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What type of damages are recoverable under the FELA?


A: Keep in mind that the purpose of the FELA is to make the employee "whole" again. In our civil justice system, the only way to do that is to award money damages. At trial, you are entitled to receive your lost wages and benefits. This includes your past lost wages and benefits plus future lost wages and benefits if you cannot return to work. Also, you are entitled to receive your out of pocket medical expenses. This includes both you past and future medical bills. However, most railroad workers have excellent health insurance that covers most medical bills. In the majority of jurisdictions, you cannot recover for those medical bills that have been paid by your railroad health insurance. Pain and suffering is also an item of damages. We refer to this as "human damages." These are things that make peoples' lives worth living. Pain and suffering includes things such as being able to enjoy your time with your family, engage in hobbies that you enjoy and live day to day without pain. If your injury effects those areas, you are entitled to be compensated for these losses as well.