Although there are probably more than 10, here are the key reasons that any railroad employee or family member who has a car wreck injury should contact our firm and not just any lawyer who claims to do personal injury:
1. Our law firm focuses exclusively on injury law. We also have extensive experience handling FELA claims for on-duty railroad workers and car accidents.
2. We employ investigators who are ex-railroad men to help us work up all cases including FELA and automobile accidents. These guys know the railroad work environment and can relate to you and your situation better than people who haven’t been on the railroads for decades before coming to work for a law firm.
3. Because we regularly represent railroaders at 25% as our percentage fee in FELA cases settled before suit is filed we also cut railroaders and their families a break on our fee in automobile accident cases. Most law firms who don’t represent railroaders will charge a 1/3 fee for cases that don’t go to court and 40% if they do in a standard automobile injury case. Because of our special relationship with railroaders we charge you less and your immediate family as well.
4. Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan understand railroad employment and are better able to present the lost wage claim in a car or truck accident case than other personal injury lawyers who don’t have railroad experience. I have spoken to a few railroaders over the years that have made the mistake of hiring a law firm to do an automobile accident case for them who did not know anything about railroad employment. These non FELA lawyers did not know hot to present the lost wages. They couldn’t figure out how railroaders were paid or how to deal with the personnel department of the major railroads like Norfolk Southern and CSX. Our law firm has been down this road many times. We know hot to fairly compensate you for your lost time. Because we also have lots of experience dealing with the United States Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) we understand how things work on the railroad that a non FELA lawyer would not, such as how sickness benefits work, and how occupational disability work.
5. Because our law firm has represented so many railroad workers in personal injury car wrecks cases in Virginia (VA), North Carolina (NC), West Virginia (WV), and Washington D.C. we know how to the health insurance system for railroaders works. We know what we have to do as far as paying back the health insurance company at the end of the case and getting them to reduce the claim for reimbursement. An attorney who doesn’t know to do this may leave you with some unknown and unexpected bill after the case is closed. We can make sure that the doctors don’t refuse to treat you or refuse to accept your health insurance misunderstanding how railroad workers health insurance works in the context of an automobile accident injury.
6. We can make sure that you are in the hands of qualified doctors who have treated other railroad workers before. Our firm wants you to have an excellent doctor who will give you good medical care. You also want to have a doctor who has some idea about the difficult physical demands of railroad work or is at least willing to listen. You want to have a law firm who is experience at coordinating with clients and doctors to make sure your RRB paperwork is completed properly. You want a personal injury attorney who can convince the doctor to help present the case properly in court if needed.
7. The contacts that we have as a FELA firm can help to provide witnesses like co-workers and union officials who may be necessary to prove some aspect of your injury case especially as it relates to railroad work.
8. Because we can handle significant injury cases in the FELA world we know how to work up a big injury or wrongful death case. You want the kind of proven experience and willingness to go to court on your side to balance the scales of justice in your favor against the at fault driver’s insurance company and their lawyers.
9. We are used to having railroad clients and staying in good communications with them. For example we have a toll free 800 number 1-800-752-0042, so that railroaders can contact us no matter where in the system they are working. We are used to the sometimes unusual schedule for railroad workers and can coordinate to stay in touch. For example, some maintenance of way clients I know will not be home from being on the road until Friday. I make the effort to be in touch with them at their convenience. Our staff is used to having clients who are out of town and spread all over the south eastern United States. In today’s environment with email, faxes and UPS we can deliver the services all over the country conveniently and quickly, not just in the town of Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), which happens to hold our main office. Our investigators are also spread out around the region including in Richmond, Virginia (VA), Rocky Mount, North Carolina (NC), Augusta, Georgia (GA), and Portsmouth, Virginia (VA). Our investigators are regularly driving all over to go to union meetings and meet with railroaders including such places as West Virginia (WV), Washington D.C., and South Carolina (SC).
10. Although we always want to do a good job for all of our clients, this is especially true for railroaders and their families. This is our main client base for injury cases. We are going to make sure to get as much money as we can as compensation for an injury, because it’s going to make you happier and us happier for the long haul. Because we expect to be involved with you and your co-workers in the future we protect our reputation in the railroad community as being smart, honest, ethical, and hard working accident lawyers.
For these reasons and many others we ask for the opportunity to assist you and your family with help in the common situation of a car crash with injuries or any other kind of accident.