The railroad in order to deflect negligence immediately after an accident involving an injury has its claim agents and attorneys begin protecting its interests – not the injured railroader’s.
1. Obtain the very best medical care that you can through your own doctors.
2. Contact legal counsel and union officials for additional guidance.
3. Be sure the accident has been reported to the railroad and union.
4. Write down names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident or knows about the work conditions.
5. Keep records of any out-of-pocket expenses due to the accident.
6. If you have a disability insurance policy, contact the insurance company to begin receiving payments.
7. Apply to the Railroad Retirement Board for sickness benefits.
8. Do not give a recorded or written statement to a claim agent or anyone else until you have had an opportunity to discuss the matter with your FELA lawyer or union officials.
9. Do not sign a medical release of information to the railroad without first getting legal advice.
The claim agent takes witness statements, investigates the railroad accident scene / equipment, and reviews the facts. The claim agent may even attempt to take the injured railroader’s statement at the hospital, while medicated – again, to minimize the railroad’s liability and maximize the worker’s responsibility. The railroad claim agent might also attempt to stop the injured worker from exercising his right to choose treating physician(s) and push the injured railroader to treat with a company doctor who is loyal to the railroad.