What To Do When You’re An Injured Railroad Worker

It is critically important to immediately and persistently concentrate on your injury and take the careful steps to protect yourself and your rights. From the outset, you should know that the second you’re injured, railroad management and claims are building their case against your FELA rights. This is not fair, but it is the reality and it makes taking the right steps critical. What you do in the minutes, hours, and days after you’re injured at work can win or lose your case. If there is any doubt in your mind, you should contact someone you can trust to help guide you. We can always be reached at 763-406-7000 or by email. The following steps should help guide you.

Get Immediate Emergency Medical Care

If you are injured you need to get immediate care. Often, injured railroad workers think an injury will get better quickly or isn’t as serious as it eventually turns out to be. Thus, it is important that you get care quickly and document the extent and seriousness of your injuries. If you don’t, the railroad will later claim you were not seriously injured.

Report The Injury

If you are medically able to do so, you must report your injury to your supervisor as soon as possible. You should have an idea ahead of time of all of the facts surrounding your injury, such as how and why the accident happened, so that you can list them as fully as possible. It is a good idea to contact a union representative or a legal representative if you need help, as the forms can be tricky and the railroad will use even innocent mistakes against you.

If you don’t know them already, you should look up the company rules for applying for medical leave, laying off injured, FMLA leave, and RRB sickness benefits. Knowing these procedures or learning them quickly will help you steer clear of bogus rules violations the railroad might otherwise charge you with and can help protect any whistleblower rights you have under the FRSA.

Get The Best Medical Care You Can

Beyond getting to the emergency room, which can be chaotic, you should take great care in finding the best medical care you can. This will almost always mean not accepting the providers the railroad will try to steer you toward—they are doing this for a reason, because they know certain providers will help them later on. Choosing your own providers is not only your right, but is critical to getting the best care you need and protecting your rights.

With any provider, you should describe the cause of your work-related injury as fully and accurately as possible. Being a tough railroader will hurt your care and your case. Giving the doctors all of the information they need is critical. Often, it is good idea to bring a spouse or family member with to the initial meetings with providers, as they see and remember much more than someone who is dealing with a potentially career-ending injury.

Know Your Rights Under FELA

At the outset, many medical providers do not know or understand that railroad workers do not have workers’ compensation, but rather their sole means of compensation is through FELA. What this means is that they believe they must share your private medical information with the railroad and consult with them for your treatment plans and return-to-work. Historically, this has led to widespread interference from railroads and violations of injured workers’ rights. Make sure that your providers understand that they should not be sharing your private information with outside sources.

You should also begin keeping all accident and injury related documents and pictures. Start a witness list. Be careful when talking to railroad management or claims—or better yet, don’t unless you need to. Start keeping a calendar or journal of your time and appointments. Six months later, you will forget much of what you are going through right now, journals, pictures, and calendars are critical for documenting what you’re going through and will help later on. This is especially true for injuries such as concussions/TBI, herniated discs, and other injuries that you cannot see.

Get FELA Representation

Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm has experienced attorneys with the skills and drive necessary to fight against railroads, protect your rights, and prove that your railroad injury was caused by a negligent railroad carrier. Because no two cases are alike, we specifically tailor our legal representation to give each and every client specialized legal to the specific facts of their claim and will not stop until justice is achieved. We are 100% dedicated to every client we take on, no matter how big or small the case. We handle each case with care and commitment to getting you the compensation you need to get back to life as you know it. Contact us at Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm to schedule an initial consultation with FELA railroad injury attorney today.