hand thrown switch and its failure to provide a safe walkway. Amtrak moves for summary judgment, arguing that (1) Johnson failed to establish a standard of care for the lubrication of switches in a rail yard and for sloped ballast in an area near a hand thrown switch as it relates to walkways; (2) Johnson failed to establish a causal link between Amtrak’s conduct and Johnson’s injury; and (3) Johnson’s claim of lost wages requires speculation and is not reasonably certain. Johnson responds that the proffered expert testimony sufficiently establishes both a standard of care and a causal link, and the determination of lost wages remains a question for the jury. For the reasons stated below, the court denies Amtrak’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

Background
Johnson worked for Amtrak as a Class 4 Engineer until November 27, 2010. Johnson’s job duties included the throwing of switches for the adjustment of tracks to facilitate trains entering and exiting the Amtrak Ivy City Maintenance Facility Annex. Johnson alleges that on February 19, 2010, he attempted to throw switch #944, and the handle jammed. This allegedly resulted in acute lumbar and left leg pain. Johnson claims that when he felt the pain, he took a few steps backward, slipped and fell from the ballast (gravel/broken stone) down an embankment and into a ravine (the area at the bottom of an embankment), suffering injury to his hip and lower back.

On March 8, 2010, Johnson sought treatment from William Tanner, M.D., a primary care physician at Patient First for injuries sustained following the accident. Dr. Tanner referred Johnson to an orthopedist, Michael J. Magee, M.D., for his hip and lower back pain. During Johnson’s March 10, 2010 visit, Dr. Magee made the following notation: “[Johnson] fell on the snow a couple of weeks before this.”1938 Wednesday, September 9, 2015 Daily Washington Law Reporter DWLR.COM Dr. Seyla opined that Johnson reached maximum medical improvement in June 2012, and could return to Amtrak.

Johnson currently works as a bus driver. Amtrak contends that Johnson has no intention of returning to Amtrak, although physically capable to do so. Johnson rebuts this claim by providing the expert testimony of Dr. Charles Kincaid, who opined that Johnson remains non-competitive in performing his past relevant work as a Class 4 Engineer. Amtrak now moves for summary judgment, claiming that Johnson failed to establish a standard of care for a jury to determine liability, Johnson failed to establish a causal link between Johnson’s injuries
and Amtrak’s conduct, and Johnson failed to provide sufficient proof of lost wages.

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