The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) was founded in 1863 and is North America’s oldest rail union. According to the BLET’s mission statement, the union “exists to promote and protect the rights, interests, and safety of its members through solidarity, aggressive representation, and education.” There are approximately 57,000 members in the BLET who work for the nation’s railroads as locomotive engineers, conductors, brakemen, switchmen and hostlers.
The law firm of Doran and Murphy has extensive experience in representing BLET members. Importantly, the BLET no longer has a formal designated legal counsel program but does recommend that injured BLET members retain lawyers who are members of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys (ARLA). Partner Christopher Murphy is a proud and longstanding member of ARLA who has represented injured railroad workers all over the country. He understands the importance of educating railroad workers about their rights under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) to ensure they get the protection that they deserve.
Unlike other worker compensation statutes that cover workers who are injured on the job, the FELA requires that railroad workers prove that their railroad employer was negligent before any compensation is owed. This negligence requirement places railroads and workers in an adversarial position and that is why it is so important for workers to get experienced counsel after an injury. Ensuring that their lawyer is an ARLA member is one way to ensure that an injured railroad worker is getting the representation that they need and deserve. An experienced FELA attorney will tell you that if you are injured, you should:
- Report your injury as soon as possible and complete an injury report, preferably with help of a local union chairperson
- Seek medical attention right away
- Decline to allow railroad management in the examining room with the doctor
- Make a list of all witnesses to the incident
- Remember that you are under no obligation to provide statement to the claim agent
- Contact an experienced lawyer so that important evidence can be preserved.
If you have been injured at work, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible from competent legal counsel. The attorneys at Doran & Murphy are ready to help you obtain the compensation you deserve and can be reached any time.