Injuries suffered on the job as a machinist, or another type of railroad worker can be devastating, stressful, and overwhelming. You may be unable to return to your regular job and perhaps unable to work at all. Getting ongoing treatment for your railroad machinist injuries can result in massive medical bills that may continue for the rest of your life. When the careless or negligent conduct of railroad companies leads to your injuries or illness, you may be able to seek benefits through the Federal Employers’ Liability Act. This Act (FELA) offers an exclusive legal remedy for railroad workers who are injured in the course of their employment. A seasoned railroad injury lawyer may be able to assist you in seeking FELA benefits and holding your employer responsible for its careless actions.
How Are Railroad Machinists Exposed to Hazards On-The-Job?
Machinists in the railroad industry have varying responsibilities, but they generally inspect, repair, and maintain diesel locomotives. They also regularly operate various pieces of heavy machinery and mechanical shop equipment used in their duties.
As a result of their duties, railroad machinists may be exposed to both toxic chemicals and the hazards of operating heavy machinery. Chemical exposure can lead to the development of occupational diseases, and machinery accidents can lead to crushing injuries, repetitive stress injuries, and more. These machinist injuries can result in devastating medical problems that require substantial medical care and treatment.
What Type of Injuries Could Machinists in the Railroad Industry Sustain?
Machinists often are exposed to asbestos dust while repairing or working on locomotives. Even if they do not suffer direct exposure to asbestos, the asbestos dust in the air at many railyards and shops is likely to adhere to clothing and skin, making it challenging for any railroad workers to escape exposure. Asbestos exposure can result in mesothelioma, asbestosis, other lung diseases, and some cancers, all of which can be debilitating to railroad workers.
Railroad workers such as machinists often operate diesel-powered machines, which expose them to more diesel fumes. These fumes only add to the exhaust fumes that they already experience from working in and around operating locomotives. Diesel is a carcinogen, which can lead to asthma, heart attacks, lung cancer, strokes, and premature death in railroad workers.
Liability for Machinist Injuries Under FELA
Most employees who sustain on-the-job injuries or occupational illnesses can work to their state workers’ compensation system for relief. Workers’ compensation benefits can offer no-fault relief for injured workers. Railroad employees, however, are ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits, but instead must look to FELA for compensation.
Unlike workers’ compensation, eligibility for FELA benefits requires a showing of negligence on the part of the employer railroad company. Injured machinists and other workers must provide evidence that their employers were negligent in a way that caused or contributed to their injuries. Absent this evidence, injured workers have no legal recourse.
Some examples of how railroads might be liable for the injuries or illnesses that injure their employers may include:
- Failing to train and oversee workers properly
- Failing to establish, implement, and enforce safety protocols
- Unnecessarily subjecting workers to excessive amounts of dangerous chemicals by failing to provide safety gear and equipment
- Requiring workers to continue duties that exacerbate or worsen existing injuries or medical conditions
Any of these situations could lead to a finding of liability in a FELA claim. By getting legal advice, injured machinists may be more likely to reach a favorable result in their claims.
Let a Railroad Injury Lawyer Help
Machinists often suffer from injuries due to exposure to dangerous chemicals and substances, such as diesel exhaust, silica, and asbestos. Prolonged, regular exposure can result in extensive machinist injuries. As a result, machinists may be permanently disabled and left unable to work in their regular professions.
If the negligence of your employer led to railroad machinist injuries, you might be able to seek compensation for your losses through a FELA claim. Legal counsel can investigate the circumstances surrounding your situation and determine the viability of any claims you may have. Call today to schedule a consultation.