As stated in past Straight Track articles, it is best to prepare in case of the unfortunate circumstance of having an on-the-job injury. As there are new hire railroad workers out there and some who haven’t gotten the news, I would like to remind you again that the railroads already have a system in place as to how to respond if you claim an injury while on duty. Accordingly, YOU need to know what to expect if injured at work and how to complete an on-the-job injury report to protect yourself and your family.
1. RAILROAD’S NEGLIGENCE
When filling out the accident report, be sure to identify the unsafe condition(s) or defective equipment on the report. Also, report if improper training or work procedures were in any way responsible in causing your injury. Never be coerced into writing that you should have done the work in a different manner. You did it as you were trained or directed.
2. GET A COPY OF YOUR INJURY REPORT
After filling out the injury report, get a copy for your records. From that point forward, you have to be mindful of and consistent with what you wrote in that report. Be brief in any questioning and do not embellish on what you wrote as you may harm your claim in doing so.
3. STATEMENT TO CLAIM AGENT
Give NO statement to anyone without first talking to Hoey & Farina. If you are pressured or threatened with losing your job, please refer back to your accident report in answering any further questions.
4. DOCTOR-PATIENT PRIVILEGE
At all times when you are getting medical attention, advise the hospital that the railroad management is not to be present during your treatment. Be sure to tell the treating medical staff that you want your doctor-patient privilege protected.
5. TREAT WITH YOUR OWN DOCTOR
You may be required to see the company doctor, but only for an examination. Seek your own doctor for treatment and do this as soon as possible. And, as equally important, when seeing your doctor, report to him what caused your injury so it can be noted in your medical records.
6. MEDICAL CASE MANAGEMENT WORKER
The railroad may hire a case worker to follow your medical. It is always best to contact Hoey & Farina on how to establish this relationship and to learn to what extremes this person may go to in reporting your medical information to the railroad.
7. U.S. RAILROAD RETIREMENT BENEFITS
Immediately contact your local U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) office to start your benefits. If you delay, you may be penalized for late filing.
8. SUPPLEMENTAL BENEFITS
Contact the provider of supplemental benefits that you may have. The providers also may have time periods in which you are required to file.