When a railroad worker is injured in the course of their work, they are not covered by workers’ compensation. A federal law called the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) allows railroad workers to make a claim for compensation directly against their railroad employers. An injured railroader can recover compensation for pain, suffering, lost wages and medical expenses. This compensation can cover both past and future damages.
In order to recover under the FELA, the worker must show that the railroad’s negligence caused the injury, in whole or in part. The worker must also show the extent of any injuries. Medical records can be a crucial piece of evidence in proving how injured the worker is. Doctors and nurses document visits in near-real time when a person comes in for treatment.
Injured workers should tell their medical providers about all their symptoms – even if it seems minor. Workers may have a tendency to be stoic and not complain, but that attitude can hamper proving the extent of any injury. Railroad workers who tell their doctors about all their pain and suffering are more likely to have a good result because it shows that the worker was complaining of the issues outside of any litigation. If there is a question of causation – whether the railroad accident actually caused the worker’s injury – timely discussion with a medical professional can help show that the work accident caused the injury.
Additionally, workers who are suffering from any sort of cancer would be advised to tell their doctors about all their chemical, dust, and fume exposure during their career. Without this knowledge, a doctor may not be able to pinpoint the railroad exposures as having contributed to the development of the cancer.
If a worker doesn’t tell their doctor about their symptoms, the railroad will claim that the worker is exaggerating their injury simply for the claim. Similarly, if a worker doesn’t tell their doctor about exposures at the railroad when being evaluated for cancer, the railroad will tell a jury that the worker wasn’t exposed to any hazardous substances.
If you are a railroad worker who has been injured at work, please call our office for a free consultation. Our attorneys have experience in representing injured workers and assisting with these types of issues.