With the on-duty rail fatality rates up in 2008 and in the first quarter of 2009, there have already been seven (7), now is the time to make sure that you and your railroad spouse have all of your important paperwork in order and within arm’s reach.
One can never have enough information on hand in case something happens to our spouses that work on the railroad. I was unfortunate enough to have to put that information to use almost 4 years ago when my late husband, G.Y. Bailey, was killed while at work in a head-on collision in dark territory in Shepherd, TX. on September 15, 2005. Several years before his death, we had sat down with BLET DLC Robert Tramuto of Jones, Granger, Tramuto, Christy and Halstead and compiled a list of information spouse’s could use in the event their railroad worker was injured at work or God forbid, worse. Please make sure you always have this information easily accessible to your spouse at all times. We always think those types of tragedies happened to “someone else”, yet in the blink of an eye, I became that someone else. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact any of your BLET DLC’s – that’s why they are here – for the railroad workers and their families in our times of need.
What to do if railroad officials or claim agents contact you to inform you of an injury or death of your spouse
1) Make ANY railroad officials or claim agents contacting you in person identify themselves
2) Find out exactly where your spouse is located and what his/her condition is.
3) Allow NO railroad representatives into your home.
4) DO NOT volunteer any information. Make NO statements – verbal, written or recorded.
5) If in public, get all needed information and walk away. Again, make NO statements.
6) If a railroad official calls you on the phone, get the needed information and hang up. Again, make NO statements. Monitor all calls if you have Caller ID and an answering machine.
7) DO NOT sign anything.
8) DO NOT accept anything from them.
9) After you have the needed information, have no further contact with ANY railroad officials or claim agents until after you have contacted a BLET Designated Legal Counsel. Make certain that the railroad official is informed that they are not to contact you or any member of your family from this time forward until you want to make contact with them.
10) At the hospital, DO NOT allow railroad officials or claim agents into the hospital room or treatment area.
11) Instruct railroad officials and claim agents to have NO contact with the patient, family or any medical personnel treating your spouse. Inform them that BLET Designated Legal Counsel has been notified. This will back them off very quickly.
12) DO NOT allow any railroad officials or claim agents to make ANY decisions concerning medical treatment or arrangements for your spouse.
13) Sign ONLY necessary medical forms from the hospital that are for the treatment of your spouse. Make NO statements to any medical personnel except in regard to the medical treatment for your spouse.
14) Make certain ALL medical personnel know of these instructions and abide by them. Insist that the Doctor/Patient confidentiality be observed.
15) When and where you can, especially if your spouse has been medicated, make certain that your spouse gives a consistent history of the accident to each medical provider that may inquire. Consistency of the event is very important, as medical providers will be questioned by the railroad officials.
REMEMBER… Anything you say to a railroad official and/or claims agent will be used against you and your spouse in order to protect the railroad’s interest.
Paperwork you should always have on hand in the case of any injury or death
1) Names and phone numbers to your local division’s union officers: Local Chairman, President, Secretary/Treasurer, Vice President, Chaplain.
2) Names and phone numbers of the BLET Designated Legal Counsel members in your area can be found at www.ble-t.org
3) All insurance policies: Health, Disability, Job Insurance, Life Insurance
4) Your current wills. Everyone should have one, no matter what your age.
5) Other important paperwork, such as a living will, DNR, power of attorney or organ donor information.
6) Names and phone numbers of the BLET National Auxiliary Officers at www.bletauxiliary.net