The railroad industry is plagued with hazards that are inherently dangerous. Railroad workers are exposed to high levels of harmful contaminants that can lead to the development of respiratory problems and certain forms of cancer.
There are two types of contaminants that can affect railroad workers: direct contamination associated with direct railroad work, and residual contamination associated with the goods carried in passing freight cars. Types of contaminants railroad workers may be exposed to include, but are not limited to:
- Creosote found in railroad ties
- Oil, gasoline, and other petroleum fuels
- Cleaning solvents
- Fossil fuel products
- Certain harmful metals
This environment puts workers at an elevated risk for injuries that could lead to permanent damage, even if the exposure is minimal.
Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)
The United States Congress passed the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) in 1908 in response to an unacceptable accident rate among railroad workers. This legislation aimed to promote safe practices within the railroad industry. Though conditions have improved, annually thousands of workers are injured during the course of their employment from preventable incidents.
FELA not only provides workers with the right to recover damages in relation to the injuries suffered, but also incentives railroad owners, operators and those in charge of oversight to ensure a safe working environment.
Workers diagnosed with injuries or health conditions directly associated with railroad hazards may be eligible to file a FELA lawsuit—which may include compensation for the costs associated with treatment and the impact these damages have on an individual’s quality of life and ability to continue to work. To become eligible for a FELA claim, workers must demonstrate that:
- The railroad failed to exercise due care under the existing circumstances; or
- The railroad failed to act as a reasonable and prudent person/entity would ordinarily have acted under the existing circumstances; or
- The railroad acted in a manner contrary to how a reasonable person/entity would have acted under the existing circumstances.
Cancer is one of the most prevalent occupational diseases among railroad workers and it can lead to permanent disability, great pain and suffering, and even death. It can be preventable if the railroad company simply adheres to governmental regulations and takes precautions to provide a safe workplace. Tragically, many railroaders not only develop this devastating disease through occupational exposure, they also go uncompensated
Slater Slater Schulman LLP is currently evaluating potential claims by injured individuals that may fall within a FELA claim. Previously, compensation had been provided under a FELA claim for injuries such as:
- Cumulative Trauma
- Bladder Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Hodgkins’s Lymphoma
- Kidney Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Multiple Myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Laryngeal Cancer
- Rectal Cancer
- Stomach Cancer
- Throat Cancer
- Other Cancers
A candidate for a FELA cancer claim must file an action within three years from the day that the injury or health condition occurred.
If you or someone you know have suffered an injury while working in the railroad industry, the attorneys at Slater Slater Schulman LLP are here to help. Please call our office at 1-800-251-6990, or fill out the form on this page, and our office will contact you to discuss your case.