How it Works
Railroad workers have rights from the time of their railroad personal injury. However, you would not think so, with the way an injured railroad employee is treated by the railroad. That treatment is why many injured employees call Wilson & Hajek right away for advice.
The railroad immediately wants statements, sends the injured employee to a company doctor, and sometimes tries to fire the railroad employee for an “imaginary” rules violation. The latest tactic is to immediately call in a railroad lawyer to examine the scene, read the statements, and try and deprive the injured railroad employee of the legal compensation due under the law for the personal injury.
Example: I represented the family of a deceased railroad employee, a widow and four children. After the lawsuit was filed, I found out by legal discovery through the courts that outside railroad lawyers were at the scene even before the railroad employee’s body made it to the morgue.
Do Not Believe the Claim Agent
When claim agents talk about helping you after an on-the-job railroad injury, do not believe them. Their primary job is to look out for the railroad, pay the least amount of money they can on the claim, and most of all, keep you away from an experienced FELA railroad lawyer who knows the true value of your claim.
Follow the Rules – Accident Report
Make sure you immediately fill out a railroad accident report. If you wait, it may hurt your claim, and the railroad will try and claim you were not really hurt on the job.
Follow the Rules – Statement
You do not have to give a written or recorded statement to the claim agent. Once you have filled out the railroad accident report, you have followed the rules. Do not let the claims agent bully you. Call Wilson or Hajek if you need advice.
Follow the Rules – Medical Care
The railroad usually gets you examined. If you do not agree with their doctor, you can seek out your own doctor for another opinion. You have the right to choose which doctor treats you. Make sure you tell your doctor how you were injured on the railroad. If you are going to miss time from work, you should apply for Railroad Retirement Board benefits. You can get the forms from the Railroad Retirement Board, your union representative, or an attorney from our Virginia Beach or Charlottesville, Virginia offices will assist you with filling out the papers. You can go to www.rrb.gov for forms.
Preliminary Stage Over
Once you are through this preliminary stage, and if you have determined your railroad injury is serious enough to make a claim, you can proceed in several ways.
1. You can talk with an experienced railroad injury lawyer at Wilson & Hajek law firm, get advice with no obligation, then decide how you want to proceed.
2. You can deal direct with the claims agent, the railroad’s preference, and take the amount determined by the claims agent to settle your claim. That ends your claim against the railroad.
If you choose number 1 above, the experienced railroad injury lawyer, either Eddie Wilson or Francis Hajek, will assume all responsibility for processing your claim. The experienced railroad injury lawyer will gather information, including medical information and advise you on your claim. Once your lawyer has the information that will prove your claim and the medical information that shows the seriousness of your claim, your lawyer will make a claim for your railroad personal injury and can begin negotiations with the railroad.
Procedure – Negotiations
The Wilson & Hajek law firm keeps the client fully informed about claim values, the basis for those figures, and the client and the lawyer discuss and set a target amount for the case. If negotiations do not reach that target, then a lawsuit is filed.
Procedure – Lawsuit
If a lawsuit for the railroad employee’s injury is brought against the railroad, the lawyer and the railroad may still negotiate, but if the target is not met, trial follows. The success rate at trial is high for injured railroad employees.
My success rate is not 100%, but it is very close. I am proud of that record!
Should I Have A Jury Set My Money Figure?
Often the answer is yes, but sometimes it makes more sense to follow the “bird in the hand rule”. Wilson & Hajek counsels the injured railroad worker client based on our experience and knowledge of the law. In the end, I honor the client’s wishes. That is what a lawyer should do.
Client is Boss
No injured railroad worker should have a settlement crammed down their throat by a claims agent or a lazy lawyer. That is our rule.
Railroad workers can collect for injuries. Contact the experienced railroad injury lawyers at the law firm of Wilson & Hajek.