Like most workers, those who are injured while working on the railroad may also be able to assert a workers’ compensation claim. However, railroad workers are subject to a particular type of workers’ compensation, which is based on federal law—the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Unlike state-sponsored workers’ compensation, railroad workers must prove that their employer made a mistake or omission that resulted in the injury.
Proving fault that amounts to negligence can be tough. Most injured workers will have to hire an expert to help them prove their case and get benefits for a railroad worker injury case. Usually, the worker will connect with an attorney who commonly works with railroad worker injury cases and has experience hiring the appropriate experts.
How Does an Expert Help with a Railroad Worker Injury Case?
A medical expert’s job in a railroad worker injury case is to evaluate the employee and describe the damage to the jury. The expert will tell the employee’s story with the extra support of his or her medical background.
The type of testimony that the expert provides will vary a great deal depending on the injury involved. In cases that involve complex wounds, the medical evidence could be extensive. In fact, presenting the expert’s findings can take several days, particularly if your injury involves cumulative trauma or an injury that is going to result in long-term medical problems. You often must allow the railroad an opportunity to speak with the expert before trial as well, which means that that the expert may need to undergo a deposition.
In addition to offering testimony, the medical expert will also provide a written report to support his or her findings. Part of that report will include information about how the injury happened. In a railroad worker injury case, you must show that your injury was caused by a work-related incident. An expert will be able to demonstrate how your injury is connected to the accident. In some circumstances, the expert will need to visit the location of the accident to understand how the injury occurred fully.
Hiring an Expert Witness for a Railroad Injury Case
In most circumstances, your workers’ compensation attorney will hire your expert witness on your behalf. The right expert witness for your case will depend on your type of injury and the evidence that you need to present. For example, if you have a back injury, you will need someone who specializes in working with back injuries. Experience is critical.
An expert witness can be very expensive. However, because these experts are crucial for railroad injury cases, the cost is usually well spent. Nonetheless, experts will often charge by the hour, and their rates can vary from $100 to $1,000 per hour. Your attorney will usually front this cost for you while your case is pending, but not always.