As trial attorneys representing injured railroad employees in personal injury cases against their employers under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act ("FELA"), we are familiar with situations where safety improvements have been made after railroads are exposed to financial liability imposed through jury verdicts. Rick Shapiro, former chairman of the Railroad section of the American Association for Justice ("AAJ") and John C., current chairman of that group, have been active in coordinating the exchange of information concerning dangerous railroad hazards with attorneys representing injured railroad employees nationwide. Of course, one of the purposes of the exchange of such information is the hope that well informed railroad workers' injury lawyers and well plaintiffs/workers will lead to a safer work environment for railroad workers nationally. The efforts of our attorneys is in line with the intent behind the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). The Supreme Court has noted in the past that the FELA is intended to "impel the carrier to avoid and prevent negligent acts and omissions."
It appears the FELA may be having its intended effect of improving railroad safety. At a recent presentation to the Association of American Railroads ("AAR"), the industry group for Class I rail carriers, Peter French, an AAR researcher, noted that a recent decline in employee deaths and injuries coincides with a period of aggressive filing of FELA lawsuits on behalf of injured employees. The obvious conclusion this data leads to is that the FELA is an effective tool for keeping railroads focused upon improving workplace safety. Clearly, the system works because money damages can be awarded by juries and the monetary "penalty" has a big effect on compelling railroads to improve safety. Despite this encouraging data, there are still too many deaths and injuries of railroad workers. For this reason, this firm, along with other FELA firms throughout the country continues to activly share information with worker trial lawyers nationwide to improve legal representation, of all injured railroad workers. If we can be of assistance to you, a family member, or friend, do not hesitate to contact us.