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Differences Between FELA and Workers' Compensation


Most employees who are injured on the job are covered by Louisiana's workers' compensation laws. However, if you are a railroad worker, you are covered by the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA).

There are key differences between FELA and the Louisiana workers' compensation system. Our experienced Federal Employers' Liability Act attorneys in Baton Rouge explain some of these differences below.

If you are a railroad worker who sustained an on-the-job injury, contact us to discuss your claim in a free, no obligation consultation. We have a detailed understanding of FELA and how it applies to the specifics of your claim.


One of the main differences between FELA and workers' compensation laws is the role of negligence.

In a workers' compensation claim, the injured worker does not have to prove that the personal injury was caused by the employer's negligence to recover compensation.

However, FELA requires the injured employee to prove that his or her employer was negligent and the employer's negligence caused, at least partially, the employee's injury or illness. If you cannot establish negligence, you will not be able to recover compensation.

Contributory Negligence

FELA also considers the injured employee's role in the incident that caused the injury. If you are found to be partially at fault, your compensation award will be reduced proportionately to your degree of fault in the matter. In other words, if you are 20 percent at fault, your award will be reduced by 20 percent.

Filing a Claim

Workers' compensation claims are essentially insurance claims. However, FELA claims are civil cases that are resolved in a courtroom.

In either case, it is to your advantage to have an attorney at your side. An attorney has in-depth knowledge of relevant laws and how to advocate for your best interests every step of the way.

Types of Compensation

Both FELA and workers' compensation claims provide compensation for reasonable medical expenses and past and future lost wages. However, FELA allows you to pursue several forms of compensation that are not available in the workers' compensation system, including:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional pain and suffering
  • Permanent partial disability
  • Total disability

Another difference between workers' compensation claims and FELA claims is the amount of compensation you can receive. FELA claims are decided in a courtroom, and there is no cap on compensation. This means there is no limit to the amount of compensation an injured railroad worker could recover.

However, in a workers' compensation claim, many of the available forms of compensation have predetermined limits. For instance, temporary total disability is equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum amount set by law.

Contact Our Lawyers Today

If you are a railroad employee who was injured on the job, our experienced attorneys are prepared to file a claim under the Federal Employers' Liability Act and guide you through the entire process.

We offer a free, no obligation case consultation to discuss your claim. We do not collect legal fees unless you recover the compensation you deserve.

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