At Garrett, Letbetter & Payne we've done our best to create a Website that anticipates and satisfies our clients' needs. With that goal in mind, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions. If you do not find an answer to your question here, contact us at 713-305-7261 or 713-882-6041; or email

Q: How soon after an injury should I consult a lawyer?

    A: After almost every accident the railroad management and claims agents take statements, require accident reports, take photographs, and make inspections, for the purposes of denying fault by the railroad; putting blame on the injured worker; and minimizing the injuries and damages to the injured railroad worker.  While some evidence reported may be of benefit to an injured railroad worker, it is undeniably true that railroad management and the railroad claims department represent the interests of the railroad in dealing with an injured employee.  Accordingly, an injured railroad employee should consult a lawyer as soon as it appears that the cause of his injuries, or the severity of his injuries, may become an issue between him and his railroad employer.

Q: Do I have any obligation to a lawyer I talk to about questions I have?

    A: It will cost you nothing to talk to Tommy R. Letbetter or George Payne, and you have absolutely no obligation to them for discussing your situation and questions you may have.  Any conversations you have with Tommy and George will be based on consultations with them which are privileged between you and Tommy and George, and are strictly between you and your lawyers alone based upon the rules concerning legal consultations.

Q: Does my railroad employer owe me damages for my injuries just because I’m hurt on the job?

    A: No.  The railroad may owe you for your damages if its negligence played any part, no matter how small, in causing your injuries, or if it violated a specific statute or code provision which caused your injuries.  If the railroad’s liability is based upon its negligence, the railroad will attempt to prove that the injured employee is also negligent, and try to reduce the amount of the injured worker’s damages by the percentage which the railroad worker may be found to be at fault in causing his injuries. 

Q: If I have to hire a lawyer, what will it cost?

    A: There is no fee and no charge for litigation expenses if no recovery is made for our client.  If a recovery is made, the expenses of the litigation are first deducted from the total recovery and the fee is based on a percentage of the remaining net recovery.  Generally, an estimate of expenses can be made in the initial discussion of the facts with an injured person.

Q: Do I have to let the railroad dictate my medical care?

    A: Although there are circumstances in which you may have to see a doctor selected by the railroad, generally speaking a railroad employee has the right to select his own treating doctor. 

Q: Does the railroad control payment of all of the expenses for my medical care?

    A: No.  At times the railroad may assume control of the payment of expenses, but the railroad cannot deny an employee’s right to payment for medical expenses under his medical insurance agreements.

Q: Who decides whether to try my case or settle it?

    A: Only the injured person can decide whether to settle his case or try his case to jury verdict.  Tommy and George answer any questions an injured person has about his case based upon their many years of experience.  However, Tommy and George remain committed to trying cases to jury verdict for persons who desire a trial, and to settling only those cases in which the injured party believes it is in the interest of himself and his family to settle his case.

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