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Federal Employers'
Liability Act Claims

Patrice McKinney:

One of the areas that I have worked extensively in is what’s called FELA, which that stands for the Federal Employers Liability Act. And what that is, it’s a special act that was passed by the United States Congress in 1908, that allows a railroad worker who is injured on the job, due to the railroad’s negligence, to sue the railroad. And so in that capacity I’ve represented engineers, conductors, maintenance of way men, and in both very serious career-ending injuries, as well as death cases.

The Lanier Law Firm continues its tradition of fighting for those who have been injured by the negligence of others by applying our expertise to the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) claims of railroad workers.

Congress passed the Federal Employers’ Liability Act in 1908 to provide compensation to railroad employees who were injured on the job. The Act enables injured employees to bring claims directly against their employers where it can be shown that it was the railroad’s negligence that caused the injury.

Patrice McKinney:

Well, of course, first of all, they have to be working employee of the railroad, and what we call in course and scope. And that means that they have to be doing a job that they were assigned to do… When they at the time that they were injured-

There are three basic requirements in establishing a case to recover damages under FELA:

  1. The accident must have occurred in the course and scope of the worker’s employment with the railroad. The Act does not require that the accident happen on railroad property as long as the injury occurs in the furtherance of the worker’s employment.
  2. The railroad must be engaged in interstate commerce between two or more states. As a result of several court decisions on this issue, almost all of the duties of railroad workers are interpreted as being in furtherance of interstate commerce, thus satisfying this requirement.
  3. The railroad must have caused or in some way contributed to the injuries sustained by the worker.

Patrice McKinney:

In a FELA a case, in other words, if I’m handling a case for an injured railroad worker, the proof is minuscule, I may use that word compared to our normal personal injury case. Because if the employer’s negligence caused the worker’s injury, in even the slightest degree, and that’s what I call a term of art, I put that in quotes, then the worker can recover.


The Lanier Law Firm attorney Patrice McKinney has fought hard for railroad workers, and she has handled numerous FELA claims, including six cases resulting in significant recoveries for our clients.

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