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Report or Not To Report...That Is The Question...Or is it?

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  • Report or Not To Report...That Is The Question...Or is it?

    When I am hurt working for the railroad, do I report my injury or not? In a perfect world the answer would be yes, but, alas, this is not a perfect world. Working for the railroad is a great thing. From the discussions that I have had with railroaders over the years they really love what they do. It can be real fun; the people you work with, for the most part, are good hard working people; and it is a job that can be economically and personally rewarding. After all, where would the U.S. be without the railroads? However, no one can deny that, when you get hurt, there is intimidation that immediately becomes present that you become like the enemy; your job becomes at risk and, all of a sudden, the job that has been you and your family's economic support, is all at risk. You know you're hurt because you know your body. But...do you fill out a report of injury? Or, do you wait and work through it. Obviously, from a lawyer's point of view, and only from a lawyer's point of view, of course you report it! But, the lawyer does not have to feed your kids, or make your car payments, or mortgage payments, or put food on the table for your family. The lawyer will have a job tomorrow but you may not. I recently spoke o a man that worked in Florida. He hurt his back badly. He told his boss what had happened. The boss explained that they had a 1 1/2 year accident free shop and that, if he wanted to go to a doctor, he should do so but not to say he got hurt at work. So, being the good employee he is, he did just that. The doctor gave the man some pain pills and it put him to sleep. The wife, that night, got on the internet and found Gordon and Elias. She called and she and I spoke for 2 hours. The next day the husband awoke and was horrified on what she had done. The plan was I was suppose to call that morning to talk to him and I did. At first, he would not even grab the phone from the wife to talk! I think I said loud enough to where he would hear that I am not going to bite you! So, he got the guts up to talk. We talked and talked and I explained to him his rights. He was very scared but agreed to go to a doctor and have a MRI to see if he was truly hurt. He made an appointment for the next day. However, when the next day came around, the railroad had flown in two higher-ups and they called him and asked him to come to the shop which he did. He left there after signing a document that said that he got hurt off the job. My jaw dropped when she called me to tell me this. But....this is a perfect example of the type of intimidation that runs rampant in the railroad industry. That man was so scared of what would happen to his family if he reported his injury that he actually signed a document that was untrue. Worse yet, he did it at the request of the railroad when they KNEW it was untrue. What they all do not realize is that the document is easily attacked and his claim is still valid. It is so easily proven that they all lied. But, do you think he is going to go to the doctor to get treatment and document his medical problem? NO he is not. THAT is the biggest problem in an injured railroader situation and it is, in my opinion, even bigger than not formally reporting the claim. If you do not develop your medical, you definitely do not have a chance to prevail. What happens to this man when his pain does not go away or it gets worse with time and, hypothetically after 1 or 2 down the road, the pain is so unbarable that he simply can not go on anymore? Does he think that he can go to the doctor then and make a claim? Of course he can go to the doctor and of course, he can make a claim but what has he done to the economic potential of that claim by not seeking continued treatment? You guessed it, he has seriously injured the amount he will recover. Imagine what a jury would say when they realized that he went for a year and a half without ANY treatment and NOW he wants seven figure money. There are no easy answers to this problem. Our firm tries to make it easier by letting you hire us and then we send you to a doctor and, if your complaints are such that an MRI would be useful in figuring out the true medical damage to your body, the doctor orders an MRI and we pay to get it done. In a back, neck, knee or shoulder problem, an MRI is ESSENTIAL to finding out what is the real problem. If all is OK, then we terminate our representation and the person goes on working through their muscle injury. However, if there is a noted problem on the MRI, then we sit down with the client and explain what this means to their life and the life of their family. Only then, can you really make an informed decision on whether to go forward or not. There is no reason to make a mountain out of a mole hill. But, if there is a legitimate and documented severe problem, do you think it is just going to go away? Not usually. In fact, generally through time and the natural aging process, it's just going to get worse. So, in summation, ideally all accidents should be reported but they are not. But, please do not fail to determine the true extent and severity early on in your matter. With that information, then, and only then, can you make the decision to report it and make a FELA claim. Goodnight and stay safe. Steve Gordon gordon-elias.com
    Last edited by FELA FELLA; 05-01-2009, 07:04 AM.
    Steve Gordon
    Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
    FELA Lawyer
    FELA Lawyer Blog
    Serving Injured Railroad Employees Nationwide
    Call for a FELA Lawyer 24/7/365
    800-773-6770

  • #2
    This brings up a good question that I have had for some time now.

    It has bee made clear that you have 24 hours to report an injry and failure to do so results in immediate termination. I have even heard this to happen. Never to anyone I knew of, but have "heard" of it happening.

    Lets say an employee has an injury that appears minor at the time and decides to avoid the investigation and suspension from service and just go to the dr on your own. As you said, you THINK you know your own body. Well turns out that your injury was more severe than you believed. A simple bruised back, turns into a cracked spine. What then?

    Another angle..... your minor injury at work, maybe years later turns into a long term condition?
    All postings by BadOrderKing are public information, works of fiction, sometimes resembling the rants of a madman and in no way should be construed to represent the positions, views, or thoughts of any particular railroad carrier. No one listens to him anyway.

