The railroad is a dangerous place to work. According to the Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Safety Analysis, in 2007, there were over 5,000 accidents or incidents involving railroad employees on duty, causing 16 deaths and thousands of injuries. There are countless ways for a railroad employee to get hurt, including heavy objects, faulty equipment, slips and falls, exposure to harmful substances, repetitive motion disorders, and more. With so many risk factors, if you are a railroad worker, it is important for you to know your rights and what to do if you are ever injured on the job.
Seek Immediate Medical Care
If or when you are injured while working, one of the first steps you should take is to immediately seek out medical care. There are several reasons for doing so. Most obvious is the fact that injuries are almost always best treated as quickly as possible. Any delay in medical attention can result in complications, worsening of symptoms, and longer-lasting effects on your well-being. There is also a legal reason to get medical care quickly. If your injury claim goes to court, railroad companies may try to use any delay in seeking medical attention as evidence that your injury was either not serious or did not occur while you were on the job, thereby limiting their liability in the case.
File an Accident Report
An accident report is the first and last piece of paperwork you should provide to your employer before you speak with a lawyer. Why? First of all, you will need an accident report as evidence to prove what happened, when it happened, and the circumstances at the time of the accident. Second, a good accident report also provides you a place to identify potential witnesses who may be able to support your claims, as well as bring a dangerous or hazardous situation to light to prevent others from getting hurt. A timely accident report prevents the railroad company from arguing that you are falsifying your claim, exaggerating the incident, or that you were injured while off-duty.
Don't Be Intimidated
Railroad companies are interested in keeping the number of injury claims filed against them to a minimum, and have been known to use unscrupulous methods to do so. If you have been injured, remember that you have rights under the law, and don't be intimidated by your employer. Do not make statements or sign paperwork other than your accident report. Don't allow railroad representatives to accompany you to the doctor or hospital, or provide any information about your medical care - they may try to use this against you in court. One common tactic is to persuade you into giving multiple accounts of the accident, and then use the inevitable inconsistencies to discredit you if the case goes to trial.
Consider Hiring a Lawyer
The truth is that railroad companies have many lawyers working for them, whose goal is to stop you from making a successful injury claim. The company also has much more experience and knowledge at their disposal than you do. To avoid making a costly mistake or being confused by your employer's tricks, consider hiring your own lawyer. Not only will you get advice about your case, but you will also get protection from any unscrupulous tactics that your employer may or may not use.
To learn more about the rights of injured railroad workers, visit the website of our experienced FELA lawyers at http://www.felalawsuitattorney.com .