Should I fill out the personal injury report?
YES, you need to fill out your personal injury report as soon as possible after your injury as almost all railroad have rules that require their employees to fill this report out as close to the accident as possible. Ideally, you need to fill out the personal injury report before you leave the yard, before you leave the accident scene, if you’re able.
However, you do not have to fill out a personal injury report until you are capable in body and mind. This means that if you are in shock, pain, in the hospital undergoing treatment, taking medications that could affect your ability to competently fill out the report, you can agree to fill out the report later. Again, if you’re not able to fill it out and you’re at the hospital, you can always wait to do it. It doesn’t have to be done immediately at the hospital by a supervisor. They don’t need to put words in your mouth. You don’t need to allow them to fill it out for you. You can say once you are feeling up to it, you will immediately fill it out.
Do not let your supervisors or management fill that report out for you.
There are certain questions on the report that help the railroad if an injury claim is filed and goes to court. Some of these questions might be:
- Did the company do anything wrong that contributed to your accident?
- Was there any broken or defective equipment that failed?
- Were there any unaddressed safety issues?
- Was there an issue with the lighting?
We’ve had clients in cases answer these questions with no, indicating that the railroad did nothing wrong. There was no equipment that had failed. There was nothing defective about anything that was done during the accident. Answering no to these kinds of questions on your report when there were safety hazards contributing to your accident can hurt your case and limit your compensation.
Be short and to the point
If you’re able to fill out the personal injury report yourself, be short and to the point. Explain exactly what happened and if there is an issue with equipment, with lighting, if there was a safety issue, etc. You need to put that on that personal injury report because the railroad is going to use that report against you to say that at the time of your accident you didn’t think that the railroad did anything wrong.