When should I hire an attorney?
Hiring an Attorney
If your injury has been relatively minor, with little or no time lost from work, you are probably best served by seeing a patient orientated physician and then dealing with the railroad claim agent directly after first checking with your FELA Union Designated Legal Counsel as to a fair value for your claim.
If your injuries are serious, cause you constant pain, disability, or disfigurement and you are unable to work due to your accident, you would definitely benefit from expert legal advice and representation by an experienced FELA union trial attorney.
You must understand that the moment you are seriously injured on-the-job, your interests and the interests of your employer are not the same. The basic job of the railroad’s claim department is to save the railroad money; this usually means disputing your claim by gathering evidence to counter and diminish it.
Unfortunately, an injury case is not a simple, straightforward matter. Many factors affect the settlement amount or jury verdict. Items such as the amount of lost time, the nature and extent of injuries, and any negligence of the employee must be considered. A FELA union designated attorney experienced in the handling of FELA cases can guide you in properly evaluating these factors.
One thing is certain - without the threat of a lawsuit, the railroad will never voluntarily pay the full value of any significant claim. A great rule of thumb is if you want to operate an engine, you get an engineer; if you want to switch cars, you get a conductor; likewise, when you want someone to protect your legal rights in a personal injury case, you hire an experienced FELA union designated legal trial lawyer.
Can the railroad fire me for hiring an attorney?
It is unlawful for the railroad to fire you for hiring or consulting with a lawyer. In fact, you are more likely to be abused if you do not have a union approved lawyer fighting for you. There are protections in FELA against companies retaliating against workers, but retaliation usually occurs in situations where the employee complaining is not represented.
It is important to protect yourself and your family by calling the experienced FELA lawyers at Davis, Saunders & Miller to handle your case.