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FELA Statute of Limitations

How long do injured railroad workers have to file a workers' compensation claim?

FELA claims are complicated and fiercely attacked by railroads and insurance companies trying to minimize their losses. Trains kill one person every 100 minutes in the United States, and most train crossings are unmarked or unprotected. Our FELA railroad injury lawyers help both railroad employees and the public in railroad traffic accidents.

Railroad workers are expected to notify their employer immediately if they suffer a personal injury while working or if a doctor diagnoses a condition which he considers work-related. The Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) statute of limitations and the state of Tennessee statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit are different.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development requires that you submit written notice of your injury or illness to your employer within 15 days after the injury or first diagnosis. Your employer is prohibited by law from terminating you if you file for workers’ compensation or compensation through the FELA, but the Department of Labor Workers’ Compensation Division cannot mediate illegal terminations.

Under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), the general rule is you have three years from the date of your injury to file a third-party lawsuit. If you fail to file your suit before the statute of limitations expires, your case will likely be dismissed.

If the cause of the injury is hearing loss or exposure to hazardous chemicals, then the worker has three years from the date the injury or illness is discovered, should have been discovered or when the worker becomes aware of the cause of the their injury.

The Federal Employers' Liability Act

As a transportation hub with at least 15 railroads crossing its borders, Tennessee embraces the Federal Employers' Liability Act (45 U.S.C. ยง 51 FELA). FELA compensates railroad employees who become ill or injured on the job. The burden of proof necessary to prevail in an FELA lawsuit includes proof that your employer was negligent or that your employment deliberately caused your injuries or illness.

FELA grants injured railroad workers extensive benefits including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Loss of ability to earn money
  • Permanent disability

FELA helps workers who experience traumatic injuries, sprains, broken bones, pulled muscles, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Working on the railroads has been proved to cause deafness, lung cancer, traumatic brain injuries, and catastrophic injuries from working with heavy equipment. Catastrophic injuries result in your reduced quality of living and can be permanently disabling. Railroad workers frequently suffer aggravation of pre-existing conditions. Paralysis, paraplegia and severe burns from working on the railroad result in severe damage to skin, bone and muscle tissue which can result in wrongful deaths.

Tennessee FELA Personal Injury Attorneys

At Gilreath & Associates, our FELA attorneys have 97 years of combined experience and hold the Tennessee Attorney General's Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy. Our FELA lawyers vigorously empower those who suffer from railroad-related injuries representing them in agency hearings, Tennessee state court hearings, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Verdicts and Settlements

Our law firm won a $2.25 million FELA lawsuit for a railroad worker whose leg was crushed in a train wheel assembly, and $841,901 for an engineer whose locomotive collided with another train at a crossing. An engineer won $700,000 compensation for his permanently disabling injuries caused by a collision of two train cars. See our full list of case results.

Tennessee Railroad Accident Attorneys

If you or someone you love was injured or killed while working on a railroad in the state of Tennessee, contact our Tennessee railroad accident attorneys in our Knoxville, Nashville, or Memphis office for a free consultation.

Our lawyers, who are members of the American Board of Trial Advocates and the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys, will strive to reduce your discomfort and maximize your compensation for medical, funeral, lost wages, rehabilitative care and emotional distress at no cost to you until you receive compensation for your loss.

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