Unfortunately, railroad workers are subjected to hazards and harm on a regular basis, from hazardous substance exposure to defective heavy machinery. You may also realize that the repetitive nature of heavy lifting can leave you with chronic injuries. If you’ve suffered repetitive stress injuries due to the nature of your work, you may not know whether or not you’re eligible to receive compensation under FELA. Keep reading to learn more about these injuries and how a railroad lifting injury lawyer can help you proceed if you’ve been hurt.
What Are Repetitive Stress Injuries?
Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) can develop as the result of a continuous motion or action, such as heavy lifting. When you overextend or strain a body part, it can cause cumulative trauma. Actions like pulling switches and getting on and off moving equipment are common causes of RSIs in railroad workers.
Unfortunately, these injuries can become debilitating with time, making it extremely difficult to complete basic tasks like typing, driving, cooking, or eating. Injuries can include carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff tears, tendinitis, chronic back pain, and epicondylitis, among other conditions. These injuries do not develop immediately, since they are the result of significant overuse. For example, if an employee must move large equipment once or twice a year, they will not suffer from RSIs, whereas someone whose daily tasks involve moving heavy objects can suffer these injuries.
Can Railroads Prevent Injuries?
It is the responsibility of the railroad to modify the tasks of an employee to help prevent RSIs as they must protect the health of the workers. In many cases, they have prevented employees from getting on or off moving equipment and implemented mandatory maximums for working hours. However, it is not unheard of for railroad companies to disregard the safety of their employees in favor of maximizing profits.
Railroads should rotate repetitive tasks between employees to prevent one worker from sustaining the brunt of the assignment. Similarly, employers must provide break periods to allow laborers to rest, which can help prevent injuries.
What Should I Do If I’m Hurt?
It may be more challenging to prove RSIs instead of a singular accident, especially if it happened decades ago. These injuries can be covered under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) if you can prove the railroad was negligent through testimony.
Though it can be challenging to prove an RSI, it is important to keep all medical records associated with seeking medical treatment for your injuries. The railroad company may claim the injuries you sustained are the result of activities in your personal life, so medical records can help disprove these claims.
When you’re hurt, Doran & Murphy can help. Our dedicated legal team has the experience you need to assist if you’ve suffered as the result of repetitive, heavy lifting while working for a railroad company. Contact us today to learn how we can help you through this challenging time.