The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) protects railroad worker who are injured on the job. The events that occur immediately after any workplace injury are often the most critical to the rights of the injured employee, and claims under FELA are no different.
If you or a loved one have been injured while employed as a railroad worker, it’s important that you take certain steps and precautions after the incident to ensure that your rights to compensation under FELA aren’t compromised. For more information on the timeline of a FELA claim, see FindLaw's Chronology of a FELA Claim.
Immediately After The Injury
Employer's Injury Report
Immediately report the injury to your supervisor and complete an injury report form, to the extent that your injuries allow you to do so. It’s important that you be as thorough and accurate as possible in providing information about your injuries, including all possible causes, factors, and conditions that may have contributed to the incident. This document will most likely come into play later in your claim.
Medical Attention and Treatment
Your employer will most likely ensure that you receive immediate medical attention and treatment, especially in emergency situations. Once you’ve received any necessary initial medical treatment, you should seek an independent medical evaluation and any additional treatment from your own doctor. Be as honest and open as possible with your doctor as to any pain or difficulties you are experiencing as a result of the incident. Be sure to keep copies of any medical records, bills, and other documents related to your medical care.
Pursuing Your FELA Claim
Personal Injury Report
In addition to the report made to your employer, make a separate report for your own use that describes the accident and your injuries in as much detail as possible. This report will be useful for your attorney, if you choose to hire one. In addition to the information you should provide in the report made to your employer, in your own personal report, be sure to describe the nature and extent of your injuries and the impact your injuries have had on both your work and personal life. Note also the names of anyone who may have witnessed the incident.
Keep Track Of Time Missed At Work
Track all time lost from work as a result of your injuries. This should include all work missed on the day of the incident, time during which you were unable to work because of the injury and any rehabilitation processes, and any work time missed due to follow-up medical appointments.
Contact Your Union Representative
As necessary, get in contact with a representative of your union and inform them of the incident and your injuries.
Get Your Case Evaluated for Free
As soon as possible after your injuries, consult with an experienced attorney, who can help ensure that your rights are protected at all stages of your FELA claim. It’s especially important that you meet with an attorney before the railroad company holds any type of hearing regarding safety and liability issues arising from the incident, as these proceedings can seriously affect your case. A great first step is to have an attorney with FELA claim experience do a free evaluation of your case.
Contact a qualified workers' compensation attorney to make sure your rights are protected.