Nationwide Railroad Attorneys
Protecting The Rights Of Railway Workers
If you were injured while working with a railroad company, our experienced attorneys are here to help. At Montgomery Ponder, LLC, in Birmingham, we have decades of experience representing railroad employees.
Our attorneys represent railroad workers and their families in a variety of legal issues, including:
- Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) claims
- Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA) claims
- Safety Appliance Act (SAA) claims
- Title 49 (“whistleblower”) claims
Our Montgomery Ponder, LLC attorneys have over 50 years of combined legal experience, and they have handled numerous cases on behalf of railroad workers and their families. If you feel you have a claim, you may be entitled to compensation. We have the resources to provide you with the strongest case possible.
What Is A FELA Claim?
The railroad business was exceptionally hazardous at the dawn of the 20th century. As the Supreme Court of the United States stated in CSX Transp., Inc. v. McBride: “The physical dangers of railroading … resulted in the death or maiming of thousands of workers every year.” That included 281,645 injuries in the year 1908 alone. That same year, the United States Congress enacted the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) to protect the rights of railroad employers and their families in the event of injury or death of a railroad worker.
Under this law, the employee has the right to file a claim against his employer in a state or federal court and has an absolute right to a trial by jury.
The railroad employee involved in an injury case is entitled to an award according to the type of injury sustained and the extent of the injury – whether it is temporary or permanent. They are entitled to an award for any disability or disfigurement, aggravation of a preexisting condition, and the pain and suffering experienced from the injury.
Additionally, the injured worker is entitled to an award for reasonable medical expenses incurred as a result of the injury. The injured railroad worker is entitled to any lost wages from time off or, in the event of a permanent injury, any wages from the time of the injury up to and including such time as they would have retired from the railroad.
In the event of the death of a railroad employee, the spouse and children of the employee are entitled to an award for the pain and suffering experienced prior to the spouse’s/parent’s death and an award for all reasonable medical care, treatment and services received prior to death. The spouse and children of the employee are also entitled to an award for the loss of support resulting from the death of the railroad worker.
Locomotive Inspection Act
The Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA), 49 U.S.C. § 20701, requires that locomotive equipment operate without unnecessary dangers. As with other safety regulations, a violation of the LIA constitutes negligence per se and a breach of the railroad’s duty to its employees. An injured railroader need only establish that the defendant’s violation of the LIA played a part, even if it’s only the slightest, in producing the injury or death to recover.
If you have been injured on a locomotive while working with a railroad, you should speak with an experienced LIA attorney immediately. These types of cases tend to be complex, so it would be to your advantage to seek an attorney as soon as possible. These cases take a great deal of investigation, and the earlier this can be started, the better.
Safety Appliance Act
The Railroad Safety Appliance Act (SAA), set forth in 49 CFR part 231, represents an extended legislative and regulatory effort, beginning in the 19th century, to improve the safety of railroad employees and the public. As railroads rapidly began to grow and develop following the Civil War, it became increasingly apparent that new measures were needed to protect train service employees who were directly involved in the movement of trains. In response to these unsafe conditions, the United States Congress adopted laws to regulate the safety of railroad freight cars.
The SAA is similar to the LIA in that it establishes an absolute duty to the railroad company to provide a safe environment for its workers. The SAA covers basic components of railroad freight cars, such as grab irons, ladders and running boards, sill steps and cut leavers.
Title 49 “Whistleblower” Claims
Railroad workers are provided “whistleblower” protection under Title 49 U.S.C. Section 20109. This law protects railroad workers from retaliation by the railroad for engaging in protected activities, such as reporting a work-related personal injury; refusing to violate federal laws or regulations; reporting hazardous conditions; reporting safety or security concerns; providing information to the Federal Railroad Administration, Homeland Security or the National Transportation Safety Board; and reporting violations of federal law.
The Title 49 whistleblower statute also prohibits railroads from denying, delaying or interfering with medical treatment following a work-related injury. There are a variety of other protections afforded by the Title 49 whistleblower statute.
The relief available in a Title 49 whistleblower claim is “all relief necessary to make the employee whole.” This includes:
- Reinstatement with the same seniority status that the employee would have had, but for the discrimination
- Any back pay, with interest
- Compensatory damages, including compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the discrimination, including litigation costs, expert witness fees and reasonable attorney fees
If you believe you have been discriminated against in violation of the whistleblower statute, our attorneys would like to talk to you.