When you are injured while working on a railroad, it can cause significant issues even when your injuries fall under the scope of a FELA claim. Unfortunately, if you say the wrong things, you may end up receiving minimal compensation. Instead, it’s best to wait until you’ve retained the assistance of a FELA lawyer to help ensure you receive the full amount of damages you deserve. Keep reading to learn why you should wait to give a statement after suffering a railroad injury at work.
Why Might the Claims Adjuster Want a Statement?
Though the claims adjuster for your railroad company likely seems like they are sympathizing with you and the injuries you sustained, they are looking for every possible means of poking holes in your story.
The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) is only applicable if the railroad company was negligent for the injuries you sustained. If you were hurt because you tripped over your own feet, you would not be eligible for compensation, whereas slipping on negligently placed materials would constitute a FELA claim.
As a result, the claims adjuster will do everything possible to get you to inadvertently admit fault or ask questions that prompt you to confirm that the job site is safe. For example, they may ask questions like, “The lighting was effective, right?” or “The conditions at the site are always safe, right?” Both of these questions are leading and are used to manipulate your answers.
What Should I Do Instead After a Railroad Injury?
It’s essential to note that you are not legally required to give a statement immediately following a railroad injury. You will need to fill out an accident report, but unless your employer requires it, you do not need to speak with the claims team.
If possible, you should postpone speaking with the claims team until you can discuss the details with an attorney. Immediately going to the hospital for treatment is one way to avoid speaking with the team while getting the necessary medical care.
In some instances, the railroad may threaten to fire you if you do not give a recorded statement. If this is the case, you should note that the interview is being conducted under duress, as it will not hold up in court. Similarly, if you do provide a statement, it should be extremely vague and to the point. Do not offer unnecessary details. For example, you can say, “I slipped on an oil patch and hit my head.” However, this method means you may not provide details about the unsafe conditions of the worksite, which can make it harder to prove your employer’s negligence. As such, it is best to consult an attorney first.
When you need legal advice following a railroad injury, Doran & Murphy can help. Our dedicated legal team will carefully examine the details of your case to help you receive the compensation are deserve. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.