The FELA is different from workers compensation. Workers compensation is a no-fault system, that allows recovery of only a specific percentage of lost wages and payment of medical bills, but does not allow any lawsuit or jury trial against an employer. A worker can recover damages even if they are at fault.
The FELA, on the other hand, is far better in some ways because it allows no ceiling or cap on the amount of damages that may be recovered. Though, it follows common-law negligence principles and requires that a worker prove or one or more of the following:
1. If the injury to the worker is a result of negligence or carelessness of any officer, agent or employee of the railroad, or the worker's injury is caused by any defect in the cars, engines, appliances, machinery, track, roadbed, or any other equipment of the railroad, the employee may recover damages;
2. If the worker is hurt as a result of a railroad violation of a relevant safety statute, either state or federal, the worker is entitled to recover damages;