The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) provides important legal protections and a path to financial compensation to all railroad workers who are injured while on the job, including engineers, firemen, conductors, brakemen, carmen, trackmen, machine operators, machinists, mechanics, pipefitters, electricians, welders, laborers, signal maintainers, bridge and building workers, yardmasters, and clerks. What many workers may not realize is that, due to the nature of occupational exposures and the development of cancers, such as lung cancer, railroad workers may still bring a FELA claim even after they retire or otherwise no longer work for the railroad.

Cancer is a disease in which some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and spread into surrounding tissues. These abnormal cells kill the normal cells in the body and disrupt normal body functions. There are more than 100 types of cancer, many of which can be attributed to exposure to asbestos, diesel exhaust, silica, solvents, and pesticides. The types of cancer most commonly associated with toxic exposures encountered on the railroad are: lung cancer, colorectal cancer, throat cancer, blood cancer (leukemia), kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and mesothelioma. Some cancers progress very quickly, while others can take much longer to develop. Mesothelioma, for example, can take 20-50 years to develop after initial asbestos exposure. Lung cancer, on the other hand, can develop in just a few years.

Just because a worker is retired or otherwise no longer employed by the railroad, doesn’t mean their cancer was not caused by the exposures they encountered while on the job. As such, a worker may still have a valid FELA claim for lung cancer even after retirement. We have obtained compensation for clients who retired from the railroad 10, 20, 30, and even 40 years prior to developing cancer. Whether a worker retires, is disabled, or leaves for other employment, the railroad may still be held accountable for the toxic exposures a worker faced while on the job. If you or a loved one worked for the railroad and have developed a cancer such as lung cancer, even after retirement, please contact us to discuss your exposures and your rights under the FELA.