THE EYE OF THE TIGER
Three years ago the U.S. Open golf championship was played at Olympia Fields Country Club near Chicago. Dillon Hoey was a member of Olympia Fields and prior to his death he made arrangements for a grand finale at the event. As a guest of Dillon, an old friend (who happens to be a carman) and I enjoyed a day watching one of the practice rounds. It was about mid-day after having walked the course that we found ourselves back at the putting green where the players were working on their short game. We noticed a commotion coming from the clubhouse. A throng of people were following Tiger Woods as he approached the putting green. To our delight, Tiger came to our side of the green and was within 10 feet of my friend and me. I will always remember what I saw that day.
Tiger proceeded, with the assistance of his caddy - that Steve guy - to drop six balls on the green. He next lined up eight foot putts, no slopes, no bend, and no drop – just a flat surface putt. As he putted the six balls, his caddy would then throw the balls back to Tiger. Only whispers and the click of cameras is what the crowd produced. Six putts, eight feet long, and the caddy would send the balls back to Tiger, time and time again. I could say that my excitement was pretty intense in watching their routine. But as Tiger and that Steve guy repeated this straight eight foot putting drill, it turned into something I couldn't believe. There was Tiger Woods, the best professional golfer today, repeating this routine for a grueling 30 minutes in which his conversation with his caddy was probably all of four sentences.
ALL THAT PRACTICE
I couldn't help but wonder why Tiger was giving so much effort over a straight eight foot putt. Could it be that a putt like that would change a bogey to a par, or a par to a birdie? Or, could it be that a putt just like the one he worked on might win the tournament? Every golfer wants to make the winning putt. Those that do are the ones who are prepared - like Tiger. "Be prepared" is key!
At railroad union meetings and in our free seminars, I have frequently discussed what to do if you suffer a work injury. If you heard it once, you've heard it twice. You probably even thought, "…Why do I need to hear this again, and again, and again?" For railroaders, knowing what to do when a on-the-job injury occurs is like making the winning putt. You are no more guaranteed financial recovery from the railroad just because of a work injury, than Tiger Wood is guaranteed a win because he is Tiger Woods. You have to be prepared. You have to know what to do and what to say. Do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, "miss that putt" and you've lost the game. If you've practiced, though, you'll make that winning putt.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Let's practice some more by reviewing the talking points on the back of Hoey & Farina's business cards which are passed out at the railroad union meetings and seminars.
Put unsafe conditions / defective equipment on railroad injury report.
It is important to remember that the FELA (Federal Employers' Liability Act), which you are covered under and not Workers' Compensation, is a fault based law. If you do not prove fault by the railroad, you may to some degree jeopardize your claim.
Read railroad injury report before signing and obtain a copy.
If you are on any prescription medications, do not fill out the report (or give any statements). Do not let someone else fill the report out for you.
Give NO statements to claim agent before talking to Hoey & Farina.
It is imperative that you get legal advice before giving a statement to the claim agent. Also, do not agree to a tape recorded session where the claim agent asks you questions. That is an interview not a statement.
See company doctor if required, but seek TREATMENT with your own doctor(s) ASAP.
You are required to report to company doctors when requested to do so. But, make it clear to them that you are there only for an exam – that all medical aspects of treatment will be determined by doctors of your choice.
Tell all doctor(s) of unsafe conditions / defective equipment.
What caused your injury needs to be medically documented.
Make sure your doctor knows what unsafe condition or defective equipment caused your injury and notes it in your records.
Ask all doctors not to discuss your condition with any railroad representative without your prior consent.
It should also be known that you have the right to complete medical privacy, and that no railroad company officials shall be present when you are receiving medical care. That also includes your medical treatment in the ER.
THAT WONDERFUL SINKING FEELING
Most of us will probably never know what it feels like to sink a putt like Tiger Woods. But we can know how it feels to have practicing pay off. Go over these simple steps again and again until you know them by heart. Attend your local railroad union meetings and free seminars when they are sponsored in your area. Watch the Don't Get Railroaded video again. Make sure your family and friends know what to do, too, if you suffer a work injury. Practice till it becomes second nature and you are prepared.
If you would like to schedule a free seminar in your area, call Hoey & Farina at 1-888-425-1212.