In recognition of the dangers associated with working in the railroad industry, Congress established the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). FELA provides compensation to railroad workers who are injured or become ill as a result of their work in some circumstances. A railroad conductor injury lawyer may be able to assist current or former railroad workers with any claims for compensation that they may have. The chronic illnesses that you can contract from work in the railroad industry can be extremely severe and even fatal in some cases. As a result, when you are seeking compensation through a FELA claim, you are likely to need the help of a skilled and experienced railroad injury attorney. Getting the legal advice and representation that you need when you are facing work-related illness or injury can be crucial to a favorable outcome of your claim.
How Can Railroad Workers Seek Compensation for Damages?
Unlike most workers, railroad workers do not receive worker’s compensation benefits when they experience a workplace-related injury or illness. Under FELA, 45 U.S.C. § 51, these workers can file suit seeking compensation for their work-related injuries. Unlike worker’s compensation matters, injured railroad workers can seek payment for pain and suffering, in addition to lost wages.
In worker’s compensation cases, individuals do not have to prove any negligence or fault to claim benefits. In FELA claims, however, injured workers must prove that their employers were negligent in some way and that their negligence was a cause of their injuries. As a result, the assistance of an injury attorney for railroad conductors may be invaluable.
What Are Common Conductor Injuries in the Railroad Industry?
Conductors may suffer from various injuries while working in the railroad industry, ranging from chemical exposure to derailments or crashes to repetitive stress injuries. For instance, when the cabs of locomotives contain toxic chemicals or substances, such as asbestos, conductors may develop various cancers as a result of constant exposure. FELA may provide coverage for injuries such as these that conductors may sustain in the course of their employment.
The most common type of illnesses that railroad conductors may experience result from asbestos exposure. Conductors often were exposed to airborne asbestos stemming from asbestos-wrapped heater pipes and engine lines, deteriorating asbestos insulation, and railroad buildings.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of lung cancer that primarily results from asbestos exposure. However, asbestos exposure also may lead to other cancers, such as cancer of the larynx. Other chronic medical conditions may occur, as well, such as pulmonary fibrosis or asbestosis, which is a lung disease characterized by shortness of breath and lung tissue scarring.
Railroad conductors also may suffer cancers or other conditions that stem from different types of chemical exposure, such as:
- Diesel exhaust fumes from engine exhaust system leaks and idling engines in the railroad yards
- Silica from locomotive sanders used to assist with braking
Furthermore, conductors can suffer catastrophic injuries when standing near braking mechanisms. They often must stand outside to direct the engineer to move forward or backward, or to couple or uncouple cars. Whenever individuals suffer injuries or illnesses related to their work in the railroad industry, they may consider seeking legal guidance from an injury lawyer for railroad conductors.
Speak to a Railroad Conductor Injury Attorney Today
A railroad conductor injury lawyer can be invaluable in investigating the origin of illness or injury to railroad workers and identifying all potentially liable parties. If you are entitled to compensation for your work-related injury or illness, you are likely to need the help that only an experienced legal advocate can offer you.
Federal law establishes time limits for injured or ill workers to file claims for compensation from the railroad industry. As a result, railroad conductors and other workers should not hesitate to contact legal counsel to preserve any rights to compensation that they have. Otherwise, they may miss out on their chance to hold their employers accountable for causing risks to their health.