Steps To Take After A Railroad Injury
When railroad injuries occur, it is important to act quickly. Below are the following actions you should take after an accident occurs.
Seek Medical Attention
No matter how minor the injury seems, have a doctor document the injury and evaluate the damage and extent of the injury and pain you are experiencing.
It is important to have a record of the occurrence or the injury and that a physician evaluate your medical complaint following the accident or injury. Medical attention should not be delayed.
Immediately Report The Injury
All railroad injuries should be reported to a company supervisor, foreman, trainmaster or dispatcher.
It is important to have a record that an injury occurred and was officially reported as required by the rules soon after the accident. Failure to comply with these rules in reporting an injury may result in disciplinary actions by the carrier.
Never admit to being at fault in any way when reporting the injury. Fill out the injury form completely and accurately. Statements made in these forms can be used against you by the railroad to damage your case.
Remember that the company official with whom you speak will be called to testify as a witness against you. Keep a copy of this report for your records. Do not sign forms you do not fill out because the supervisor has authority to also fill out these forms on your behalf.
Contact An Attorney Before Giving A Statement
The claim agent of the railroad is not your friend. He or she is paid to save the company money that it rightfully owes the injured worker.
The claim agent will insist upon taking a statement, direct the employee to company doctors for evaluation and treatment. They will often do their best to discourage the employee from consulting with a Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) attorney.
The claim agent is trained to ask questions in such a manner that distorts the actual cause of the injury and makes it appear to be the result of the injured employee’s actions. A favorite tactic is to offer wage continuation or advances while the employee is off injured. If an employee accepts an advance and signs a general release to get the money, he may have actually signed away his claim against the railroad.
The claim agent advances money to the injured employee to keep him under his control and to prevent the worker from adequately protecting his rights by consulting with an FELA attorney. However, should you accept an advance, you are not obligated to settle with the claim agent or accept what he offers. You are still free to consult with an FELA attorney.
Remember, the railroad employs claim agents, attorneys, investigators, and doctors to defeat or minimize injury claims. Railroad workers are at a disadvantage when dealing individually with the railroad.
It is important to consult with an FELA attorney. Contact Kujawski & Associates LLC, at 800-624-4571 when an injury occurs.
Keep Complete And Accurate Records
Keep a detailed chronology of the injury and treatment, listing names and addresses of all doctors, hospitals and clinics, as well as all witnesses to your injury. Additionally, keep track of all lost time and estimated lost wages.
Hire An Experienced Attorney Who Will Protect Your Rights
It is highly important to hire or at least consult with an attorney who is experienced in handling FELA claims of injured workers. Statistics from the early 1990s indicate only 15 percent of injured workers were represented by attorneys. Those 15 percent were awarded 85 percent of the total compensation paid by the railroads to injured railroad workers.
Obviously, the claim agent does save the railroad large amounts of money by keeping injured railroad workers away from FELA attorneys. Kujawski & Associates LLC, has a proven record in FELA injuries.