What To Do If You're Injured

It is important to focus on your injury in the moments and days after the injury occurs. Cases can be won or lost depending on your response. If you can't follow these procedures, ask someone close to you to help out.

Report the injury. After you are hurt, is it crucial that you report the accident to your supervisor immediately and fill out the injury report form, if you are able. Include all the details of the accident: how it happened and any contributory factors. The information you provide at this stage will be useful to you later.

It is important to know the railroad company's rules about medical leave of absence. Many railroad companies require that you renew your medical leave of absence every 30 days. If you fail to do this, you may be dismissed from service.

Get medical help. If you are injured on the job, a trip to the emergency room may be necessary. It is OK to accept the employer's medical recommendations at the time of the accident. Beyond this point, however, you should seek evaluation and care from a doctor of your own choosing. This is not a good time to be strong and silent. Describe your injuries in detail, the pain you are suffering and your concerns about recovery.

Start keeping your own records. Keep copies of medical records, bills and any other related papers. Make a list of the problems you are having: how bad the injury seems to be and how the injury is affecting your work and your personal life. If there were witnesses to the railroad injury, include their names and numbers in your log.

Track your down time. Write down every date you are unable to work, the day of the accident itself and subsequent days, including time missed for doctor visits and therapy sessions.

Contact your union. Your representative will need to know what happened, how you are doing and what you need from him or her. Your rep may recommend that you hire an attorney.

Insist on your rights under FELA. Many short-line railroads maintain workers' compensation coverage as a kind of dodge. If you are hurt, your employer may recommend the lower coverage levels of workers' comp over the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), on the basis that it is not involved in interstate commerce.

We can insist on FELA coverage for you. FELA is much preferable to workers' compensation because it doesn't follow fixed compensation rates and is uniformly administered across the U.S. In Montana, for example, loss of a leg entitles you to 66 2/3 percent of your average wages for 200 weeks.

Now do you know what to do if you're injured? You call Bremseth Law Firm in Minnetonka, Minnesota, at 952-475-2800. We're on the list of union-approved injury lawyers. We list this step last, but the sooner you have a reliable FELA lawyer on your side, the fewer mistakes will be made and the stronger your case will be.