FEDERAL EMPLOYEES LIABILITY ACT:
If the injured worker is employed by a railroad, he falls under the Federal Employees Liability Act (FELA)-- a law that provides special protection to employees of railroads.
If a injured railroad worker can prove that his employer was negligent (that is, provided an unsafe place to work) then he or she can recover for pain and suffering and disability and can recover full compensation.
Under the FELA, if the injury to the employee was not caused by the employer's negligence, then there can be no recovery for pain and suffering and disability. However, the employer is still responsible for paying the employee's medical bills and a percentage of his or hers lost wages. This is called MAINTENANCE AND CURE.
One unfortunate aspect of the FELA law is that if the injured railroad worker reaches maximum cure, the employer need no longer pay for his or her medical bills. In other words, if medical bills are purely for "palliative" treatment ( that is, to treat pain) rather than providing functional improvement, the employer can cut off benefits.
For example, if there is no cure for a employee's back pain and the patient is functionally as good as he or she will get, then paying for prescriptions to alleviate pain will be the responsibility of the employee, not the employer. It's unfair, but it's the law. The only way to force an employer to pay for "palliative" treatment is if we can prove the employer was negligent or did not provide a safe place to work.
It's important if you are injured at work, you obtain immediate treatment, provide specific explanations to your doctor about how your accident happened, that it happen at work, and be accurate in your descriptions of pain problems. Get the names of witnesses there phone numbers and consult a Lawyer. The employer has high-paid attorneys to stop you from receiving just compensation -- and they work quickly in FELA cases.
Information Courtesy of Mr. Defyn of BRS Local 108