Have you been seriously hurt in a railroad accident in Illinois? Read these 4 things to learn about your railroad claim, then give us a call.
1. Choosing the Best Lawyer
When deciding what FELA or railroad injury accident lawyer you’re going to hire in the state of Illinois, the first thing you’re going to want to consider is what the person’s experience is. The lawyers that represent injured railroad workers are few and far between.
In the state of Illinois, there are very few lawyers that specialize or handle railroad injury type cases. The people that work for the railroad have different job titles than the rest of the public, they have different job duties and responsibilities that are basically unknown or uncommon to the rest of the public, so when you’re deciding what type of lawyer or what lawyer to hire, if you work for the railroad and you’ve been injured, it’s important to ask, number one, if they’ve represented injured railroad workers in the past. That is the key question to ask any lawyer in deciding who to hire.
2. Settlement Timeline
In Illinois, and basically across the entire United States, you have a three-year limitation to bring an injury case as a result of being injured working for a railroad. The problem with waiting that period of time is normally, if you delay in notifying the railroad, they will immediately bring you up on disciplinary charges and move towards trying to get you fired for failure to report an on-the-job injury. Even though you may have three years to pursue a claim, by no means would you want to wait that long.
3. Insurance Investigation
When a railroad worker reports an injury, there are a lot of different steps that are taken either by the claims manager or anyone trying to represent or defend the railroad. It’s not uncommon for us to hear about railroad workers being asked to perform reenactments, to go out and agree to take photographs basically reenacting how they were injured. It’s not uncommon for us to hear about different parts or things on the railroad that disappear because either a claims manager or someone in a supervisory role has changed or altered the scene.
Anytime you’re injured, it is important to report it. If you have a camera that’s available, take pictures of any of the conditions that you see. Call your union steward, if you have one. If you are able to, you need to call the union steward to make sure that you’re being protected as called for in your labor agreement. Oftentimes they will try to take recorded statements from you, try to get you to do a reenactment or even threaten to bring you up on charges if you don’t cooperate.
4. Giving a Written or Taped Statement
One of the questions that we often hear from railroad employees that are injured on the job is, “Do I have to give a statement, and do I have to fill out an accident report?” The question can be a difficult one to answer depending upon what your collective bargaining agreement requires for you. In other words, what has the union agreed to on your behalf in terms of your cooperation with the railroad investigating the accident? In addition, there are some federal forms that may or may not need to be filled out in order to properly follow federal law, in terms of an on-the-job railroad injury.
For all of these reasons, if you find yourself having suffered an injury while working for the railroad, before you make any statements or fill out any paperwork, you should call an attorney that has experience handling railroad cases.
Have you or your loved one been seriously hurt in a railroad accident in Illinois and have questions about these 4 things to learn about your railroad claim that we have provided you? Contact our experienced Naperville railroad accident attorneys today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
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