Railroad workers face hazardous conditions at work that most workers never will face in their workplaces. One such hazard is exposure to toxic chemicals in the industrial solvents used to clean train cars and engines. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to hazardous toxins, you may have New York railroad industrial solvent exposure claims to pursue. An experienced railroad injury lawyer may be able to examine your circumstances and gather evidence in support of your industrial solvent exposure claim. When railroad companies expose you to hazards and make you sick, they could be held liable for damages. Reach out to a seasoned railroad injury attorney to learn about your legal options for recovering compensation.
What Are The Health Risks of Exposure to Industrial Solvents?
Railroad workers must use potent industrial solvents to remove the grease, dust, and grime that railcars and engines collect daily. As a result, these solvents must contain potent and often toxic chemicals that are effective but dangerous, such as benzene. When workers inhale these chemicals, or their skin comes into direct contact with them, the results can be disastrous.
Immediate side effects of exposure to benzene and other chemicals commonly found in industrial solvents include headaches, dizziness, neurological issues, and irregular heartbeat. The long-term effects, however, are far more severe.
In extreme cases, industrial solvent exposure can result in various forms of cancer, such as:
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Lung cancer
If railroad workers develop cancer or other medical conditions due to dangerous chemicals, they may have railroad industrial solvent exposure claims in New York. When employers are careless in exposing their workers to harmful substances, they can be responsible for the costs of any illnesses or medical conditions that those workers develop.
What Are Federal Employers’ Liability Act Claims?
Most workers can utilize the worker’s compensation system for financial assistance with work-related injuries and illnesses. However, railroad workers do not qualify for these benefits. Railroad workers must seek relief for work-related medical conditions through the Federal Employers’ Liability Act or FELA.
Unlike worker’s compensation, however, FELA benefits require a showing of negligence on behalf of the employer. Worker’s compensation is a no-fault system in that if workers suffer injuries or illnesses due to workplace conditions, they are entitled to benefits. Under FELA, workers must provide evidence that the negligence of their employers directly caused their illness or injury.
Benzene is a known carcinogen that the United States has banned for use in consumer products. Unfortunately, it still is a component of many industrial-strength solvents that are commonly used in the railroad industry. As a result, employers who insist that their employees use solvents containing benzene may be liable if their employees develop cancer or other health conditions.
Damages in FELA Claims
Various damages may be available in FELA claims based on exposure to benzene and other chemicals found in industrial solvents. These damages may include:
- Medical expenses related to the work-related injury or illness
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Lost wages due to an inability to work
While the law often imposes limits on worker’s compensation benefits, injured railroad workers may be entitled to damages, including medical expenses and wage replacement, for life. Furthermore, if chemical solvent exposure leads to death, surviving family members also may have a claim for wrongful death.
Let a New York Railroad Injury Attorney Help With Your Exposure Claim
Engaging the assistance of legal counsel may be crucial to your ability to effectively bring New York railroad industrial solvent exposure claims. An experienced railroad injury attorney may be able to gather evidence, consult medical professionals, and help you build a strong claim for damages. By proving a correlation between your chemical exposure on the job and your medical condition, legal counsel may be able to pursue your claims under FELA.
Proving negligence in a railroad injury claim is not always an easy task. Getting the proof that you need to substantiate your claim may be more attainable with a skilled railroad injury lawyer at your side.