Chicago Railroad Worker Injury Lawyer

Helping Injured Railroad Workers Recover

If you are a Chicago railroad worker who was injured on the job, and your employer’s negligence contributed to your injuries, you are entitled to compensation for your losses. The FELA attorneys at Ankin Law have been helping injured railroad workers just like you recover damages since 1940. A railroad worker injury lawyer at our law firm can help you get money to replace your lost wages, cover your medical bills, and to compensate you for your pain and suffering, and emotional trauma. 

Are you are a railroad employee hurt in a workplace accident? You have rights under FELA. Call a Chicago railroad accident lawyer with Ankin Law at (312) 600-0000 to recover maximum compensation.

What Is FELA?

The Federal Employers’ Liability Act, FELA, provides legal protections for railroad workers who were injured on the job. The Act affords them the opportunity to seek monetary damages for injuries sustained on the job. Under FELA, railroad workers who become sick or injured at work due to the actions of a negligent employer are allowed to bring FELA claims against the employer. In cases of wrongful death accidents, a representative of the deceased worker can file a FELA claim against the negligent employer for the benefit of the decedent’s surviving spouse, parents, children, or other dependent relative. 

Injured railroad workers are not covered under workers’ compensation benefits. In recognition of this, and in acknowledgment of the hazards inherent to the railroad industry, congress enacted FELA to hold negligent railroad companies liable for workplace injuries. In addition to holding employers liable for injuries, FELA was created to establish a standard for safety practices in the railroad industry and reduce the dangerously high accident rate railroad workers face.

Negligent Employers Are Liable for Railroad Accidents

The Federal Employers’ Liability Act dictates that a negligent railroad employer is liable for an employee’s workplace injuries. Contributory negligence, or employee behavior that contributed to the accident and subsequent injuries, does not disqualify an injured railroad worker from filing FELA cases. Instead, an employee’s damages award may be reduced by the amount of liability he or she holds for the accident. If an employer’s negligence was in violation of a railway safety statute, contributory negligence does not apply.

Burden of Proof in FELA Lawsuits

In addition to providing a legal basis by which an injured railroad worker can file a FELA claim, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act reduces the burden of proof a FELA attorney is held to. This means that a plaintiff must only prove that he or she sustained injuries, and that the injuries resulted from the railroad company’s negligence. In cases where an employer has violated a railroad safety statute, he or she faces absolute liability for the railroad worker’s injuries, disregarding the plaintiff’s burden of proof.

as co-counsel for misdiagnosis resulting in above-the-knee leg amputation. 2021
in combined benefits for tradesman who fell from scaffold. 2022.
as co-counsel for a client who suffocated and died while cleaning her tracheotomy. 2016.
as co-counsel for anesthesia death. 2015.

Who Can File a FELA Claim?

Following the passage of the 1939 amendment to FELA, all injured railroad employees have the right to file a FELA lawsuit against their employer. FELA is not the same as the Workers’ Compensation Act. For an injured railroad worker to recover damages, he or she needs to establish that the personal injury was caused, in whole or in part, by the negligent actions of the railroad company. Similar to other tort cases, a FELA attorney must establish negligence by proving that:

  • The railroad company failed to act reasonably, as compared to how another company would have acted in the same circumstances.
  • The railroad company owed a duty of care to its injured employees and failed to uphold that duty of care.
  • The railroad company violated safety standards set in place to protect employees.

Do you have grounds for a hearing loss claim? Call Ankin Law at (312) 600-0000 to find out how much your case is worth. Free consultation.

What Injuries Are Covered Under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act?

Railroad companies, like Union Pacific, Chicago Port Railroad Company, and Illinois Central Railroad, present workers on railways with a variety of hazards that are inherent to the line of duty. The following common railroad accident injuries are covered under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act:


Railroad accidents often leave injuries that are severe and can leave a lifelong impact on a victim’s life. Disfigurement due to scarring, amputation, skin discoloration, and improperly healed breaks and fractures can alter the course of an injured worker’s life. 


Chemical exposure, explosions, hose ruptures, electrocution, and engine fires can leave railroad workers with second and third degree burns. Treatment for severe burn injuries can include skin grafts and amputation, putting workers at risk for disfigurement. 

Head, Neck, and Back Injuries

Falling or becoming struck by an object can leave railroad workers with head, back, and neck injuries. In some cases, a railroad worker may even sustain a traumatic brain injury or permanent spinal injury that leads to a need for lifelong care.

Broken/Fractured Bones

Skeletal stress from repetitive motion and heavy lifting, as well as slip and fall accidents, can cause railroad workers to sustain bone breaks or fractures. 

Crush Injuries

Freight cars, cargo, and equipment can strike or crush a railroad worker in the rail yard. Crush injuries are often severe, leading to crushed bones, damage to internal organs, and even wrongful death. 

Victims facing disfigurement may face extended recovery times and high medical costs for reconstructive surgeries.  Other serious injuries may leave an injured railroad worker facing long-term care costs, expensive initial treatment, lost income, pain and suffering, and a reduced earning capacity, A railroad accident lawyer can help victims recover these costs through a FELA lawsuit.

Compensation for Railroad Worker Injuries

Railroad injuries are often severe and leave victims facing significant financial burdens. A FELA attorney at Ankin Law can help victims recover compensation for:

  • Medical treatment, including short and long term care, costs for prescriptions, and costs for medical equipment.
  • Lost wages, future lost wages, and lost earning capacity
  • The value of a lost limb or organ
  • Pain and suffering
  • Economic losses afforded to a deceased worker’s dependents

Working with a FELA attorney at our law firm can increase your chances of winning your railroad injury lawsuit. FELA Attorneys can help injured victims navigate the FELA claims process, establish negligence and liability, and recover maximum damages.

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    FAQs About FELA in Illinois


    How much is my FELA claim worth?

    The value of FELA cases is influenced by the damages that resulted from the injuries sustained in an accident. Medical expenses, lost income, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other monetary damages are recoverable in a FELA claim. Contributory negligence can impact the value of your FELA claim. Consulting a railroad injury lawyer can help victims determine the monetary value of their unique case.


    How Do I File a FELA Lawsuit in Illinois?

    The steps to take to file a FELA lawsuit begin immediately after the accident. Railroad workers injured should seek immediate medical treatment and file a personal injury report with their employer as soon as possible. Claimants should then gather all evidence regarding their claim, such as medical records, pay stubs, witness accounts, and a copy of the personal injury report. In addition, injured workers should keep track of lost work hours and wages. Then, they should retain a FELA attorney to begin a lawsuit against the negligent railroad company.


    Do railroad workers qualify for workers’ compensation?

    FELA is not the same as the Workers’ Compensation Act. Railroad employees do not qualify for workers’ compensation insurance benefits, and must instead recover damages through FELA claims. In contrast to workers’ comp, plaintiffs in a FELA claim must prove negligence to hold an employer liable for their injuries. A FELA attorney can help a plaintiff prove an employer acted negligently or violated a railroad safety standard.

    What Our Clients Say About Us

    Ankin Law helped me when I was injured at work. I was scared how I was going to pay my medical bills. Ankin Law and all their representatives helped me every step of the way. They were friendly, professional and showed empathy to my situation. Not only did they make sure my company paid my medical bills., they fought for me and I received compensation due to the injury effected my mobility of left arm and shoulder. I can not thank the Ankin Law team enough!! I thank you so much and highly recommend them to anyone. They gave me a peace of mind during a very stressful time.

    ~ Theresa M.