Although the hazardous effects of asbestos and diesel fumes are widely known today, there are many other substances railroad workers may be exposed to during their careers that can have equally severe impacts on their health. In particular, long-term inhalation of silica dust is connected to the development of various forms of cancer and a lung disease called silicosis that can have devastating repercussions for impacted workers. This dust often comes from gravel used in track beds or as track ballast, and may become aerosolized from normal railroad operations, construction, and maintenance If you believe your recent diagnosis is related to the silica dust you were exposed to during railroad or railyard work, contacting a Texas railroad silica lawyer may be in your best interest. Once retained, your dedicated FELA claim attorney could immediately begin collecting evidence that proves your employer was to blame for your injury and convert that information into a comprehensive claim for financial compensation.
Long-Term Effects of Silica Exposure
Inhalation of silica particles has been linked to an increased risk of developing a number of diseases, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and even tuberculosis. However, many of these diagnoses either include or stem directly from the development of silicosis, which involves the lungs becoming scarred and developing tiny “nodules” in response to silica exposure. Once those nodules become large enough, they may impair breathing to a potentially fatal degree.
Unfortunately, silicosis can often be difficult to identify early on, as the initial stages of the disease do not manifest many noticeable symptoms. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include shortness of breath, chest pain, appetite loss, and, in extreme cases, respiratory failure which may lead to premature death.
There are also several ways in which silicosis can manifest. Exposure to high concentrations of silica may result in acute silicosis as early as a few weeks afterward, while more gradual exposure may lead to accelerated silicosis within five to ten years or chronic silicosis more than ten years after initial exposure. Regardless of what specific form your illness takes or what effects it has, a Texas railroad silica attorney could help you take legal action against the railroad company responsible for your losses.
How to Hold a Railroad Employer Liable for Damages
The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) allows current and former railroad workers to hold their employers liable for negligent failure to provide them with reasonably safe working conditions. In addition to providing appropriate safety gear, enforcing safety rules, and ensuring proper maintenance of machinery, the duty that FELA imposes upon railroad companies also requires them to minimize the degree to which their workers are exposed to dangerous substances without protective equipment.
If a diagnosis of silicosis or another similar disease stems directly from a railroad company putting the diagnosed individual in unreasonably unsafe working conditions, that employer could bear liability for every form of harm that worker has experienced and will experience in the future because of their illness. A railroad silica lawyer in Texas could provide further clarification about whether there might be grounds for a case in a particular situation.
Consider Working with a Texas Railroad Silica Attorney
While FELA ostensibly allows railroad workers to recover more compensation for a wider variety of losses than traditional workers’ comp, those damages are normally only available if they can successfully prove their employer’s negligence contributed to causing their condition. Establishing fault in this way can be uniquely complicated when the basis for a claim is an occupational illness, especially one stemming from silica exposure.
Fortunately, assistance is available from a qualified Texas railroad silica lawyer who knows exactly how to handle situations like this. Schedule your initial consultation today.