Taking on a career in the railroad industry can be a high-risk endeavor. Various chemicals, equipment, and tools make railroad work one of the most dangerous jobs in the US.
Railroad workers have twice the risk of dying on the job as the average American, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Signallers, conductors, track laborers, and others share the risk of death or severe injury. Even non-fatal injuries can lead to chronic pain and other health problems.
Every day, railroad workers can encounter injuries such as:
- Fractures and broken bones: These are the most common. For instance, they can result from losing balance while walking on the ballast.
- Burns: Workers are often exposed to hot metal surfaces and risk severe burns. Aside from that, there are dangers from engine fires, explosions, and chemical solvents.
- Neck, back, and joint injuries: Railroad work often requires a lot of heavy lifting, which leads to joint, neck, and back injuries that can happen suddenly or develop over time.
- Tendon and ligament injuries: Heavy lifting and repetitive movements can lead to these.
- Crush injuries: The risk of being accidentally crushed by moving locomotives or freight cars is significant for railroad workers.
- Electric shock: Electrocution can cause injuries such as burns, tissue damage, or cardiac arrest.
- Head injuries: A head injury can be caused by falling cargo, loose tools, or falls.
- Deformity or limb loss: This can occur as a result of any of the abovementioned accidents. Workers can experience deformities or even lose limbs to amputation.
We think it is clear how dangerous a railroad worker’s job can be. That is why they are protected by the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). This federal law guarantees compensation for railroad workers who are injured at work.
If you are a railroad worker who has been injured at work, follow these steps to protect your health but also your legal rights:
Notify your co-worker or supervisor. Firstly, they can help you on the spot, call for medical help, or take you to the nearest medical facility. Secondly, in the event of a lawsuit, they can testify in your favor as a witness, especially if they saw the incident that led to your injury.
What do we mean by complete medical attention?
After the medical staff takes care of your injuries, you should receive all medical documentation and bills, which will be crucial later for protecting your rights and receiving compensation for your injuries. Keep in mind that you have the right to receive medical treatment without the presence of a railroad representative and make your statement after getting medical attention.
When completing this report, try to be as detailed as possible. Describe precisely the circumstances of the injury, and if you have witnesses, name them and share their contact information.
It is crucial to obtain and keep detailed information. This includes descriptions, photographs, and everything that can be used as evidence in court. The more evidence you have, the greater the chance of receiving adequate compensation for your injuries.
Sometimes it is necessary to submit copies of specific documentation. So, make copies to be handed out everywhere original documents are not required.
Inform your union about the accident. The syndicate can help you understand and exercise your rights and find a lawyer to represent you in court.
The law can be hard to understand. That is why it is essential to find a skilled and experienced lawyer. Schedule a consultation with them, present your case, and don’t forget to bring documentation related to your accident.
To get rightful compensation, you must seek lawyers with experience handling railroad injury cases. To speed up your search for that kind of lawyer, we recommend you contact a railroad injury lawyer in NYC. Having extensive experience, they will approach your case with care and attention to detail.
What Not to Do?
Knowing what not to do after a railroad accident is as important as knowing what to do. So, read carefully:
1. Don’t let anyone else complete an injury report for you or tell you what to write.
2. Don’t let a railroad employee choose a doctor or direct your treatment.
3. Before signing any medical reports, speak to your lawyer or union representative.
These mistakes can jeopardize your case and keep you from receiving fair compensation for your injuries.
In this article, we explained all the steps you should take or not take to protect your health and your rights in the event of an accident on the railroad.
We hope you won’t have to apply them, but if you do, we are sure you will know how to proceed without risking your well-being and rights.