Every case at Hoey & Farina is different. Some railroaders suffer a more traumatic injury than others. Some accidents are more clearly the fault of the railroad.
Under the FELA - Federal Employers’ Liability Act, the railroad is required to pay for only the damages you can prove were caused by its negligence. Thus, railroad workers with the same serious injury can have cases that are worth different amounts of money. At Hoey & Farina, every serious injury is evaluated on an individual basis, and every injured railroader treated with respect whether your case value is large or small. If the railroads are unreasonable, what is shared in common by all cases at Hoey & Farina is that your case will be handled with the same attention to all the details.
Often, a railroader will be hesitant to seek legal advice because his injury may seem relatively minor at the time. This is a mistake. More often than not, a minor injury can linger for a long period of time, resulting in a significant lost wages. If the case is not investigated in a prompt and timely manner by experienced FELA investigators who can analyze liability situations and collect proper evidence, you could be in trouble. Rest assured, the railroad's claim agents are working on behalf of the railroad when handling your case.
You need someone working on your behalf!
This principle was illustrated in a dramatic fashion recently in a claim against the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. A trainman was hurt several years ago through the combined negligence of the railroad and an outside industry. As a result of the accident, he sustained a sprained ankle. The sprained ankle caused him to begin to lose time, and the railroad began to offer light duty jobs in an attempt to reduce his lost wages claim.
The trainman looked at his situation and sought legal advice sooner rather than later. As a result, the individual and Hoey & Farina were prepared to fight for what his case was worth. Despite the fact that it appeared to be a relatively minor injury, a sprained ankle, as we advised, our client refused to accept the railroad’s settlement offer of $15,000. The case was then tried before a jury in federal court. The railroad attorney began the trial by asking the jury why everyone's time was being wasted in federal court on a sprained ankle case. During the trial, the railroad even argued to the jury that since he could work light duty, he wasn't really incapacitated as a result of the on-the-job injury.
Three days later, the jury told the railroad attorney why the case was in federal court – 118,144 reasons why. The jury confirmed why our client with our advice would not settle the case for less than it was worth – even if it was a small case according to the railroad. This terrific result should be considered in tandem with a previous article, More Than Just Words: You May Not Need a Lawyer, But You Do Need Legal Advice.