Protecting your FELA benefits is extremely important. Remember: in order to file a FELA claim, you must act within three years of the date of injury. (For repetitive traumas, the three-year period is from the last date that the worker experienced the trauma.) Failure to file a claim within three years means that the claim will be permanently lost. It is critical to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
Before an attorney can evaluate a case, a number of things must be done. Often, investigations must take place, doctors must examine the worker, and co-workers or witnesses must be interviewed. Because these processes all take time, it is wise to leave enough time for the attorney to assemble a case before the three-year period expires. Whenever an on-the-job injury occurs, the worker should give prompt notice to his or her employer. Consult with an attorney first; a written notice of injury can be vital to later recovery of damages.
Another important step is to seek prompt medical care. When possible, avoid consulting with a doctor associated with the railroad. Seek treatment with an unaffiliated doctor, in order to get an unbiased opinion of your medical condition.
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If the railroad sends a claim agent to ask for a recorded or written statement, the injured employee should first contact an attorney with FELA experience or a union representative. The goal of the claim agent is to minimize the monetary claim against the railroad. All FELA claims involve a period of investigation, which the railroads will use to their interest. Remember that the railroad has much greater resources and experience for FELA cases than you do. Contacting an attorney with experience in railroad cases can significantly increase your chances of winning. All of the following tactics have been used by railroads in defense of their interests:
- Medical attention. Failure to seek medical attention is viewed by railroads as proof that the injury is not serious. If you are injured, seek prompt medical attention. If railroad personnel attempt to convince you otherwise, do not listen.
- Accident reports. If an accident is not promptly reported in writing, the railroad will allege that a late report indicates a false report.
- Video surveillance. Railroads commonly compile a video record of injured employees, to review in hopes of catching an inconsistency. Expect to be recorded during medical visits and possibly to be visited at home.
- Conflicting statements. Expect to be contacted several times by the railroad. They will ask for a statement each time, in an effort to create inconsistent reports. Your statements will be compared to your written reports, the statements of your manager and claim agent, and medical reports. Remember: do not make any statement without first consulting with an attorney. Once you have retained an attorney, the railroad cannot legally communicate with you about your case.
Kansas personal injury lawyer / attorney representing clients in Bonner Springs, KS, locomotive injuries law firm - If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation regarding your personal injury case, please contact the Eschmann & Pringle, P.A at (800) 952-0566 or complete our inquiry form.