patient speaking with physician

When you sustain an injury while working on a railroad, the next step you should take is to see a doctor. However, you may wonder if, like workers’ compensation, you must see a doctor approved by the railroad. Many are unfamiliar with the vast differences between workers’ compensation and the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), which protects railroad employees. The following blog explores why you do not need to see the railroad company doctor and how a FELA lawyer can assist if your employer uses unfair tactics to force you to see a physician of their choosing.

What Kind of Injuries Can I Sustain While Employed By a Railroad Company?

Unfortunately, due to the dangerous nature of railroad work, many employees may be susceptible to severe injuries and illnesses.

These injuries and illnesses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Amputations
  • Burns
  • Stress Injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Neck and Spine damage
  • Traumatic Brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Wrongful death
  • Cancer
  • COPD
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis

Am I Required to See the Railroad Company Doctor for Treatment?

When a worker in an office, warehouse, or public service job is injured while on duty, they must adhere to workers’ compensation laws. However, due to the nature of railroad injuries, the federal government enacted laws to help ensure the men and women who work on our nation’s railroads are protected. Workers’ compensation and FELA have drastic differences, including what physician the injured party must see for treatment.

Many doctors employed by or partnered with railroads may not properly diagnose you or run the necessary tests as a means of ensuring they can continue working with the railroad. As such, profits are prioritized over your health and well-being.

Instead, you are allowed to see your own physician. It’s also important to understand that you do not have to relinquish doctor/patient privileges. Though your employer may process the bills, it does not give them the right to speak with the doctor or other physicians to discuss the nature of your injuries or treatment plan. Similarly, they cannot access your medical records or have a representative present while you are being examined.

What Should I Do After I See a Doctor for My Injuries?

Once you have seen a doctor for the injuries you’ve sustained while working for a railroad company, you’ll need to ensure you fill out an injury report. Be sure not to let anyone who works for the railroad complete this form for you, and you list every part of your body that sustained injury.

You may be asked to provide the claims department with a statement. You should not speak with them until you have contacted an experienced FELA attorney.

At Doran & Murphy, our dedicated legal team can help you navigate the process of recovering the compensation you deserve when a negligent railroad leads to your injuries. Unfortunately, some personal injury law firms may be unequipped to handle the complexities of a FELA claim. That’s why our firm’s experience is crucial. Contact us today to learn how we will fight for the compensation you deserve.