The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (“FELA”) protects railroad employees who are injured due to the railroad’s negligence. Under the FELA, the railroad is still liable even if it is only slightly negligent, even if the employee assumed the risk of their injuries, and even if the employee’s own negligence contributed to their injuries.
The benefits of the FELA aren’t automatic, the employee still has to prove their case that the railroad was negligent, and that they suffered harm.We have handled cases under almost every conceivable factual situation and have seen what makes a case successful.So, we have decided to come up with some things an injured railroader can do to help make sure they recover the appropriate damages as the result of their injuries.
10 Tips To Improve the Value of Your FELA Case
Here are 10 proven ways for railroad employees to make their FELA claims more valuable:
- Take pictures – take pictures of the effects of your injury.This will help show how significant your injury is.
- Do not take video with audio – although it might seem helpful to narrate a video about your injury, your statements in the video will be used against you later.A video without audio showing the injury itself is just fine.
- Tell your doctors – when you get treated for your injury, explain to the doctors exactly how it happened, and that it happened at work.
- Ask your co-workers – did someone see the injury happen? Has anyone previously reported to the railroad the dangerous condition that injured you? These witnesses can be very helpful to your case.
- Stay off social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, these are your enemies. They make money by sharing the details of your life with advertisers. Don’t let them ruin your FELA case by sharing the details of your life with the railroad. The railroad will try to use any picture or statement you make against you.
- Do your best to get back to work – everyone knows the best outcome for you is to get better and get back on the job. If your injury precludes you from railroad work, do your best to seek other employment that you are qualified for. FELA cases are always best for those who do their best to help themselves.
- But follow your doctor’s orders – if you really can’t work, then you can’t work, and you should always follow all of your doctor’s orders, a right protected under the FRSA Whistleblower law.
- Tell the railroad it was at fault – your employer will likely make you fill out a written statement about your injury.It will include a space to describe who was at fault. If the railroad was at fault, say so on the form.
- But don’t give a recorded statement – If a railroad claims agent calls you to record an oral statement about your injury, tell them to take a hike (nicely). You don’t have to give the statement, and the railroad only wants to use the statement against you.
- You guessed it – call a lawyer! The FELA is a murky federal statute with many twists and turns; you don’t want to try to navigate it on your own. Only lawyers experienced in FELA litigation will be able to help you with the sensitive matter and make the railroad responsible for the injury it caused.
If you should have any questions regarding a potential railroad injury case, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a consultation. Please visit our website at BermanAndDarby.com and download our railroad worker smart phone app. You can also reach us at 800-248-FELA.