Q: Do I Need to Report an Accident?
A: Most railroads require that you report an accident as soon as it occurs, and that you give some information on how the accident happened. Some railroads have accident forms that ask very detailed questions, like "what did the railroad do wrong," and "how the accident could have been avoided." Remember, the accident report is the single most important document for a claim on the railroad! You have to remember that the FELA is a fault statute, and you must put something in your accident report to show that your accident was caused by something the railroad or some railroad employee other than you did wrong. It can be some hole in the ballast, or uneven walking surface that you could not see. It can be a switch that jams while you are throwing it. It can be a slippery substance that causes you to fall. Whatever it is, you must put it down or tell it to your supervisor. Don't depend on the railroad to find a reason for your accident, because if you do, they will find that you were the cause of your injury! It is also a good idea to get a fellow worker to look at what caused your accident so that it is not just your word against a boss's word. Then when you get home, write everything down so that you can remember every detail of what you said and what happened. Do not depend on your memory.