You And Your Doctor
If you are injured, you must seek treatment from doctors of your choice. You have significant rights under the FELA for independent medical treatment. The railroad cannot compel you to see the “company doctors” at work clinics or other facilities. You should demand to see doctors of your choice and should not allow the railroad to control and influence your medical treatment.
You must be honest with your doctor. Be sure to tell your doctor how you were injured, and whether you had any prior injuries. If you fail to tell your doctor about prior injuries, you diminish your credibility, thus causing a reduction in the value of your claim.
You should also be sure to inform your doctor that you are not covered by workers’ compensation laws. Be sure your doctor understands that the FELA is NOT workers’ compensation. Explain to your doctor that although you were injured at work, the doctor and office staff should treat you exactly as if you were injured in a nonwork-related accident such as an auto accident.
Experience tells us that the railroad will attempt to invade your medical privacy rights under state and federal law if the facility where you are being treated does not adequately understand that you are not covered by workers’ compensation. As part of our initial work on railroad cases, we revoke all previous medical authorizations.
You must inform your doctors that they are not obligated to share any information about your case with your employer, except through the confines of your express authorization and the litigation process.