Do I Have to See the Company Doctor for My Railroad Injury?

When you are injured during your employment as a railroad worker, the first thing you need to do is see a doctor. Since many workers are unfamiliar with the distinctions between workers’ comp and the Federal Employers’ Liability Act they assume that, like workers’ compensation, you can only visit a doctor who has been approved by the rail company. This is, however, not the case. Injured workers are free to see any doctor of their choosing. If the railroad company is trying to force you to see their chosen doctor, an experienced Norfolk FELA attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help.

What Types of Injuries Can Railroad Workers Sustain?  

Due to the hazardous nature of railway work, employees are extremely vulnerable to serious illnesses and injuries. Some of the most common are:

  • Burns
  • Amputations
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Wrongful death
  • Broken bones
  • Cancer
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Am I Allowed to See My Own Doctor for Diagnosis and Treatment?

When employees in warehouses, offices, or public service jobs are injured at work, they are required to abide by workers’ comp laws. Due to the generally severe nature of railway worker injuries, the government enacted laws at the federal level to help protect injured railroad workers from employer negligence. As such, there are a lot of differences between FELA and workers’ compensation, including what doctor the victim is required to see for treatment.

A doctor who is partnered with or employed by a rail company might not run the proper tests or give you an accurate diagnosis in order to ensure they maintain their mutually beneficial arrangement with the railroad which relies on putting profits ahead of the safety and well-being of workers. With this in mind, FELA allows you to see your own doctor. It is also worth noting that you are not required to waive your doctor/patient privilege. Even though your employer is processing your medical bills, it does not entitle them to discuss your injuries or treatment plan with your doctor. Likewise, they are not allowed to have a representative present during your examination or access your medical records. 

What Should I Do After I See a Doctor for My Injuries?

After you see a doctor for your railroad-related injuries, you need to complete an injury report. Do not let anyone who works for your employer fill this form out for you, and be sure to detail every single injury you received. If you are asked to give the claims department a statement, you should contact a qualified Norfolk FELA attorney right away before you respond to any requests for statements or other information.  

Helping Injured Railway Workers Since 1985

If you were injured during the course and scope of your employment as a railroad worker, the experienced Norfolk FELA attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help you understand your rights and advise you on the best way to recover the financial compensation you need after being injured by railroad negligence. Many personal injury firms are ill-equipped to effectively handle the intricacies of a FELA claim so our decades of experience are essential to a successful resolution, like the $400,000 settlement we secured for a railroad worker who sustained a serious back injury. To schedule a free consultation regarding your railroad injury case, call (833) 997-1774 or fill out the quick contact form on our website. For your convenience, we have offices in Norfolk, Hampton, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach.