Nobody likes to wait, especially when their financial and physical wellbeing are hanging in the balance. However, many injured railroad employees end up patiently waiting for days, weeks, months, or even years for a resolution to their injury claims. They’re often off work, struggling to pay their bills, and worried about how they might get the medical care and help they need. It’s just not fair to the hard-working men and women who have been hurt while employed by the railroads. But what can you do?
Even when you think you’ve done everything right, frustrating delays still crop up in FELA claims. These delays may stem from a trick on the insurance company’s end, a mistake on your end, or circumstances that you just can’t control—and it can be hard to get clear answers about what really has gone wrong. If you’re stuck waiting after you’ve been hurt at your railroad job, speaking with an attorney about your rights can help you figure out why. In the meantime, here is some information that might help you better understand why workers end up waiting so long in some railroad injury claims.
Tricks from the railroad’s insurance company
Railroad injury claims are sometimes complicated, and employees who aren’t sure about their rights are vulnerable. The railroad’s insurance company is responsible for paying legitimate injury claims, but it is also a business that wants to protect itself. One of the ways they do that is to endlessly delay injury claims in hopes that the employee will give up, accept less, or get desperate. From the employee’s end, these delays might take the form of:
- Difficulty getting straightforward answers to straightforward questions
- Running into “red tape” or an endless string of supervisors and superiors
- Waiting weeks for return calls
- Mysterious errors and lost or returned paperwork
- Documents that never arrive, despite repeated requests
Railroad insurance companies are not above delaying a claim to protect their own bottom lines. If you keep getting referred to another supervisor, can’t get your call returned, or are otherwise running into unnecessary delays, it’s important that you get involved with an experienced attorney that can protect your rights. Our attorneys have seen these kinds of tricks before, and we’ve worked with a number of injured railroad workers and their families to force forward movement on delayed FELA claims.
Mistakes made by the injured railroad employee
Although delays in injured employees’ FELA claims are sometimes caused by the railroad company’s insurance provider, not every delay is the insurance provider’s fault. Railroad accident victims often make mistakes that end up delaying their own injury claims against the railroad. Because of these mistakes, many end up trapped in a seemingly never-ending negotiation process—or even running out of time to collect on an injury claim.
Being aware of common mistakes is one of the best ways you can protect yourself. Here are five common things injured railroad employees do to cause claim delays:
- Not reporting an injury immediately. The sooner you report an accident or injury, the better. If you don’t report your injury promptly, it could be used against you during the claims process, dragging out the time it takes to resolve your claim.
- Putting off medical attention. If you put off seeing the doctor after an injury, or if you don’t follow up on your doctor’s orders, you will be missing key evidence that can affect your claim—and you’ll be putting your own wellbeing at risk.
- Failing to support your claim with evidence. Besides the documentation of your medical treatment, you may be surprised to find out just how much evidence you need to fully recover with a FELA claim. A number of professionals and assessments may be involved, as well as witness reports and physical evidence.
- Not seeking the help of an attorney. Very few injured railroad workers fully understand their rights or what to expect after an accident. An attorney can help you protect your rights and make smart decisions, especially when you’re having trouble moving ahead with your injury claim.
- Not seeking the help of an attorney experienced in FELA claims. Railroad injury claims aren’t like other work injury claims, and injured railroad employees face a complicated web of laws and regulations after an injury. It’s enough to confuse even other attorneys, which why it’s such a benefit to work with an attorney who has direct experience with railroad injury cases.
FELA claims are complicated, governed by complicated laws, and require extensive documentation. It’s very easy for railroad employees to make an innocent mistake that ends up causing weeks or months of delay. Before you sign any documents, give any statements, or accept a settlement, avoid potential delays by reviewing your case with an experienced attorney.
Other complications that cause delays
Sometimes, railroad injury claims just take a long time to resolve. This can be chalked up to a few different factors, but might include cases that involve:
- Additional parties, such as coworkers or product manufacturers
- Unique or complicated circumstances
- Very serious accidents or accidents in which many people were hurt
- Unavoidable scheduling or administrative issues
However, even when there are unavoidable delays, working with an experienced attorney gives you the best chance to resolve a complicated FELA claim quickly and fairly.
When to get help with a delayed railroad injury claim
It’s not always easy to tell when your claim may be in jeopardy, and some injured workers wait until it’s too late to get help. If any of the following situations sound familiar, it may be time to talk to an attorney about why your injury claim has been delayed:
- You experience medical complications that extend your recovery or make your minor injury more severe.
- You are being harassed or threatened at work for reporting your accident and pursuing a claim.
- You gave a written or recorded statement to the railroad or the insurance company that is now being used against you.
- You are being blamed for fault in the accident that injured you.
- You have reinjured yourself after your initial injury.
- Your injury claim has been unfairly denied.
- You have tried to get answers from your employer and its insurance company, but haven’t gotten anywhere
If you are running into delays with your FELA injury claim, don’t lose hope. You can get the gears moving again by researching your rights and reaching out to an attorney. Even small events, minor missteps, or a few words can cause the claims process to go wrong for victims, and we are here to help if it does. Getting informed about the process of filing and negotiating a railroad injury claim is the best way to avoid mistakes along the way. If you have immediate questions about a FELA claim, you contact VB Attorneys directly by calling us at 1-877-724-7800.