Well, actually there are four if you count his smile and insincere greeting when he says “Hello!”
Lie#1: “I’m here to take care of you, work with me and I’ll be fair with you.”
Fact#1: Let’s face it; the claim agent’s real job is to protect the company assets. He is not your agent, but instead is the point man for the railroad’s legal department. His job is to throw you off track in an effort to diminish the value of your claim by locking you into a damaging statement, controlling your medical treatment, running the clock on your statute of limitations, and setting up intrusive surveillance on you. Even though he may be affable, he is not your friend.
Every craft on the railroad earns their wages by being productive for their railroad. If train crews are productive by moving freight, and Maintenance of Way employees are productive by installing and maintaining tracks, how do think claim agents are productive for their railroads? Claim agents are productive for their railroads by reducing the value of your work injury claim to save their railroads money. So how exactly is the claim agent going to be fair with you? He will be about as fair with you as Col. Sanders is with his chickens.
Lie #2: “I will pay all your medical bills.”
Claim agents mislead you, and your medical providers, by making you believe that they are covering your medical costs. They have even been known to mislead by calling your claim a worker’s compensation claim, despite knowing that you’re covered under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA).
Fact#2: Your own insurance is paying your bills. This is the same insurance plan that your union negotiated for you - the same insurance that covers all your medical bills off or on the job. The railroad would only be paying the co-pay, and if it doesn’t do that the unpaid co-pays becomes part of your damages. When it receives your bills, all the railroad does is process your paperwork.
Lie #3: “If you don’t get an attorney I will pay you what your case is worth.”
Fact #3: Eighty percent of injured railroad workers settle cases without an attorney. That 80% only gets 30% of the money that the railroads pay out in claims. The 20% of the injured railroaders who hire attorneys wind up getting the other 70% that the railroads pay out. The math doesn’t lie.
Our legal advice is free. If you are injured, call Hoey & Farina.