The first thing that railroad workers need to understand about the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) when it comes to workplace injuries is that this act is quite different compared to Worker’s Compensation. FELA allows for full recovery of damages due to a negligent act of the railroad company or a co-worker. Because of this, railroad companies try their best to hide their negligence and to prevent you from collecting evidence of your injuries that can be used in a FELA case. Don’t buckle under the pressure – contact a professional lawyer with experience in FELA cases to help you claim compensation for the damages that you suffered.
Medical care first
It’s very important that you seek medical care immediately and without the interference of your employer to ensure that the medical care you receive only pertains to your workplace injury and is also unbiased. Any prescriptions, X-rays etc. as well as lost time means that your employer need to report your accident to the Federal Government, and as you can imagine, your employer will be very reluctant to do so.
If you’re planning on filing a FELA complaint you have to be very specific when you tell your doctor about how you sustained your injury. Be sure to mention any faulty equipment or dangerous working environments when describing the incident. Your doctor can serve as a medical witness, but can only give accurate information if you provide it. In follow-up visits, be very specific about any symptoms you are still experiencing. Tell your doctor about the pain in your knee when your sit down, or the pain in your back when you wake up in the morning. This will help your doctor to set up an accurate treatment plan and will also help your doctor to describe the full extent of your injuries when called upon as a medical witness.
- Witnesses who knew about the unsafe working conditions
- Witnesses who knew about any complaints filed about the unsafe conditions
- Any persons you have talked to about the incident other than company officials
- Any person who have knowledge of the car or equipment that you worked with
- Any person with experience in your specific job
- Social contacts who can contest that you are behaving in a way that indicates personal suffering
Use a daily diary to collect evidence
Write down every detail of your day in a daily diary. This will give you ample information on how your work was affected by your injury, how much income you lost due to lost work days, your employer’s attitude towards you after the incident and so forth. The information in your diary will be very useful when preparing your FELA case.
Don’t fill out the incident report before you’ve received medical attention. Make sure that you have a clear mind when you fill out the form so that you don’t miss any details that may prove the negligence of your employer. If your employer fills out the form on your behalf, be sure that you are of sound mind when you read it and only sign if you’re absolutely certain that the information on the form is correct.
The purpose of this report is to determine whether the accident was due to negligence. This form bombards you with confusing questions and often results in proving that you were working in a safe environment and that the employer was not at fault. Be very careful when you fill out the report and take your time to make sure that you understand what is meant by each question if you want to file and win a FELA case.
Violation of safety acts
By law, railroad companies need to abide by the specifications of two acts to ensure that they have created a safe working environment: the Locomotive Inspection Act and the Federal Safety Inspection Act. If your employer violated any of these acts, it serves as proof that they were definitely at fault. Consult a lawyer who is familiar with FELA to help you prove whether your employer violated these laws.
Be sure that your lawyer is familiar with FELA cases
Many personal injury lawyers claim that they handle FELA cases, but in truth have limited experience in this matter. Ask your law firm whether they have dealt with FELA cases before, how long they have been taking care of FELA cases, and whether they have won any of these cases.
Linden Law specializes in FELA cases and you can trust our lawyers to give you the legal advice and services that you need to win your FELA case.