The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) protects railroad workers who are injured on the job. If you or a loved one have been injured while employed as a railroad worker, it is important that you take certain steps and precautions after the incident to ensure that your rights to compensation under FELA are preserved and pursued correctly.
Steps to Take After Injury
Immediately report the injury to your supervisor and complete an injury report form. Do not hesitate to fill out an accident report and list the cause of your injury and what the railroad did wrong. It’s important that you be as thorough and accurate as possible in providing information about your injuries, including all possible causes, factors, and conditions that may have contributed to the incident. This document will be important to your claim. If a road foreman, trainmaster or other company official wants you to state “no one was at fault,” or tries to convince you the injury is “non-reportable,” do not be intimidated.
If you are asked to give a statement, it is important to remember you do not have to talk to the claim agent or anyone in the claims department. If in doubt, contact my office before giving a statement.
If you are seriously injured, do not hesitate to let your family handle any decision making or contact with railroad officials.
Treating for your Injuries
The railroad will hopefully ensure that you receive immediate medical attention and treatment, especially in emergency situations. Once you’ve received any necessary initial medical treatment, you should seek any additional treatment from your own doctor. Be as honest and open as possible with your doctor as to any pain or difficulties you are experiencing as a result of the incident. Follow his or her advice. Do not skip treatment. Be careful and accurate when giving medical history to your doctors.
Keep daily records of any medical records, bills, and other documents related to your medical care. Likewise, keep a log of all missed work and lost wages throughout your entire treatment and healing process.
Do not discuss the incident or your injuries on social media. It is surprisingly easy for people to access content that has been posted by yourself, friends, even with privacy settings in place. In most cases, the less said the better. For example, a post that reads “doing great today” can be used out of context to cast doubt about your injuries.
As necessary, get in contact with a representative of your union and inform them of the incident and your injuries.
Making a FELA Claim
The Federal Employer Liability Act (FELA) has protected injured railroad workers and their families for over 100 years. Courts across the country have interpreted FELA in over 1000 legal decisions. It is important to hire a lawyer with experience handling FELA. Do not try to resolve the claim yourself or hire a lawyer who is not familiar with FELA claims.
When making a FELA claim, the injured railroad worker must prove three basic requirements. (1) That the injuries occurred while the worker was “on the job”. This does not mean it has to occur on railroad property; (2) that the railroad was engaged in interstate commerce, or business between two or more states; and (3) that the railroad caused or contributed to the cause of the worker’s injuries.
Get Your Case Evaluated for Free
As soon as possible after your injuries, consult with an experienced attorney, who can help ensure that your rights are protected at all stages of your FELA claim. It’s especially important that you meet with an attorney before the railroad company holds any type of hearing regarding safety and liability issues arising from the incident, as these proceedings can impact your case. Remember you have a limited amount of time to assert a claim under FELA.
Goode Law Office, PLLC never charges for an initial evaluation of your potential claim, and no fee is charged unless there is a financial recovery for the injured worker or the family.