By using high heat to fuse metal parts together, the welding process releases metal vapor into the air. Workers exposed to this vapor are at increased risk for developing a variety of health problems such as lung cancer, other types of cancer, and kidney damage. Employers in the railroad industry were often aware of the dangers posed by welding yet failed to provide sufficient protective measures for workers. A Pennsylvania railroad welding fumes lawyer may be able to show that an employer’s failure to protect workers makes the company liable for occupationally-related disease. If a railroad injury lawyer can establish liability, railroad workers may be able to receive substantial compensation for harm caused by exposure to welding fumes.
Damages Available to Railroad Workers Harmed By Welding Fumes
Workers suffering health problems caused by exposure to welding fumes could receive damages to offset many different consequences of their injuries. These include economic effects such as medical costs and intangible losses such as pain and mental anguish. A Pennsylvania railroad welding fumes attorney could assist in recovering compensation for factors such as:
- Lost wages due to time missed from work
- Doctor bills
- Emotional distress
- Future reduced income
- Expected medical needs in the future
- Loss of enjoyment of favorite activities
An experienced railroad injury lawyer could calculate a reasonable value for each factor. This value provides a yardstick to measure the adequacy of any settlement offers received.
What Is The Harm Caused by Welding Fumes?
Different materials are released during the welding process, depending on the composition of the metals being joined and the elements added to the weld pool. When manganese is released and inhaled by railroad workers, it can cause lung cancer or Parkinson’s disease. Manganese may also settle in the brain, leading to a variety of disabling conditions or toxic encephalopathy.
A welder working on a steel railroad car painted with lead paint could release fumes containing manganese as well as lead, nickel, cadmium, and chromium. Repeated exposures to these substances could lead to multiple cancers and other illnesses in welders as well as other workers in railroad shops. Central nervous system disorders and kidney damage can result, as well as lung cancer, urinary tract cancer, and laryngeal cancer. A railroad welding fumes lawyer in Pennsylvania could gather evidence to show that a worker’s medical condition was caused by workplace exposure to welding materials.
How Can FELA Help Railroad Employees?
Railroad workers may seek compensation through a claim filed under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). This provision allows for significantly greater monetary recovery than the state workers’ compensation scheme.
However, employees must be prepared to demonstrate that their employer breached a duty of care owed to them, and this lack of responsibility lead to their injuries. For that reason, the collection of evidence is crucial, and railroad lawyers will often make use of expert witnesses.
Consult a Pennsylvania Railroad Welding Fumes Attorney
An attorney could begin right away, gathering and preserving evidence to support a claim for harm caused by exposure to welding fumes in the workplace. It can take considerable time to prepare a claim, so it is wise to consult a Pennsylvania railroad welding fumes lawyer as soon as possible after receiving a diagnosis of lung cancer or other serious medical condition that could be linked to railroad welding exposure.
If you worked near welding fumes, a railroad injury lawyer could assist in many ways, including representing your interests during questioning from insurance company representatives. To learn more about the advantages an attorney could provide, call today to schedule a consultation.