"The Federal Employers Liability Act was designed to put on the railroad industry some of the costs of the legs, arms, eyes, and lives which it consumed in its operation. Not all these costs were imposed, for the Act did not make the employer an insurer. The liability which it imposed was the liability for negligence."

- Justice William Douglas United States Supreme Court

The Federal Employers Liability Act was passed by the United States Congress to protect and compensate railroaders injured on the job.  However, FELA was never intended to be awarded automatically.

Unlike State Worker's Compensation Law, FELA requires the injured railroader to prove that the railroad was "legally negligent", at least in part, in causing the injury. After proving negligence, the injured railroader is entitled to full compensation. Such compensation is usually many times greater than that provided by State Worker's Compensation for non-railroaders

On the surface the FELA seems simple enough. Unfortunately, it usually isn't simple. In fact, since its inception, the Federal Employers Liability Act has been interpreted many thousands of times by both Federal and State appellate courts.

R. Edward Pfiester has spoken at hundreds of rail union meetings and to both state and  national plaintiff trial lawyers on the FELA and Railroad passenger law. He has  written several articles which  provides an in-depth overview of this complicated Federal law and illustrates how it has protected the rights of Railroaders since its inception.
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