Pennsylvania Railroad Silica Lawyer
Silica and related materials have caused injuries to many railroad workers in Pennsylvania over the years. While railroad companies were aware of the dangers, they often failed to take adequate steps to protect employees from silicosis and other harmful conditions, like COPD, that can be caused by silica dust exposure.
If you have been diagnosed with a silica dust injury after working in the railroad industry, you cannot seek help under workers’ compensation laws, but federal laws may provide compensation for the suffering you have endured. A Pennsylvania railroad silica lawyer could advise you of your rights and evaluate the potential of your claim for damages. Recovering compensation in a silica dust case can be challenging, but a knowledgeable railroad injury lawyer familiar with the process could fight to help you obtain justice and a measure of security for your future.
Silica Can Be Lethal
Silica or silicon dioxide is a combination of silicon and oxygen that can take many forms. In crystalline form, it forms a component of many types of stone, including railroad ballast. Materials containing silica make up a substantial percentage of the earth’s crust. When workers crush rock or drill into materials made up of silica, tiny particles are released into the atmosphere.
It is the tiny size of silica dust particles that make them so dangerous. The human body’s natural filters cannot keep out these particles, so workers often inhale silica dust deep into their lungs. Maintenance of way workers often face dangerous exposure to silica from railroad ballast, but other railroad employees may also be exposed. This includes conductors using sand to help with braking or workers dumping ballast while laying track. A seasoned railroad silica lawyer in Pennsylvania could work to show that a railroad employee’s job duties exposed the employee to hazardous levels of silica dust.
The Effects of Silica Exposure
Inhaling silica dust frequently results in lung problems with no known cure. As the silica irritates the lungs, scar tissue can form which traps the particles. The scar tissue often develops into nodules that interfere with breathing. This condition is known as silicosis.
Silica is also classified as a carcinogen responsible for causing lung cancer. Although lung damage may occur after a short period of exposure to silica dust, it may take years for the effects to become evident. If a doctor issues a diagnosis of lung cancer or silicosis, a knowledgeable Pennsylvania railroad silica attorney could seek evidence to connect the diagnosis to exposure in the railroad industry, even if the exposure occurred long in the past.
Recovering Compensation for Silica Dust Injuries
Although railroad workers are not protected by Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation scheme, they are eligible to file a claim under the Federal Employers Liability Act at 45 U.S.C. §51 et. Seq. The employee must be prepared to show that the employer’s negligence led to the injuries suffered, which is not required in workers’ compensation cases.
However, railroad workers who are able to prove negligence may recover substantially more compensation than the benefits available through workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania. An injured worker may receive damages to cover not only the costs of past and future medical care and lost wages, but also pain, suffering, and other intangible effects.
Silica Exposure and Cigarette Smoking
Cigarette smoking can cause lung disease and lung cancer. Smoking and silica dust can work together to cause lung cancer. Consequently, even cigarette smokers can still have a claim for cancer-related to silica exposure. Call an experienced Pennsylvania attorney to find out what your rights are.
Consult a Pennsylvania Railroad Silica Attorney
Many workers in the railroad industry should have been provided with respirators or other protection to prevent lung damage caused by exposure to silica. However, companies often put profits ahead of safety, and in those cases, they should be held liable.
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with silicosis, lung cancer, or another potentially fatal ailment after working in the railroad industry, consult a knowledgeable Pennsylvania railroad silica lawyer. You may be eligible for substantial compensation to meet your own needs and provide for your family. Call today to learn more about your options.