Working on a railroad is inherently dangerous. No matter how safety conscious you are, you can still end up hurt. Unfortunately, obtaining benefits and compensation under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) isn’t always easy.
Unlike workers’ compensation, you only qualify for FELA benefits if you show that your employer was somehow negligent. The moment you’re injured and file a claim, the railroad company and its insurers are going to step into action and seek to limit your options. That’s why it’s important to remember these tips:
- Get medical help. Your health is your top priority, so don’t worry about your boss’s reaction.
- File an injury report. This is where you have a chance to document the conditions that led to your accident, so it’s important to be as clear and detailed as possible.
- Record information about witnesses. Get names, addresses and phone numbers. Witness testimony may become important in the future.
- Find your own physician. If you saw the company doctor immediately after your injury, that’s fine, but don’t rely on them for treatment. If you do, you may find yourself at the mercy of a “pro-railroad” doctor who will downplay your injuries.
- Don’t admit fault to anyone. Even if you’re second-guessing every move you made before the accident, don’t accept blame for your injuries. The railroad could seize on any statement you make that indicates responsibility and use it to try to deny your claim.
Finally, contact an attorney with FELA claim experience. It won’t take long before the railroad has its legal team in action, so you need to make sure that someone’s there to protect your interests as well.