Over the decades, railroad workers consistently have faced daily exposure to carcinogenic substances and chemicals such as asbestos, creosote, diesel exhaust, and silica. All too often, this exposure to toxic substances can lead to highly debilitating and sometimes fatal diseases for workers, such as leukemia. If you or a family member has contracted leukemia or other illnesses after exposure to chemicals in the railroad industry, a railroad leukemia lawyer may be able to help. Regardless of their positions, all railroad workers may have experienced exposure to carcinogens at some point in their careers. Determining whether their leukemia or other illnesses stemmed from chemical exposure in railroad yards can be challenging. An experienced railroad injury attorney may be able to examine your situation and determine the viability of any legal claims you may have.
What is the Primary Cause of Leukemia in Railroad Workers?
One primary cause of leukemia and other blood and bone marrow disorders is benzene. This substance is a colorless, flammable liquid that has a sweet odor and quickly evaporates when exposed to air. Although a portion of this substance does occur naturally, most concentrated levels of it are human-made.
For instance, benzene is a component in diesel exhaust and vapor and may be found in other substances such as solvents, pesticides, and lubricants. As awareness of the carcinogenic nature of the hazardous substance has grown, some materials no longer contain it and some manufacturers have discontinued its usage. Although railroad workers often suffer constant exposure to hazardous substances through inhalation of diesel fumes and other sources, there is no safe level of benzene exposure.
The Different Types of Leukemia
Some of the types of cancers that may result from benzene exposure while working for a railroad include:
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Although the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) limits human exposure to benzene in the workplace, constant exposure even at low levels can be dangerous. Plus, some railroad companies may fail to provide workers with adequate protection against exposure or ensure that they are not exposed to significant amounts of the dangerous substance. When railroad workers suffer illnesses like leukemia due to hazardous materials and substances, consulting a leukemia lawyer for railroad workers may be wise. Speak to a benzene lawyer to discuss the steps to take following exposure to the hazardous substance.
How Can Injured Railroad Workers Seek Compensation?
Federal law exempts railroad workers from state worker’s compensation laws. The exclusive remedy for railroad workers who develop leukemia following chemical exposure or other illnesses falls under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act or FELA. This federal law allows injured railroad employees to sue if the negligence of their employers has led to their work-related illnesses or injuries.
If workers have developed leukemia as a result of chemical exposure, they must prove that negligent behavior by their employers caused their illness. Some examples of potentially negligent behavior in this situation may include:
- Improper training in handling chemicals and taking safety precautions
- Failure to provide necessary safety equipment
- Required use of hazardous materials in daily work
All these types of negligence might exist in a FELA claim related to railroad workers developing leukemia and other diseases as a result of exposure to harmful substances. Proving negligence on the part of the employer can enable the injured or ill worker to seek compensation for their losses. A railroad benzene exposure lawyer may be useful in gathering the evidence necessary to prove a FELA claim.
Let a Railroad Leukemia Attorney Help Today
FELA claims may rely on determining the causal relationships between leukemia and the duties of railroad workers. Since benzene exposure is frequent in railyards, any lack of training or safety equipment can result in workers developing leukemia or similarly severe diseases. A railroad leukemia lawyer may be able to assist these workers in recovering compensation for their losses under the FELA claims process.
Damages in case of severe injuries or illnesses can be extensive, including medical bills, costs of future medical care, lost income and earning capacity, and more. Diseases such as leukemia may be permanently debilitating and even fatal. Railroad workers who have developed injuries or illnesses due to chemical exposure should not hesitate to contact legal counsel for advice and guidance. Schedule a consultation today.