Toxic chemical exposure is just one of many hazards that railroad workers face every day. Whether the owners of these railroads intend it or not, they place many of their employees in serious danger of contracting life-threatening diseases. This applies equally to people who operate the trains and those who perform maintenance tasks. Unfortunately for these workers, obtaining compensation after contracting an occupational disease can be difficult. Federal laws exempt the railroad industry from state workers’ compensation requirements. Instead, ill employees may pursue compensation by filing a claim under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) in state or federal court. This requires workers to take an aggressive stance in measuring their losses and connecting their illnesses to incidents that occurred at the workplace. A Pennsylvania railroad toxic chemicals lawyer may be able to help. They can work to explain how railroad workers can seek compensation for their illnesses. By connecting those illnesses to toxic chemical exposure at work, an experienced railroad injury attorney could help you hold railroad companies liable in court.
Damages that an Injured Worker May Claim
For over one hundred and fifty years, the railroad has been a major employer in Pennsylvania and around the nation. It quickly became apparent that working in this industry was highly dangerous, while also being vital to the country’s growth. As a result, Congress passed the FELA, and it remains in effect to this day. This law holds railroad companies directly responsible for injuries that affect their workers and provides that workers may bring claims against their employers directly for their losses.
These losses can be substantial. Even brief exposure to toxic substances can affect a person’s skin, eyes and lungs. Prolonged exposure can increase the chances of developing certain types of cancers and lung diseases. A railroad work setting that exposes workers to these hazards leaves its employer liable to provide compensation for the resulting losses. This includes payments for medical treatment, lost wage reimbursement, and replacement vocational training. A seasoned railroad toxic chemicals attorney in Pennsylvania could help to explain the legal processes behind claiming compensation.
Toxic Chemicals and Substances Common in the Railroad Industry
Every worker in the railroad industry faces exposure to toxic substances on a daily basis. This applies even to workers in rail stations and conductors in passenger cars. Modern diesel engines emit toxic fumes as a byproduct of burning fuel. These fumes can penetrate a person’s lungs, causing severe damage.
Toxic substance exposure can also affect maintenance workers in shops and railyards. For years, the railroad industry relied on asbestos to insulate buildings and prevent heat transfer on boilers. It is also a common substance on brake pads. When disturbed, asbestos can aerosolize and enter a worker’s lungs. Even if it cannot be seen, these particles can lead to lung, throat, esophageal and stomach cancers.
Even employees who work outdoors may face exposure to harsh chemicals and toxic substances. Workers employed to fix railbeds or ties can encounter creosote, a natural byproduct of the process used to treat wood. If the substance is absorbed into the clothing, it can come into prolonged contact with the skin and cause cancer. A diligent Pennsylvania railroad toxic chemicals attorney could help to investigate the cause of a person’s illness and connect it to time spent working for the railroad.
Let a Pennsylvania Railroad Toxic Chemicals Lawyer Take the Lead
Working for one of Pennsylvania’s railroads comes with many risks. Not the least of these are the toxic chemicals that are present in the equipment and structures prevalent in the industry. Even workers who do not deal with the substances directly may face exposure in accidents or their everyday activities.
The resulting injuries can be catastrophic. Multiple forms of cancer have a link to toxic substance exposure. This can require intensive medical care and affect your overall quality of life and ability to earn a living. If you have received a diagnosis because of toxic chemicals at work, you have the right to seek compensation.
A Pennsylvania railroad toxic chemicals lawyer could help you in this process. Unlike most employees, railroad workers do not enjoy protection under workers’ compensation laws. An attorney could work to explain your rights and seek payments in lawsuits from your employer. Call today to discuss your case.