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Why it’s essential that injured railroad workers complete an accident report

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2022 | Personal Injury, Railroad Accidents

If you are a railroad employee who recently suffered an injury while on duty, there is much on your mind. Between seeking immediate medical treatment, dealing with your physical pain and suffering, worrying about how to support your family while you are unable to work, the desire to accurately report your injury and its cause to your employer is understandably not on the forefront of your mind. However, not only is accurate reporting required by federal law, it is essential to you achieving a full and complete compensation for the damages you have suffered while being hurt at work.

Assistance with your FELA claim

A piece of federal legislation called the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) gives railroad workers the cause of action that they need to seek compensation for their work injuries. Under the Act, a railroad company is liable to their employees for injuries that the employee suffers while on the job – as long as the injury was the result of negligence on the part of the railroad company.

This negligence can come in many forms, such as:

  • Failure to perform adequate safety inspections;
  • Failure to maintain tools and vehicles in working order; and
  • Failure to provide sufficient safety measures and equipment to employees who engage in dangerous jobs.

If you completed an accident report as soon as possible after the accident, while the details were still fresh in your mind – and in the minds of any witnesses – then it will be much easier for your attorney to put together a persuasive argument for why your employer’s negligence was the cause of this accident. Failure to complete an accurate accident report could mean that important details surrounding your accident are lost, making your FELA claim that much harder to win. Failure to complete a report at all could serve as a bar to your claim and almost guaranteed discipline for failing to make a timely accident report.

Greater safety for your coworkers

By completing a thorough report of the cause of your injury, you are calling your employer’s attention – as well as the federal government’s attention – to the unsafe condition that resulted in your harm. If you fail to complete an accident report and report your injury, then it’s possible that the problem will not be addressed until someone else suffers a similar accident to yours.

Railroad workers work in a dangerous industry, with plenty of potential for horrendous accidents. Filling out an accident report can help them to obtain the compensation that they need to get back on their feet after their accident.

Completing an injury report is “protected activity” under the Whistleblower Act

Many employees are scared to report an injury because of fear of retaliation by their railroad employer. However, under the employee protection provisions of the Federal Rail Safety Act – commonly known as the Whistleblower Act—you are protected from any discipline related to the report of a on-duty injury. It is illegal to discipline an employee related to their report of injury and doing so by the carrier also gives rise to a potential Whistleblower claim by the employee against the railroad.

If you are hurt at work, you should call the experienced attorneys at Dunn Harrington Trial Lawyers to seek immediate advice on how to navigate this process and ensure you and your family are protected.