Injured On The Job: What Every Railroad Worker Should Know
Railroad employees work in a dangerous industry. Because of the exceptional hazards unique to the railroad industry, Congress passed a law, the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Under the FELA, a railroad employee can have a jury trial and recover damages if he or she is injured or killed as a result of fault by the railroad, such as defective equipment, a defective locomotive or railroad car, or unsafe working conditions. This is not workers’ compensation – an injured railroad worker can only recover if the railroad’s negligence was a cause of the injury.
If the unthinkable happens and you are hurt on the job, there are steps you should take to protect your legal rights. This should not be considered legal advice, but information that may be helpful prior to contacting an attorney:
- First, and most importantly, report your injury and receive any medical attention that you need. You should complete a written injury report andÂ also report your injury to your local union officers.
- The railroad will immediately put its department of claims agents to work. Their job is to prevent injured workers from receiving the compensation they deserve. Claims agents may try to contact you to offer you a quick, lowball settlement or to take a statement from you as to what happened. Anything you say to a claims agent can and will be used against you, and they are trained to ask questions that are confusing and biased. If you speak with a claims agent, you may be limiting your rights and damaging your claim without realizing it. You do not have to talk to claims agents, and we suggest that you not talk to them prior to consulting with an attorney.
- Contact the attorneys at Schlichter, Bogard & Denton as soon as possible. We provide a free initial consultation to advise you of your legal rights and to determine if you may deserve compensation for your injuries.
Depending on the situation, we may be able to help you in numerous ways:
- Fight to hold the railroad accountable for causing your injuries, and get you the compensation you deserve.
- Assist with sickness or disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board.
- Help ensure any absences from work are not held against you.
- Advise you as to your rights to see doctors of your own choosing, instead of doctors paid by – and loyal to – the railroad.
Most railroad injuries are preventable.Â With thorough investigation, witness interviews, and skillful trial preparation, we can develop the facts that demonstrate the negligence causing the injury. Using a team of skilled investigators who themselves have decades of experience as railroad workers, we understand the unique railroad industry practices and procedures that can cause injury to employees.
We understand the concerns of railroad employees when they are injured, such as fear of discipline and loss of support for their families. We use special care in helping injured railroad employees deal with these concerns.
For more information, contact us for a free consultation. As an additional service, we also provide free advice on any railroad matter, such as labor and discipline issues, even if there is no injury on the job. To contact us, click here.