Birmingham Railroad Worker
Accident (FELA) Attorneys

The Federal Employers Liability Act, or FELA as it is commonly known, is considered by some to be one of the greatest pieces of legislation to be passed in the twentieth century. It was inarguably a huge victory for not only railroad workers, but many hard-working Americans who were subjected to unsafe work environments so their employers could save money on safety features and squeeze out more profit.

FELA was originally created in response to public outcry over the gruesome injuries and the number of fatalities railroad workers sustained while working on the railroad. Few people, railroad workers included, truly understand the amount of protection injured railroad workers have under FELA. In fact, railroad employees have more protection than any other working person in the United States under FELA law.

Railroad Designated Counsel

SMART Union, a union advocating for workers in a variety of potentially dangerous industries, wants to ensure that when workers they represent are injured, they have proven attorneys with the relevant skills and experience to fight for their interests.

If you are an injured railroad or transportation industry worker, you will likely want to seek out representation from a Designated Legal Counsel firm, such as Farris, Riley & Pitt. Our Designated Legal Counsel railroad attorneys represent injured railroad workers involved in FELA accidents from all over the county. We have helped injured railroad workers employed by Norfolk Southern, CSX Transportation, short-line railroads and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway Company.

If you or a worker you know has been injured in a railroad-related accident, call us 24/7, toll-free at 1-888-580-5176 or 205-324-1212.

As Designated Legal Counsel, Farris, Riley & Pitt has represented clients with the following types of injuries:

  • Cumulative Injuries
  • Chemical and Asbestos Exposure
  • Back & Neck Injuries
  • Lacerations and Burns
  • Slips, Trips and Falls
  • Bone Fractures
  • Limb Injuries and Amputations
  • Death

Injuries involving repetitive motion can affect any area of the body, including:

Injuries involving repetitive motion can affect any area of the body, including:

Q & A

Prior to the establishment of FELA, railroad workers injured or killed on the railroad were entitled to very little compensation, if anything at all. After FELA was enacted in 1908, an injured railroad employee could seek compensation for:

  • Medical expenses and treatment,
  • Lost wages,
  • Furture lost wages,
  • Partial or permanent disability,
  • Pain and suffering,
  • And additional losses.

FELA law applies to injured railroad workers, but in the event of the railroad employees’ death, their families can be compensated, as well. Unlike workers’ compensation, FELA cases only require the victim prove there was some form of irresponsible behavior on the part of the railroad. That means if the railroad was even partially responsible for your injury, by law, they are required to pay you for your injury.

Under FELA, all railroad employees who are injured on the railroad are entitled to protection, including:

  • Engineers
  • Conductors
  • Brakeman
  • Switchman
  • Other railroad employees.

It is the railroad’s job to provide every railroad employee a safe place to work. Railroads must provide safe equipment, cars, engines, machinery, tracks, appliances and roadbeds on which to work. In addition, all tools and equipment must be safe to operate. Failure on the part of the railroad to maintain safe and hazard -free railroad working conditions makes the railroad liable if an injury occurs.

In addition, all railroad employees are covered under the FELA law if you are working for the railroad offsite. Any employee injured while working with a third party, such as working off site for the railroad or working with a subsidiary of the railroad, is covered by FELA. Call a Designated FELA Lawyer at Farris, Riley & Pitt at 1-888-580-5176 or 205-324-1212 for more information.

FELA Accident Compensation is determined by three things:

  1. Seriousness of the injury;
  2. Loss you have suffered; and
  3. Negligence on part of the railroad or of any railroad employee.

If you have sustained an injury from a railroad accident, you are generally entitled to monetary compensation for:

  • The seriousness and duration of your injury
  • Any disability or disfigurement resulting from the injury
  • If the injury aggravated a pre-existing condition or ailment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Medial care and future medical expenses
  • Lost earnings and potential future lost earning

FELA cases are known as “comparative negligence” cases. That means the jury, or if the case settles outside of court a fact-finder, will decide what percentage of responsibility was due to the railroad’s irresponsible operating behaviors.

For example, if a jury decides that the injured railroad worker has suffered $1,000,000 in damages (including pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages) and determines the railroad was 70% responsible for the conditions that caused the injury, the injured railroad employee is then entitled to $700,000 in compensation.

The injured railroad employee generally has three years from the date of the accident to file a claim, unless an exception applies. For example, if you are exposed to toxic chemicals, asbestos, etc., your statute of limitations countdown  could be much shorter.

FELA and railroad-related accidents are unlike any other area of the law. FELA cases are extremely complex and require an intricate knowledge of not only the railroad and rail yard, but how the legal system impacts railroad workers.

When choosing an attorney to represent you in your FELA claim, consider the following:

  • Ask whether the initial consultation is free. Most personal injury attorneys offer free legal consultations.
  • Ask whether the attorney has experience handling FELA claims and if the attorney is union-designated. If they do not have experience representing injured railroad employees through FELA cases, you may wish to seek counsel elsewhere.
  • Beware of anyone who tells you what your case is worth until all medical records are obtained, lost wages and future lost wages are accounted for, and future medical prognosis is made. Otherwise, valuing your case will be difficult. An experienced attorney may be able to estimate what your case is worth by comparing similar circumstances and injuries to previous cases, but no two cases are identical.
  • After you decide to hire a FELA attorney, make sure you understand the contract you are signing.

If you need assistance locating an experienced FELA Railroad Attorney, contact your local union chairman or call us at 1-888-580-5176.


Accidents can happen virtually anywhere. If the people responsible for maintaining the premises on which you were injured failed to maintain a safe environment and you were injured as a result, you may have a premises liability case. If you have been injured in such an accident, call our attorneys at 1-888-580-5176 or 205-324-1212 today.

Free Case Evaluation.

We pride ourselves on our dedication and commitment to every case we handle and look forward to speaking with you soon.