The steps you take after an injury are vital to how effective your claim will be and the type of damages you are entitled to. It is very important that you be knowledgeable about your legal rights and the laws protecting you, in order to receive the compensation you are entitled to. The accident checklist below provides some basic steps.
Get the best medical care you can through your own doctors. You are not required to receive treatment from doctors suggested by the railroad.
Yes, although doctors may not be aware of this provision in the FELA. You should inform your doctors that unlike workers’ compensation cases, they are not required to share any information about your case with your employer. We have a sample letter you can give to your doctor to explain this.
FELA stands for the Federal Employers’ Liability Act. The U.S. Congress enacted this law in 1908 specifically to protect railroad workers who are injured or disabled while on the job.
The FELA provides more remedies than traditional workers’ comp. Workers’ compensation benefits tend to be fixed and arbitrary, and they may under-compensate injured workers. However, under the FELA, an injured railroad worker can recover all of the damages traditionally associated with a law suit, including all of his or her lost wages and benefits, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
The answers you provide to questions on the PIR can affect your claim. It is important to have knowledge of the issues involved. See our article on accident reports and the sample accident report.
No. You are not required to make any statements other than the PIR. It is important to consult with an experienced FELA lawyer or union representative before making any statements.
This kind of activity is illegal. You should report it to your union representative and your attorney. If there are witnesses, make sure you write down their names and how to contact them.
Under FELA you have three years to file suit or settle your claim, however there are complexities to statutes of limitations beyond the FELA.
Yes, however with these types of injuries it is very important to have a knowledge and understanding of the statutes of limitations. In short, the three-year statute of limitations begins when the employee knew or reasonably should have known that they suffered a cumulative trauma disorder related to their work. It is important to contact an attorney as early as possible to make sure your claim remains valid.
If you are injured it is always a good idea to consult with a lawyer. YJB will consult with you free of charge to determine whether a lawyer will be needed to handle your case.
Choosing the right lawyer can make the difference in successful claims. It is important to choose a lawyer who knows the FELA and has the strength and resources to bring your claim to trial when necessary. Railroad claims agents and railroad attorneys know which lawyers and which law firms go to trial. They salivate to get cases from lawyers who have seldom or never tried FELA cases in Court. The following questions should help you choose.
The FELA has a provision called “contributory negligence” which means that the railroad is liable even if they are only 1% responsible for the injury. If the case goes to a trial a jury decides the percentage of liability for the employee and the railroad. The claim is paid out according to that percentage. If a jury awards $100,000 and they determine that you are 20% responsible for your own injury then $20,000 will be deducted from your damages.
If you are injured you are entitled to recover compensatory damages. These include, past and future lost earnings, medical expenses, decreased earning power, and past and future pain and suffering.