Railroad Worker Injury
Know Your Legal Rights
Know your legal rights under the Federal Employer's Liability Act and Federal Safety statutes in order to protect yourself and your family if an on-the-job injury occurs.
The Railroad Industry
In 1908 extreme unsafe working conditions existed on the U.S. railroads, which were routinely responsible for the serious injuries and deaths of its workers. At the urging of rail unions U.S. Congress passed the Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA).
At that time, there were no effective laws which protected injured rail workers. Over the years, the law was expanded to include safety statues, such as the Federal Safety Appliance Act, and the Federal Locomotive Inspection Act. Additionally, under the Rail Safety Act of 1970, the Federal Railroad Administration passed safety regulations covering all aspects of railroading.
It is important to note that under the FELA, an injured worker must prove negligence (fault) and medical causation to recover damages. Depending on the facts, the railroad can argue that the rail worker contributed to his or her injuries. If, however, a safety regulation, such as a defective seat, contributes in any way to the worker's injury, the worker cannot be held at fault.
The laws and statues protecting railroad workers have been litigated, interpreted and applied for over 100 years. Numerous State and Federal courts have issued over 850 decisions dealing with those cases. In many instances, the average lawyer is not even familiar with those laws or the court's decisions interpreting them. You should not try to resolve the case yourself or hire a lawyer who is not familiar with the FELA and the law developed by the courts. If you want to protect your rights under the FELA, hire an experienced FELA law firm such as Collins & Collins Attorneys.
Collins & Collins Attorneys, can unequivocally state that we: (1) understand the FELA and railroad injury law; (2) know the railroad corporate culture and attitude towards their workers (3) are thoroughly familiar with railroad claims and procedures as they relate to injured workers. Collins & Collins has extensive trial and appellate experience. We are also experienced in Railroad Retirement Disability, as well as railroad medical requirements, including return to work physicals and/or medical disqualifications. In fact, Don Collins has successfully argued total and permanent disability cases in at least 5 different states, in front of the Railroad Retirement Board's Administrative Law Judges.
It is safe to say that over the last forty plus years, Collins & Collins Attorneys has dealt with almost every issue involved in railroad injury litigation and has represented hundreds of injured railroad workers from every craft through the Country, on most of the major railroads. The mission at Collins & Collins Attorneys, is to obtain the best possible settlement or verdict for any work-related injury and to protect and guide you through the whole process involved with an "on duty" injury or occupational work-related injury.
What To Do When Injured
REPORT ALL INJURIES
No rail worker goes to work to get injured. In most cases, the injury is due to an unsafe equipment or other negligent acts by railroad. Do not be afraid to fill out an accident report and list the cause of your injury and what the railroad did wrong. If you are not feeling well enough to fill out the report, tell your supervisor that you will fill it out as soon as you get medical attention. Do not be influenced and/or intimidated by a raod foreman, trainmaster or other company official who wants to eliminate the company responsibility by having you state, "no one was at fault" or convince you that the injury is "non-reportable". Be careful when giving statements. If in doubt, feel free to call Collins & Collins Attorneys, toll free at 1-800-933-8195 or Don Collins at 716-998-0788 to discuss any issues connected with filling out the Accident Report and/or statements to company officials. Remember, the claim agent is working to protect the railroad's interest. He or she is not a company offical and is also not part of the Operating Department. You DO NOT have to talk to the claim agent or anyone in the Claims Department. You may, however, have to file an Injury Report depending on the circumstances and rules of the Operating Department.
Keep daily records of your: (1) lost wages (2) doctor expenses (3) prescription and medical expenses
It is also important to keep daily log of your medical treatment and recovery. Because your injuries may take a long time to heal, a daily log of your pain and suffering, your problems, such as walking, bathing and general care, along with missing social and family affairs vacations, etc. is worth keeping. Do not discuss these issues with anyone except your lawyer. Be careful when speaking to your doctor, as well as your therapist or treating medical personnel. Often times, they do not record exactly what you say, and often write "patient says he is doing great today", when in fact you are suffering serious pain and you experience 1 good day followed by 6 bad days. Be careful when giving medical history to your doctors.