Do not sign a statement until you know your rights



Right after an accident, many railroads try to get the injured employee to sign a statement or make out reports and forms as to how the accident happened. Experience shows that the employee frequently signs a statement without reading it or without understand the trick wording with which such "statements" are loaded. Such "statements" often include weasel-words with which the claim agent intends to prove that the accident was not the fault of the railroad, or any of its employees, but was the fault of the injured person. Such "statements" often include hidden phrases which describe the railroad worker's injury as not serious.

Do not make any statements, either orally or in writing, and do not fill out any forms nor make any reports of any kind, signed or unsigned, as to how the accident occurred, until you have been fully advised by your attorney. Most union agreements with the railroads specifically provide that an employee is entitled to representation even in an "investigation." Even if no such union provision exists, the Federal Employers' Liability Act gives an injured employee the right to have representation in any and all aspects of the claim. Many claims have been defeated or sharply reduced in the amount because injured railroaders sign statements or fill out forms or make reports which they do not carefully read or properly understand.

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Published by Brotherhood Railway Carmen Division of TCU
Heartland Lodge 6760, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA, August 16, 1996
Revised August 29, 2012