Do's and Don'ts for Injured Railroad Workers
Are you a railroad employee that has been injured on the job? If so, you should seek legal representation as soon as possible. In the meantime, follow this list of Do's and Don'ts in order to protect your claim.
DO notify the railroad that you were hurt!You should complete your railroad's Personal Injury Report as soon as possible.Be aware that all of the Class I Railroads (and many if not all of the smaller railroads) have short time periods in which an employee must complete this report. The report should be completed fully and honestly. If you are unsure of how to answer some of the questions in the report, contact an attorney. Make sure that you keep a copy of the report.
Not only does a paper trail of your injury assist in proving your personal injury case under the FELA, it also affords you certain protections under the Federal Rail Safety Act. The railroad may NOT terminate, demote, suspend, or otherwise discriminate against you IN ANY WAY if that discrimination is based in whole or in part on you notifying the railroad of a work-related personal injury.
While you should complete the Personal Injury Report, you should NOT give a written or recorded statement to the railroad.
DO seek medical treatment!See a doctor of your choice who you feel confident will act in your best interest. While the railroad may ask you to see a doctor that they recommend, you are under no obligation to follow that request. And just as with notifying the railroad about your injury (above), seeking medical treatment for a work related injury or illness affords you certain whistleblower protection under the Federal Rail Safety Act, and the railroad may NOT delay or interfere with that treatment.
Give your medical team the full story of your injury. Let your medical team know that you are NOT covered by workers' compensation and they should NOT allow railroad officers to speak to you or gain any information about your treatment or injury.
DON'T sign any railroad form other than the PI report!This includes medical authorizations, statements and (most importantly) releases. From the moment it learns about your injury, the railroad will mobilize a team of lawyers, claims agents, investigators, and officers to protect its interests. Make sure you have experienced team protecting YOUR interests.