If you are a railroader injured on the job, keep in mind the following rules:
(1) Get the names and addresses of all persons who saw the accident and of all crew or the gang in which you were working.
(2) Report the accident and injury immediately to your Local Chairman or your General Chairman.
(3) Do not give any statement, whether written or oral to the railroad.
(4) Get proper medical care from a physician of your choosing.
(5) If your union agreement requires that you fill out an accident form, be properly advised concerning this form.
(6) If you are going to be off work as a result of the injury, preserve your right to return to work upon recovery by filing the necessary documents with the railroad as provided by the union agreement.
(7) Consult a qualified attorney for advice about your rights. Call the toll-free number of this office for free consultation (800) 323-5538.
The bottom lines is simply this: as a railroad employee, the FELA gives you more rights and more protection than any other working person in the United States, however, unless you know about these rights and exercise them, they might as well not even exist. If you accept the advice of a claim agent as to what you are entitled to, then that is all you will receive—ever. As a general rule, once you sign a release and settle your case with a claim agent, you will not be able to go back for more money, even if your injury increases in severity or even if you eventually can’t work anymore.
You have once chance to recover for yourself and your family for an injury. If you allow yourself to be deceived into thinking that if you go along with the railroad and take a low settlement because you have been told that they will “take care of you”, then you will be cheated. There is no such thing as a “life time job” or “guaranteed job” and any claim agent that promises this to you is being less than truthful.
Once you settle up with the claim agent you can theoretically be medically disqualified the very next day. Then you are left with what remains of an unfair settlement and no job.
Know your rights. You have too much at stake to accept the advice or decision of the railroad as to how much money you are entitled to receive.