If you are a long-time railroad worker who is suffering serious aches and pains in your joints and/or muscles, you may be suffering from a repetitive stress injury. This condition affects numerous rail workers who have spent decades on the railroad with trauma accumulating from certain types of physical labor. After all this time performing these strenuous tasks, your body is sending you signals that it just can't take anymore.
If you have already been diagnosed with a repetitive stress injury, you may wonder if you qualify for a repetitive trauma claim under FELA law. The FELA (Federal Employers Liability Act) was created to address legal claims made by injured rail workers. In order to determine whether or not you qualify to make an injury claim depends on a number of circumstances related to your on-the-job injury.
The fact that you've been diagnosed with a repetitive stress injury by a doctor is a good first step. One of the first things we explain to an injured rail worker is that their employer is not liable to pay them compensation unless the railroad was careless or negligent in failing to prevent the repetitive stress injuries from occurring in the first place.
In order to determine carelessness or negligence on the part of the railroad, we use an ergonomic analysis to determine reasonable prevention of repetitive stress injuries. Often, not only do we apply the evidence we have developed, but some cases involve our locating and retaining an "ergonomist" -an ergonomics specialist who has analyzed and designed ergonomics safety programs for an industry, for example.
We must also investigate the railroad company's knowledge and whether it took any steps to prevent your type of injury in the workplace. If no steps were taken by the company, this could strengthen your FELA claim.
Another issue we have to work out is when the statute of limitations began. The FELA provides a three-year statute of limitations from when the claim arises/accrues. In repetitive stress injury situations, legal analysis is applied to determine when the three-year statute of limitations begins to run. This is why it is so critical to retain the services of a FELA lawyer as soon as possible. If you hold off on filing a claim, you run the risk of becoming ineligible under the statute of limitations.
Our firm has handled numerous railroad worker injury cases and is designated counsel for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, along with the Transportation Communications International Union.
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