At the turn of the last century, Congress passed the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) to provide a federal system of legal recovery for railroad workers and their families. In terms of the original statute, liability is triggered “by reason of any defect or insufficiency, due to its negligence, in its cars, engines, appliances, machinery, track, roadbed, works, boats, wharves, or other equipment.” Contrary to the purpose of the FELA, attorneys have used the “safer alternative measure” as an affirmative defense maintaining the railroad provided a reasonably safe place to work. This defense was created by the illogical interpretations of Stillman v. Norfolk and Western.
Under 45 U.S.C. – 51, the railroad is required to provide sufficient equipment to accomplish any given task. If a tool or work method is up to the task, it is sufficient. If a tool or method (even one that is deemed safe) falls short, it is insufficient. By arguing the grounds of sufficiency versus insufficiency, the issue of safety can be avoided and liability is more appropriately triggered under the provisions as provided by the FELA. While the concept has been largely lost over time, insufficiency should be introduced as a parallel theory to safety when seeking recovery and compensation for an injured worker. It is equally important that the railroad ensure the workplace is “sufficient” and “safe.”
Freight and passenger trains are very powerful machines and have the potential to cause major property damage and serious personal injury.
When the unexpected happens, the emotional and financial toll on victims and their families can be overwhelming. If you or a loved one were injured in a train accident, Jacksonville attorney Jamie Holland provides aggressive representation to railroad workers, pedestrians and passengers to include:
When a train collides with a car or truck, the end result can mean the death of the vehicle’s driver or a passenger, vast amounts of property damage, permanent disabilities, debilitating pain and/or a lifetime of disfigurement. At Harrell & Harrell, P.A., we understand that the emotional and financial toll on victims of train wrecks and railroad accidents can be overwhelming. However, this is the most critical time to seek legal counsel. The railroad’s insurance adjusters and investigators will not be looking out for your best interests but will be looking for the best way to limit their client’s liability.
Accepting an early offer from the insurance carrier can compromise your opportunity to recover full compensation for medical bills, lost wages, future earnings, pain and suffering, or death benefits. Contact us today at 904-251-1111 or toll free 1-800-251-1111 for a free consultation.
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