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Protect Yourself when hurt on the job: Know your rights

protect yourself when hurt on the jobThis pamphlet is not legal advice. That can and should only come from a lawyer. What is written here cannot possibly tell you what the law is as applied to the facts of a particular case. The purpose of this pamphlet is to let you know that there is a law, an act of Congress called the “Federal Employers’ Liability Act,” in which you area, or definitely should be, interested.

The United States Supreme Court rendered a decision on April 20, 1964, that states the following:

“Injured workers or their families often fall prey on the one hand to persuasive claims adjusters eager to gain a quick and cheap settlement for their railroad employers, or on the other to lawyers either not competent to try these lawsuits against the able railroad counsel are too willing to settle a case for a quick dollar.”

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This pamphlet is designed to acquaint you with your rights given to you by Congress and the Supreme Court of the United States. We hope it will be of help to you and your fellow workmen.

Why this Pamphlet?

Why should you Know Your Rights?

What does the Law Say?

Why should you Keep a Record?

Why this Pamphlet?

Each year railroad workers by the thousands are injured or killed while on the job. The number of job accidents is increasing because of the failure to provide safe working conditions.

In many instances injured railroad workers or their survivors are left to shift for themselves. All too often the railroad companies, through claim agents, by waivers, and other methods, succeed in dodging their just, lawful responsibility.

The railroads often try to get rid of disabled workers by pressuring them into taking inadequate disability pensions. The companies thus avoid their own legal responsibility and load their obligations onto the Railroad Retirement Fund. Disable workers, as a result often fail to receive decent support during the remainder of their lives. The little money they do receive is taken from their co-workers, from whose wages regular deductions into the fund are made by law.

But injured workers are entitled to and should receive their just, full compensation under the provisions of the U.S. Federal Employers’ Liability Act. They are entitled also, when they so choose, to continue on their job and not be forced into retirement.

Today, therefore, it is more important than ever that railroaders should know their rights. They should learn how to safeguard these rights when hurt on the job.

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Why Should You Know Your Rights?

Many railroad workers have been led to believe that when a man is hurt on the job he is entitled only to “compensation.” Most railroad Claim Department agents usually tell the men that “compensation” is a percentage of the time or wages lost. This is not true. The idea that an injured railroad worker is entitled only to wages lost is not only false, but generally such a notion proves costly to the worker and his family. The fact of the matter is that railroad employees injured through the fault of the carriers are usually entitled under the law to receive much more that their lost time or wages if they knew it.

When an employee of an interstate railroad is injured (or killed) at work, he or his supervisors come under the protection of a law of Congress known as the Federal Employers’ Liability Act. Under this Act an injured railroad worker is entitled to recover not only the time or wages lost. He is, in addition, entitled to be paid all of his expenses for medical treatment, for any permanent injury, whether partial or total. If he is killed, his survivors are entitled to recover all damages, without any limit upon the amount, which they have suffered as a result.

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What does the Law Say?

A railroader is entitled to recover damages from his company under the U.S. Federal Employers’ Liability Act, if the following facts exist:

  1. When the road he works for is engaged, even in small part, in interstate commerce; that is, it either runs across state lines or handles interstate freight.
  2. When injury to the worker is the result, even in part, of the negligence (carelessness) of any officer, agent, or employee of the railroad, or the injury is caused by any defect in the cars, engines, appliances, machinery, track, road bed, or any other equipment of the road.

The railroads, under the law, have a duty to provide safe places of work for their employees. They must also provide safe equipment, tools and proper working conditions for them. If any railroad fails to take these safety measures, or if the employee is injured through the carelessness of any other employee, the railroad is held responsible. It is liable to the worker for any injuries or damages he may suffer as a result.

The amount of money an injured railroad worker is entitled to recover is decided by two factors:

  1. How serious his injuries and losses are.
  2. Whether he can show that his injury was in some way, or in some part, due to the fault of the railroad, the negligence of any of its employees, or some defect in equipment, tools, or any unsafe working condition.

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Why should you Keep a Record?

The railroads often try to avoid their obligations to injured employees. It is, therefore, important that the injured worker be in a position to get and keep proper information. This information should show if and how the accident was caused, in whole or in part, by the negligence or fault of the railroad, or by other employees of the railroad, or by unsafe working conditions. The worker must also be in a position to prove the nature and extent of his injury and his loss.

The largest money claims are won from the railroads when the claims are actually taken to court. It is, therefore, important that the injured employee get as much information and evidence as possible. He must be able to prove the cause of the accident and the nature and extent of his injuries, in case a court trial is necessary. An injured employee should therefore get the names of witnesses who have knowledge of the accident or cause of the accident. He should remember and jot down the exact time and place of the accident.

When a railroad worker takes his claim to court, he has only to show that the injury was caused in part by the negligence of the railroad or its employees. Even if the injured railroader was himself at fault to some extent, it does not defeat his claim entirely. He will still win his case if he can show that the railroad, or any of its employees, or its equipment, or his working conditions were, in part, responsible. The negligence of the worker, where it exists, can only be used by the railroad to reduce the amount of money the injured railroad worker will win. Even then the reduction is made only to the extent that the injured worker’s negligence was partly responsible. In certain types of cases the negligence of the injured worker is no defense to the railroad at all, and he may collect in full anyway.

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  • Railroad Injuries
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Marshall Friedman: Railroad injury Attorney : Back Injury Attorney : Medical Malpractice Attorney : Workers Compensation Attorney : Wrongful Death Attorney

The materials provided on this site are for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice. The transmission and receipt of information on this website does not constitute the creation of any attorney-client relationship. The issuer/publisher assumes no liability for the reader's reliance on this publications content. Before making any decision based on the contents herein, the reader is advised to consult competent professional advisors. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

© 2008 C. Marshall Friedman: A professional Corporation: Attorneys at Law: St Louis Missouri

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