If you work on a Connecticut railroad and you suffer injury during the normal course of your workplace duties, the workers’ compensation process will help you get the benefits to which you are entitled, right? Wrong! Railroad workers find protection under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), which is the process you would need to follow to report an injury and get the help you need. Swift action is often the key to securing the compensation to which you may be entitled following a railroad accident.
Your injuries may be so severe that you aren’t able to take care of logistics to contact appropriate officials, file paperwork and other aspects of the FELA process. If you are able to act on your own behalf in the near aftermath of your accident, the sooner you get the process started, the better.
First thing’s first
There’s a definite hierarchy of steps to take if you wish to file a FELA claim. Researching the process ahead of time and knowing where to turn for support, if needed, can save you a lot of stress as you recuperate. The following list includes the basic actions you would take (in the order you would take them) after suffering injury on the job at a railroad company:
- Tell your employer: You must report your injury to your employer in a timely manner; otherwise, you could delay every other part of the process.
- Be thorough in your explanation: When you inform your employer of your accident, you will need to fill out various documents describing events as they unfolded and the subsequent injuries that resulted from the incident. It’s important to take your time and include as many details as possible to provide a clear picture of what happened.
- Get medical help: This action is only number three on the list if your injuries were minor and did not require emergency medical treatment, or if you are suffering a chronic and slowly developed injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive motion injury. Your employer will likely ensure that you receive medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident or injury report.
- File your own documents: Make separate copies of accident information for yourself and to show to any legal representative you may rely on down the line.
It’s also important to continue to track and document any time you miss from work due to your injury, as well as any additional details (i.e., new injury symptoms) that develop as time goes on. The difference between workers’ comp and FELA claims is that you are able to pursue legal accountability against your employer if he or she was negligent in some way leading up to your injury.
Filing a legal claim against your employer would no doubt be a stressful experience. Many injured railroad workers ask experienced attorneys to act on their behalves in court to help remove some of the personal burden associated with the process.