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The Extent Of FELA Coverage

Deadheading Coverage

As was pointed out in this Blog last week, railroaders are frequently transported from one point of work to another by a transport vehicle or “taxi.” Under the FELA, transportation between check out points is considered operational and the railroad will be liable when a railroader’s injuries are caused by the negligent operation of transportation vehicle. For instance, if a railroader is injured when the driver of transport vehicle falls asleep, he or she is covered by the FELA.

Overnight Stay Coverage

Railroaders who perform road work frequently spend overnights between shifts in hotels that are paid for by the railroad. Under the FELA, the railroad has an agency relationship with the hotel since it is performing an operational activity for it. As a result, FELA coverage extends to a person who is injured because of the negligence of the hotel. For instance, if a railroader slips and falls while descending icy steps outside a hotel, his or her injury is covered by the FELA.

Injuries Caused by Third-Parties

Under the FELA, a railroad has a non-delegable duty to provide a railroader a safe place to work even if those premises where the injury occurred is owned by a third-party. A railroad is required to inspect and maintain any premises where its employees work without regard to ownership. This duty to inspect extends to tools and equipment owned by third-parties. For instance, a railroader’s injuries would be covered under the FELA if he slipped and fell while working on industry premises.

By Matt Darby

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