How long do I have to bring a FELA case after my accident?
Under the FELA there is a three year statute of limitations that governs any potential injury claim against a railroad. This means that a claim must be resolved directly with the railroad, or a lawsuit filed in the appropriate state or federal court, within three years of the date of the injury. This time period is set in stone, and failure to settle a claim or file a lawsuit in court within this time period will forever bar an injured employee from receiving compensation for his or her injuries.
The FELA three year statute of limitations applies to all injury and illness claims, including cumulative trauma injury claims and occupational exposure claims, such as asbestos exposure or chemical exposure. FELA states that the three year statute of limitations begins to run when the injured railroad worker knew, or should have known through the exercise of reasonable investigation that he or she sustained an injury/illness that was related to the railroad working environment. It is important to know that some courts have held that experiencing symptoms of pain can start the running of the three year FELA statute of limitations – even before a doctor determines a medical diagnosis of the underlying injury.
Because these types of claims do not occur on a specific date at a specific time but instead, manifest over time due to years of repetitive trauma or exposures in the railroad work environment, determining when the three year statute of limitations time period starts and expires requires a detailed analysis of the circumstances of each individual case.
Call the experienced attorneys at Davis, Saunders, Miller & Oden to aid you in determining how to calculate how long you have to file a claim.