Does Geography Matter when Filing a FELA Claim?

Tips for Winning Your FELA Case

If you are a railroad employee who has been injured on the job, you may already be facing a whole host of people from the railroad’s legal team, trying to contact you—medical staff, attorneys, managers, and claim agents. You may be unsure of what to do next.

You may also be familiar with the 1908 law, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), which was created to protect railroad employees when they are injured due to the railroad’s negligence.

FELA is unique because if the railroad is even partially negligent for your injury, then they will still be found liable in the case. Even still, a railroad employee still must prove that the railroad is liable for his injury.

To successfully win your FELA case, here are a few tips that can help.

  1. Take pictures of your injury. Your pictures should show how this injury is affecting your daily life, which will show the severity and seriousness of your injury.
  2. Take video without audio. The point of the video is to add to the evidence of how much your injury is affecting you. Unfortunately, if you do record this video with audio, whatever you say in the video may be used against you in court.
  3. Take photos of the unsafe work conditions. Make sure you do this before the accident site changes, because many times, the railroad company will quickly go and correct the issue that caused your injuries. When this occurs, then it’ll be more difficult to prove your case because the railroad’s legal department can state that the work conditions were safe before you had time to document it.
  4. Find witnesses and get their contact information. Did any of your coworkers see what happened to you? Did anyone else report the unsafe work conditions before your accident? Get a list of witnesses and collect the following contact information: name, home address, and phone number. This will be helpful if any witnesses end up moving on to another job or move away.
  5. Fill out an accident report as soon as you are able. It’s required for you to fill out an injury report immediately after your accident. Not only is this a rule, but it also places you at work at the time of your injury instead of at home or somewhere else. This is important because unless you are being taken to the hospital by an ambulance, then the railroad cannot claim that you were injured elsewhere.
  6. On the accident report, list any unsafe conditions that you encountered. To make sure your case has some solid evidence, write down any unsafe conditions that you were forced to work under, even if they seem insignificant. These conditions include improper lighting, bad footing, faulty handholds, and trackside vegetation.
  7. Get medical attention immediately. If need be, call an ambulance because the railroad may try to delay you. It’s not only because this will ensure that you get the medical attention that you need for your health, but this will also make sure that you have the documented proof of your injury. Know that it is illegal for the railroad to prevent you from seeking medical treatment for your worksite injury. Also, make sure to follow up with your doctor—not the company doctor. The company doctor really works for the railroad and has the railroads best interests in mind, not yours.
  8. Stay away from any social media. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. The railroad will be looking at your social media posts to see if you are posting anything relevant to your case and use it against you in court.
  9. Secure a FELA lawyer. Because the railroad’s legal team is already on the case as soon as your accident happens, you need to secure your own legal representation. FELA is not a clear cut federal statute. You’ll want to find an experienced FELA attorney who can help find who at fault for your railroad injury.

Contact An Experienced FELA Attorney Today

Have you sustained a railroad injury? Have any questions about your FELA case? Contact Burge & Burge today at 205-251-9000 to learn about how we can help.

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