One of the many differences between the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) and state workers’ compensation systems is the opportunity for an injured railroad worker to recover for pain and suffering caused by their work-related injury or disease. Often workers’ compensation systems do not allow injured workers to recover for their own experience with pain and suffering – providing only lost income and covering medical expenses. Injured railroad workers, however, are able to pursue compensation for pain and suffering in a FELA claim.
While pain and suffering damages are available, how they are calculated can be tricky. Unlike lost wages that can be determined by multiplying the time a person is unable to work by their wages, pain and suffering is unique to the individual worker’s experience with their injuries. Many injured workers downplay their injuries, or don’t keep track of symptoms and are unable to remember them during their follow-up medical care. No matter how good a FELA lawyer is, he or she will not be able to recover much in the way of pain and suffering for a client who never tells their doctors about what they are experiencing. Attorneys should be the second to know about any complaints about a worker’s injuries. The first to know should be the worker’s physician. Not only does it assist the case, but the doctor might be able to provide medical advice to be able to alleviate the symptoms.
Similarly, injuries impact people differently. Documenting even the run-of-the-mill tasks that you are unable to perform is important. One client might need to get store employees to assist with getting items off shelving that she previously could get on her own; another client might have trouble picking up or playing with his children due to a torn rotator cuff. A client might miss important family celebrations because they are unable to drive, or might feel embarrassed about scarring and their appearance after an injury. Your railroad injury attorney will need to know about any information about these types of post-accident situations.
Pain and suffering damages are unique to each individual client. Contact an experienced FELA attorney today to discuss your particular situation in a confidential, free initial consultation.