Frequently
Asked
Questions

How much does a railroad injury lawyer cost?

Our team at Roven Camp does not collect any upfront costs. We will work with you day and night on your case, and we won’t get paid until you do. We also do not charge for phone calls, copies or any other general office overhead items. Unlike some lawyers, we don’t charge interest on our invested expenses in your case.

If we are not able to obtain a recovery for you, you don’t owe us anything.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit if I am injured while working for the railroad?

Generally speaking, railroad employees have 3 years from the date you knew or should have known that you were injured and that your injury was caused by the Railroad.

Do railroad workers get workers’ compensation?

Railroad employees who work for railroads doing business in interstate commerce are NOT covered by state workers’ compensation laws. Instead, the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) is a federal statute specifically intended to cover railroad employees who are injured on the job – and in almost every case, it’s even better than workers’ compensation. It’s important to note, however, that FELA is a fault-based statute, which makes it different from workers’ compensation.

What is a FELA claim?

While workers’ compensation claims are filed through the worker’s insurance company, FELA lawsuits are filed directly in either state or federal court – typically with the help of a dedicated and experienced FELA lawyer.

Do I need a lawyer to represent me in my FELA case?

This depends on the seriousness of your injury and the complexity of your case. At a minimum, you should speak to an attorney experienced in railroad (FELA) law. At Roven Camp, we are happy to consult with a railroad worker free of charge and help him decide if he needs a lawyer or not.

Should I give a recorded statement to the Railroad’s Claims Department?

NO. When the railroad talks to you, all you have to do is fill out the report of personal injury. You are not required to talk or give recorded statement till speaking to an attorney.

When do I need to report a personal injury?

The best approach is to file an injury report, even if you are unsure how badly you are hurt. Even if you do not need to seek medical attention, you have complied with the rules and protected yourself in the event that the symptoms worsen or intensify with time.

If I am retired and I file a lawsuit or a claim, can it affect my pension?

Absolutely not. Your railroad retirement pension is funded through a trust fund established by the United States government and not the railroad. In our more than 50 years of combined experience, none of our retired clients have ever had their pension benefits interrupted or affected in any way.

Can Roven Camp help with other railroad retirement benefits (RRB) or insurance questions?

Yes. At Roven Camp, we will help anyone who calls with benefits, insurance, or RRB questions. Providing this service is simply part of our commitment to our rail clients.

If I go on RRB disability, can I still have an FELA case?

Yes. Being on RRB disability, whether temporary or permanent, does not prevent you from being able to file a lawsuit. However, if you are successful in the recovery of your claim, either through settlement or trial, some or all of the benefits you received from RRB disability may have to be reimbursed. Just like RRB benefits, supplemental sickness benefits also have no impact on your FELA case. Sickness benefits must, however, be reimbursed from your settlement but only if you received those sickness benefits for the very injury you are claiming in your suit.

What if I took a “buyout” when I left the Railroad and signed a paper saying I wouldn’t sue them again… can I still file for occupational disease that appears later?

The FELA law protects you from losing your rights in this situation. Money you were paid in a “buyout” was paid in lieu of wages and was taxed. Personal injury settlements are not subject to federal income tax. Therefore, the courts have found that the railroads are barred from claiming that a simple “buyout” constitutes a release of all claims when it was intended to merely buy out wage and seniority rights.

What if I get hurt in a company vehicle, van, or hotel, or on the property of another industry while on company time? Do I have an FELA case?

Yes, in almost every situation you do. Under the Supreme Court’s interpretation of FELA, a railroad must provide a reasonably safe place to work, regardless of where your job takes you. This is true even if you are a crew member assigned sleeping quarters in a private hotel arranged for by the railroad. In that case, the private hotel or motel stands in the shoes of the railroad and must provide you with a reasonably safe environment. If not, the railroad remains liable for the contractor’s (hotel, motel, shuttle service, etc.) negligence under FELA.

How do Supplemental Sickness Benefits affect my FELA case?

Just like disability benefits, supplemental sickness benefits also have no impact on your FELA case. Sickness benefits must, however, be repaid out of your settlement but only if you received those sick benefits for the very injury you are claiming in your suit.

Does the Railroad really engage in video surveillance of injured workers?

If you are injured at work, it is possible that the railroad police or a private investigative firm may be hired to record your activities. This usually does not happen, but it certainly has happened in the past and is still not uncommon. Most surveillance occurs when the claims agent does not believe that the worker is badly injured, or if he refuses to see the Railroad’s chosen doctor. Sometimes, the railroad will engage in surveillance at a point closer to resolution of the case (or close to trial) if they think they can demonstrate that the worker is actually capable of physical activities that he is claiming have been curtailed or eliminated. In cases of honestly reported injuries, these attempts almost always backfire on the railroad.

Does every railroad case get filed?

No, but many do. In cases of active railroad workers who have been injured, we have found that settlement negotiations are usually more productive for our clients after a lawsuit is actually filed and pending. The suit puts pressure and deadlines on the railroad making them more responsive. In some cases, however, particularly those involving retirees where the likelihood of trial is small, the filing of a lawsuit may not be necessary. In limited, it depends on the case, the railroad, and the injury. We discuss all of these dynamics with you before we make that determination.

This is not our first rodeo.

We’ve dedicated our careers to working with injured railroad workers to get the compensation and treatment they deserve.

If we decide to work together, we will use our years of experience and resources to help you fight for your rights.

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