Hoey & Farina has been conducting Family Seminars to help your loved ones understand the FELA and what must be done if you have suffered a serious injury or wrongful death at work.
As a result, railroaders have come to Hoey & Farina and asked for a checklist of things their spouse or other family member should do in the event of a serious injury or wrongful death at work.
To begin, a work injury is not restricted to any age group, sex or occupation. It is an event that can occur at any time and to any railroad worker. Hoey & Farina encourages you to take steps today so that you will be prepared if such a railroad work tragedy should happen to you and your family member.
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To protect your financial interests, please consider investing in some type of occupational disability insurance policy. The policy must pay you an income stream if you are injured while at work, regardless of the circumstances. Be sure to discuss with the insurance agent the type of coverage you are seeking and understand the terms and conditions of the policy before you purchase the policy.
When a traumatic injury occurs, Hoey & Farina knows how important it is for the family to get to the hospital as quickly as possible to offer their comfort and support to the injured railroader, as well as each other. It is also as important that they immediately contact Hoey & Farina, railroad union approved Designated Legal Counsel, to take the necessary steps to protect the best interests of the injured worker.
Once at the ER, the hospital staff needs to be advised immediately to keep all non-family members and railroad officials away from the injured railroader and the family. Specific instructions need to be given to the Charge Nurse or the hospital’s Risk Manager that the railroad supervisors are to stay in the waiting room and out of the emergency treatment area. If contacted quickly, Hoey & Farina will take care of this matter as soon as we arrive at the hospital.
Understand that in the event of an emergency the railroad will send a representative, who the family may know, to the hospital - typically a supervisor. The representative's objective is to gather information in support of the railroad's investigation of the accident that is already taking place on the property. The railroad will be very persistent about seeing the family and the injured worker, and offer its sympathy and support. However, the railroad must be kept from discussing the accident with the family and interrogating the injured worker. The railroad’s representative is there to interrogate the injured railroader and gather information about him from the family.
It is also very important that Hoey & Farina, as railroad union approved Designated Legal Counsel, is given the legal authority to begin an immediate investigation of the accident on behalf of the injured worker, to preserve any evidence and protect the injured worker's interests. Recently, the railroads have taken the position in litigation that because the injured railroader is incapacitated as a result of his injury, the spouse or other family members do not have legal standing to retain Designated Legal Counsel and authorize the filing of a lawsuit so that an immediate investigation on the behalf of the injured worker can begin. It is our advice that you, the railroad worker, have a Durable Power of Attorney authorizing one such individual who has the authority to retain Hoey & Farina as Designated Legal Counsel in the event you suffer a traumatic injury and unable to make that decision. For your benefit we have included a sample Durable Power of Attorney from the State of Illinois. Your state of residence may have different requirements. Please contact Hoey & Farina for further advice concerning a Durable Power of Attorney document for your state. As we emphasize during every Hoey & Farina Family Seminar, now is the time to sit down with your family members and discuss what steps should be taken, and by whom, in the event you suffer a traumatic injury at work on the railroad. At a very difficult and emotional time such as having a family member seriously injured, we believe that the family should be able to focus on providing care, comfort and support to the injured worker, and not have to worry about legal issues. To relieve part of the burden on you and your family at the time of a serious work injury, and to give us the opportunity to assist you, the following is a checklist of steps to be taken to prepare and respond to such an emergency:
EMERGENCY RESPONSE CHECKLIST
- Hold a family meeting and discuss what steps should be taken in event of a traumatic injury at work.
- Name a spouse or adult child, or another family member, on a Durable Power of Attorney, to be able to make legal decisions for you in case of emergencies.
- Prepare a list of disability policies, e.g., work / occupational, mortgage, car, credit card or other policies - which you have purchased. Review the documents and prepare a list of the contact persons, addresses and telephone numbers.
- Give your spouse or adult child, or another family member, a copy of the Emergency Response Checklist, the Durable Power of Attorney, and instructions on where to find the disability policies.
- Place your Hoey & Farina train magnet in your house in an easily accessible location, e.g., your refrigerator. If you do not have any of our magnets, please let us know and we will mail our latest magnet to you.
- Grab the magnet as you leave the house for the hospital so you will have Hoey & Farina's telephone number.