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Railroad Negligence

Railroad Negligence

FELA Negligence

A railroad has a continuing non-delegable duty to provide its employees a reasonably safe place to work. The FELA does not contain specific standards of care applicable to the railroad within the statute itself. Over the years, courts have judicially determined that some of the duties the railroads owe to its employees including duties to:

  • Provide reasonably safe tools and equipment for work;
  • Provide sufficient assistance and help to perform work tasks;
  • Promulgate and enforce safety rules;
  • Not assign employment tasks that are beyond an employee’s physical abilities;
  • Educate, train and inform employees of unsafe working conditions;
  • Protect employees from torts committed by co-workers; and
  • Provide a reasonably safe place to work.

A railroad breaches its duty to its employees when it fails to use ordinary care to make the working environment reasonably safe. A railroad breaches its duty when it knew, or by the exercise of due care should have known, that its conduct was inadequate to protect the injured railroad employee. The FELA protects railroad employees injured while working in the course and scope of their employment on the property of a third-party, and protects employees who are injured in van accidents while being transported from one location to another while on company time.

Under the FELA, negligence is determined based on a comparative negligence scheme where the negligence of the railroad is compared to the negligence of the employee. For example, if a jury determines that the employee’s actions contributed to 40% of the cause of the injury, the resulting jury award will be reduced by 40%. If the employee is deemed to be 100% at fault with regard to the work injury, regardless of how serious the injuries are, the employee will receive no compensation under the FELA.

Railroad Safety Statutes/Absolute Liability

The railroad safety statutes are known as the Locomotive Inspection Act (former Boiler Inspection Act) and the Safety Appliance Act which mandate that railroads maintain certain components of locomotives and railcar safety appliances free from defects. These safety acts supplement the FELA and promote employee recovery. Railroads are also required to fully comply with federal regulations applicable to the rail industry as set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), rules promulgated by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and rules promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

When a railroad employee is injured due to the railroad’s violation of a railroad safety statute, the railroad is subject to “strict liability” which means that negligence against the railroad is established as a matter of law. Consequently, the railroad is unable to reduce the employee’s damages based on the employee’s alleged negligence and the railroad will be deemed 100% responsible for the resulting injuries and damages.

Great Lawyer!

Jeff Chod was my lawyer in a suit against MRL in Missoula Montana.He
distinguished himself in a very professional manner. His hard work,
extensive knowledge and attention to detail enabled me to get a
satisfactorysettlement. He was easily accessible and quickly attended to all my
questions and worries. I highly recommend Jeff to anyone due to his work
ethic and willingness to go that extra mile to insure his client gets the best
possible results.

~ Brian, Victor, MT
Changed my life

I met Mr. Chod in 2007. It was the best decision I have ever made to
hire him. I was injured and scared, and he did not know me, but gave
me confidence, told me to focus on getting better and he would take
care of the rest. Amazingly he did and I made also a friend for life.

~ Tony, Amelia, OH
My experience was outstanding

As a former MOW employee for Wisconsin Central Railroad in need of an
injury attorney, it has been my experience that good FELA attorneys are hard
to find. After having to fire my first attorney due to a very frustrating
experience, I found attorney Chod and from that point on, my experience
was nothing short of outstanding. Jeff treated me personally with
compassion as if I were his only client and understood completely
the seriousness of my injury. He fought a very long and
tough battle against a team of very high powered attorneys
with due diligence...

~ Todd, Wausau, WI
Railroad Incident

I hired Mr. Chod after I had an incident at a mine here in
Wyoming when I worked for the Union Pacific Railroad
and he did an excellent job of settling my case. Mr. Chod
worked well with myself and the doctors he talked to and
other railroad employees.

~ Connie, Douglas, WY
When you need a winner, he is your guy...

In September of 2014 I suffered a career ending injury at BNSF Railway. The RR choose to not do the right thing even though I continued to have faith in them. I talked to Jeff on a recommendation of a friend after many broken promises by BNSF. I had only done one thing wrong that night, and that was trusting BNSF to accurately train, and prepare a operator to safely work along side me. I talked with Jeff and he helped ease my mind and finally realize that the RR was not conducting themselves in my best interest or livelihood. My injuries physically were were permanent and the PTSD was overwhelming and learning to deal with it was life altering. Jeff worked tirelessly for me and my future well-being. He fought them like David and Goliath and we won.

~ Lisa, Memphis, TN
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