Railroad workers can sustain various types of ankle injuries due to the nature of their work. Railroad jobs often involve carrying heavy equipment, walking extended distances on uneven terrain, physically demanding tasks, and getting on and off moving equipment (GOOME), all of which put workers at a high risk of sustaining railroad ankle injuries. Ankle injuries are particularly troubling for railroad workers because they almost always require downtime for recovery, preventing them from working and earning a living. Some common types of railroad ankle injuries include:

  1. Sprains: Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments that support the ankle stretch or tear due to sudden twisting or rolling of the foot. Railroad workers may experience sprains from slipping, tripping, or jumping from moving equipment.
  2. Strains: Ankle strains involve the stretching or tearing of muscles or tendons around the ankle joint. These injuries can result from overexertion, repetitive movements, or sudden movements while lifting or carrying heavy objects.
  3. Fractures: Ankle fractures occur when one or more of the bones in the ankle joint break. This can happen due to a direct blow to the ankle or from twisting the ankle forcefully. Fractures can range from minor hairline cracks to severe breaks that require surgery.
  4. Achilles tendon injuries: The Achilles tendon is a thick band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Injuries to the Achilles tendon can range from tendonitis (inflammation) to partial or complete tears. These injuries can occur from sudden movements, overuse, or direct trauma to the back of the ankle.
  5. Contusions and lacerations: Railroad workers may also suffer ankle contusions (bruises) or lacerations (cuts) from impact with objects or equipment on the job site.

Each of these injuries can vary in severity and may require different treatments, ranging from rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE therapy) for minor injuries to surgical intervention for more severe cases. When surgery is required, railroad employees can potentially miss time from work, or worse, and may not be able to return to work, due to permanent limitations caused by their injuries. This can result in significant amounts of lost wages, pain & suffering, and emotional distress. Thankfully, compensation for all of these losses is available through the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (“FELA”).

The FELA is a federal law that provides railroad workers with the right to sue their employer for injuries caused or contributed to by the railroad’s negligence. Even if you were also at fault for your injury, you may still be eligible for compensation under the FELA. If you’ve sustained a railroad ankle injury, you should consider consulting with a FELA attorney right away. An attorney with experience in FELA cases can help you understand your rights, navigate the legal process, and seek full and fair compensation for your injuries, including ankle injuries. They can assess your case, gather evidence, and advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the money you deserve for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and emotional distress. At Doran & Murphy, our consultations are always free. Contact us today to discuss your rights and options.