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Settling Your FELA Case vs. Going to Trial: Understanding Your Options

Posted by Brad Ponder | May 21, 2024 | 0 Comments

If you've been injured while working for a railroad company and believe the railroad's negligence played a role, the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) may entitle you to compensation. However, the question often arises: should you settle your FELA case, or take it to trial?

Understanding Your Options:

  • Settlement: This involves negotiating a lump sum payment with the railroad company to resolve your claim.
  • Trial: You present your case to a jury, who decides if the railroad is liable and, if so, award you damages.

Pros and Cons of Settling:


  • Faster Resolution: Cases often take years to go to trial. Settlements can be reached much quicker, providing you with compensation sooner.
  • Predictability: Provides a guaranteed sum, eliminating the uncertainty of a jury verdict.
  • Reduced Stress: Trials can be lengthy and emotionally draining. Settlements can spare you the stress of legal proceedings.
  • Maintain Privacy: Settling keeps the details of your case confidential.


  • Possible Lower Compensation: Settlements typically offer less than a potential jury award.
  • Limited Appeal Rights: Once a settlement is agreed upon, your options for appeal are very limited.

Pros and Cons of Going to Trial:


  • Potential for Higher Compensation: Juries sometimes award significant damages, especially if the railroad's negligence is egregious or injuries are catastrophic. 
  • Tell Your Story: Allows you to present your case fully and argue for the compensation you deserve.


  • Time-Consuming: Trials can take months to complete, delaying your compensation.
  • Costly: Case expenses can be substantial, especially if the case goes to trial.
  • Uncertain Outcome: Juries are unpredictable, and there's no guarantee of a favorable verdict.
  • Publicity: Trials are public record, and details of your case could become public knowledge.

Choosing Your Path:

The decision of whether to settle or go to trial is a personal one. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Severity of your injuries: More severe injuries may warrant taking the risk of trial for potentially greater compensation.
  • Strength of your case: A clear case of the railroad's negligence could increase your chances of a successful outcome at trial.
  • Financial needs: If you need compensation quickly, settling might be the better option.
  • Risk tolerance: Are you comfortable with the uncertainty of a jury verdict?

Ponder Legal Group: Your Trusted FELA Advocate

At Ponder Legal Group, we understand the complexities of FELA claims. Our experienced railroad injury attorneys can help you navigate the legal process and evaluate your options.

We will thoroughly investigate your case, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and discuss both settlement and trial strategies with you. Ultimately, the decision of how to proceed is yours. We are dedicated to providing you with the information and support you need to make an informed decision that advances your best interests.

Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your FELA case and explore your legal options.

About the Author

Brad Ponder

Brad specializes in complex litigation, including class actions and mass torts in both state and federal court. He represents consumer and business owners in a variety of lawsuits, including class actions and high-stakes litigation against major corporations. 


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