Federal Employers' Liability Act:

Issues Associated With Changing How Railroad Work-Related Injuries Are Compensated

RCED-96-199: Published: Aug 15, 1996. Publicly Released: Sep 13, 1996.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined how replacing the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) with a no-fault compensation system would affect the railroad industry.

GAO found that: (1) the cost of replacing FELA with a nationwide no-fault compensation system depends on the number of injured railroad workers permanently disabled and the number of workers unable to return to work at preinjury wages; (2) the costs under a no-fault compensation system would be the same as or lower than FELA costs; (3) overall injury compensation costs would be lower under a no-fault system if fewer than 70 percent of injured rail workers are able to return to work; (4) railroads would save an average of $100 per employee if injured workers continue to work after receiving settlement; (5) a no-fault compensation system would reduce railroads' administrative costs, but limit the amount of compensation and legal counsel that injured workers receive; (6) small railroads have fewer lost workdays and lower injury rates than large railroads; (7) small railroads have lower FELA costs than large railroads and rely on insurance payments to avoid high FELA payouts; (8) railroads could reduce their administrative costs by placing a cap on compensation for noneconomic losses and limiting plaintiff's legal fees; (9) railroad management and labor disagree over how well FELA is working and whether it should be replaced or changed; and (10) FELA is no more burdensome for passenger and small freight railroads than it is for large freight railroads.

Feb 28, 2018

Jan 30, 2018

Jan 16, 2018

Dec 21, 2017

Dec 14, 2017

Dec 4, 2017

Nov 30, 2017

Nov 15, 2017

Nov 2, 2017

Oct 31, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here