When you are injured while fulfilling your job duties, it’s essential to understand what you can expect to happen. You will likely receive a call from the claim agent for your railroad to ask for a statement. Though you may not think twice about speaking with them, doing so can have significant impacts on your ability to recover fair compensation for the injuries you’ve endured. If you are hurt, you’ll want to contact a FELA attorney as soon as possible. The following blog explores what a claim agent does and why you should not speak to them without consulting an attorney.
What Does a Railroad Claim Agent Do?
A claim agent works on behalf of the railroad to investigate injury claims. Though their objective is to prevent fraud by ensuring injuries sustained by employers are legitimate, their job is also to save the railroads money. The Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) only provides compensation for injured workers if the company was partially negligent for the injuries sustained. The claim agent may try to prove that the railroad played no part at all in the injury. As a railroad employee, the railroad claim agent’s investigation may be slanted toward the railroad. Right from the very start of the process, it is important for you to have a FELA lawyer to investigate the incident from your point of view.
Why Should I Avoid Speaking to Them?
In many instances, the claim agent will ask you for a statement about your injuries. This is to collect information about your accident that proves that the railroad was not negligent, even if they were.
After sustaining an injury, you may be in pain and confused about the details of the incident as a result. As such, it’s important to avoid providing official statements that can be used against you. In the heat of the moment, you may forget to include critical details about how the accident happened or the unsafe conditions on the railroad that led to your injury.
The claim agent may also ask confusing questions with complicated language that you may not understand in that moment. Additionally, they may write a statement in a way that makes it seem as though you admit the railroad was not negligent for the injuries you endured.
What Should I Do if I’m Being Pressured?
If you feel pressured into filing an incident report, it’s important to understand how to proceed. In some instances, the claim agent or your supervisor may threaten to fire you if you do not provide a statement. If this occurs, you’ll want to ask for your union representative and begin by stating, on the record, that the only reason you are speaking to them is because you were told you would be fired if you do not comply. The claim agent may likely say that you were not threatened, so you should ask to stop speaking immediately.
If you are asked to provide a statement about the injuries you sustained, ensuring you connect with an experienced FELA attorney as soon as possible is critical. Though the claim agent may seem helpful and genuine, their job is to investigate the incident on behalf of the railroad. They are not on your side.
The team at Doran & Murphy, however, is ready to assist you during these challenging times. Our team understands how devastating an injury can be and the importance of receiving the compensation you are entitled to for these damages. Contact our team today to learn how we can represent you.