Whether you are a ‘new hire’ or an ‘old head’:
- Working on the railroad is inherently dangerous.
In 1908, when the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, the FELA, was passed by U.S. Congress, thousands of workers died each year in railroad accidents.
The FELA resulted in many changes which have dramatically reduced the number of deaths and injuries in the rail industry…but not entirely.
- Your family needs to know what to do if you are injured in a railroad accident.
You have a responsibility to your family as a railroad worker to discuss what your family should do if you are injured at work. To meet your responsibility you must also have a plan in place in case you have a serious injury or lose your life because of a railroad accident.
- Railroad workers are not covered by Worker’s Compensation.
If you are injured on the railroad, you are covered under the FELA. Unlike worker’s compensation, under the FELA you must prove the railroad’s negligence caused your injury or you are not entitled to receive compensation for your injury. Under the FELA, the fact that you are injured while working for the railroad DOES NOT mean you are entitled to a claim for damages against the railroad for your personal injury.
- Unsafe conditions and defective equipment need to be reported to the railroad.
The railroad has a duty to inspect and maintain its equipment and track. Reporting unsafe conditions and/or defective equipment will help improve safety conditions at work and create an important paper trail to establish the railroad’s negligence in case you or a fellow railroader is injured at work.
- Your railroad injury must be reported to the railroad.
The railroad may try to discourage you from filing a personal injury report. The railroad may also ask you to take a ‘wait and see’ approach before filing an injury claim.
If you file an injury report, the railroad is required to file a report with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). No injury report on file or a late injury report gives the railroad the opportunity to discredit and/or deny that your injury happened at work.
The most important facts for you to know is that if you do not file a railroad accident report, you may be violating your work rules which could jeopardize your employment and your railroad injury claim.
- Federal law states the railroad cannot harass or intimidate you for filing an injury report.
Under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (‘Whistleblower Law’), 49 U.S.C. Section 20109, you have protection from the railroad discharging, suspending or otherwise discriminating against you for reporting your railroad injury.
- You have a right to medical care if injured at work.
Under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (‘Whistleblower Law’), 49 U.S.C. Section 20109, you are protected if the railroad attempts to deny, delay or otherwise interfere with your receiving medical treatment if injured at work. To be protected under the law, you must ask to be taken to the hospital.
- The claim agent works for the railroad and not for you.
It is not the railroad’s claim agent’s goal to maximize your recovery for damages under the FELA.Despite what the claim agent may tell you, the railroad does not pay all your medical bills and the railroad cannot extend the statute of limitations of your FLEA claim.
- You need experienced railroad injury attorneys on your side.
The Federal Employers’ Liability Act, the Federal Railroad Safety Act, the Federal Safety Appliance Act and Locomotive Inspection Act are unique laws passed for the benefit of the injured railroad worker. The litigation involving these unique railroad laws require experienced railroad accident lawyers who know rr law and railroad workers’ rights. Hoey & Farina has a proven track record of successfully litigating cases against the railroads and will protect you and your family after a work injury.
Straight Track provides railroaders and their families with information on subjects such as: what is the FELA, what railroad new hires should know, safety around moving equipment, signs of PTSD, video surveillance, the role of the railroad injury reports, the goal of railroad claim agents, formal investigations, how to prove whistleblower retaliation, protecting against seasonal work place hazards, and more. Visit http://www.hoeyfarina.com/straight-track/leading-way-fela.