    Comment


    • #3
      Early Diagnosis Is Paramount To Making A Decision

      This is a great question. We can talk in the abstract or in the real day-to-day life. I, and I am sure you, prefer the latter. Unless the injury is so obvious to all, or put another way, the event is so obvious to all (e.g., a derailment), then the worker usually 9 out of 10 times does not report the injury. He (I am going to use he but obviously could be a she) is thinking that he does not want to lose his job or be subject to a Rule violation; he hurts but he thinks he can tough it out and work through it; he takes some over the counter pain medicationss or ant-inflammatories (Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, etc.); he knocks off and lays down and prays that when he wakes up he's better. When he wakes up he's more sore but he thnks the same thing day in and day out. Sometimes he gets better and sometimes he gets worse. He talks to his wife and she gets scared that they are going to lose the house so he gets even tougher. My answer to this is get a lawyer early and have that lawyer send you to a doctor on the DL; take the MRIs the doctor orders all on the DL. If the tests are positive (in medical terminology positive = bad and negative = no finding) for an operable lesion then the worker has a decision to make. Very rarely does an operable lesion just go away. This can all be accomplished in about 3 days. You have to know what is wrong with you. Its non-sensical to make a decision without the exact knowledge. If the lawyer feels you have a "winable" case AND you have a serious finding upon MRI, that still does not relieve the fears that the company will fire you or try to starve you out. That is when the lawyer's economic commitment to help you with your bills can be all important. In my opinion, where ethically permitted to do so, the law firm you choose should step-up to the plate and make sure they help. Guaranteeing advances to the client can not and should not promote litigation but it is a factor to consider. Also, sometimes the liability facts are so tough that winning maybe a virtual impossibility. Those cases from what I have seen are few and far between but they do exist. The lawyer should be frank with you and not "blow smoke up your butt". As I said in the earlier post, knowledge is king.
      Steve Gordon
      Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
      FELA Lawyer
      FELA Lawyer Blog
      Serving Injured Railroad Employees Nationwide
      Call for a FELA Lawyer 24/7/365
      800-773-6770

      Comment


      • #4
        Norfolk Southern has adopted the rule to report an injury "when it manifests itself". Dangerous ground to be on. I have personally been involved in several investigations concerning injuries and manifestation. The employee will lose every time if the injury is not reported before leaving the property. If you think you are hurt you'd better report it. If not, more than likely you will see an investigation and you'll get to see what NS's idea is on manifestation.

        HB
        "Never argue with an idiot; people watching might not be able to tell the difference".

        Posts by Hornblower are merely opinions of Hornblower and are for entertainment only. Hornblower does not represent any railroad anywhere. Feel free to pass over any post that offends you.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Hornblower View Post
          "when it manifests itself".

          HB
          Explain that for us. That is not a term I am familiar with in regards to injury at work.


          There are also two sides this argument.
          1. You do something, you KNOW is stupid and the result being you have broke your foot. In MY OPINION and mine only, I might take my lumps, go home and see my dr.
          2. Something is dropped on your foot, but days later your foot becomes impossible to walk on due to a tiny fracture becoming worse. Well hell, I wouldnt have reported it, becuase I did not know it was a real injury. If I reported everytime I smashed a finger or dropped something on my foot, they would have banned me from property...LOL
          All postings by BadOrderKing are public information, works of fiction, sometimes resembling the rants of a madman and in no way should be construed to represent the positions, views, or thoughts of any particular railroad carrier. No one listens to him anyway.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by BadOrderKing View Post
            Explain that for us. That is not a term I am familiar with in regards to injury at work.

            There are also two sides this argument.
            1. You do something, you KNOW is stupid and the result being you have broke your foot. In MY OPINION and mine only, I might take my lumps, go home and see my dr.
            2. Something is dropped on your foot, but days later your foot becomes impossible to walk on due to a tiny fracture becoming worse. Well hell, I wouldnt have reported it, becuase I did not know it was a real injury. If I reported everytime I smashed a finger or dropped something on my foot, they would have banned me from property...LOL
            BOK,

            When an injury "manifests" itself is a term in which an injury becomes apparent to the person that has sustained it. The problem lies in the fact that the only person that knows when you are hurt is yourself. Example:

            Your back pops at work while throwing a switch. It doesn't really hurt at the time. You go home and before you go to bed your back starts getting stiff. Nothing major. Hell I play a round of golf and get sore sometimes. Use a heating pad and go to bed. The next day you can't get out of bed. Call the railroad and report the injury. Boom-your out of service because you tell them that you had discomfort the previous night and in their eyes that is when you should have reported it. Even though you weren't for sure you were hurt. True story-this happened here because the guy was trying to do the right thing. That's the reason I tell EVERYONE if you even think you're hurt report it.

            HB
            Last edited by Hornblower; 05-01-2009, 12:32 PM.
            "Never argue with an idiot; people watching might not be able to tell the difference".

            Posts by Hornblower are merely opinions of Hornblower and are for entertainment only. Hornblower does not represent any railroad anywhere. Feel free to pass over any post that offends you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks HB. I really need to stop getting on here before I get sleep. The term explains itself, if only I had let it soak in before I asked. However, Ill just say I asked "incase anyone else dont know"...LOL

              Thanks again
              All postings by BadOrderKing are public information, works of fiction, sometimes resembling the rants of a madman and in no way should be construed to represent the positions, views, or thoughts of any particular railroad carrier. No one listens to him anyway.

              Comment

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