Seek medical help. Consult your own doctor or visit the emergency room as soon as possible. A doctor can properly diagnose:
- Repetitive stress injuries like injuries of the back and neck, shoulders, and knees
- Respiratory injuries resulting from inhaled diesel exhaust, welding fumes, chemical and asbestos exposure
At the hospital: Give the doctor your health insurance card.
- Tell the doctor how you were hurt.
- The railroad does not have the right to be present.
- Report the injury to your supervisor.
- Complete and turn in a personal injury report as soon as possible. Keep a copy.
- Keep in mind that in order to recover for your injuries you have to prove the railroad did something wrong.
Filling out the personal injury report. When you fill out a PI report, the most important thing to remember is that most railroads have designed their forms in a confusing way to try and hurt your FELA case. When you add to the confusion and stress of an injury the fact that you have to fill out a PI report right away, often in the supervisor’s office, it can be very difficult to fill out the form correctly.
Keep in mind, in order to have an FELA case, you must prove the railroad was at fault. Any fault on your part decreases or can eliminate the amount of your recovery. Examples of PI reports are included here:
Because it is so confusing and stressful to fill out a PI, it is always best to talk to an attorney FIRST, and bring your local chairman with you to help and be a witness.
Our advice to clients:
- NEVER give a recorded statement or interview.
- DO NOT admit fault.
- Keep a list of witnesses, tools or equipment involved.
- Keep copies of your medical bills.
- Follow the union’s recommendations to protect your job security.
- Do not disregard the railroad’s letters asking for medical information – turn them over to your attorney.
- If you are off work, keep in mind the railroad may be conducting surveillance on you.
- You have 3 years to file a lawsuit.
- At any time, contact our office (314)-772-0010 for a free consultation on your rights.