Regardless of what your craft, working in rail yards and on commercial or passenger trains can result in exposure to a variety of hazardous substances. Many of these substances can be deadly if inhaled or ingested. Even chemicals that are less dangerous in the short term can cause serious and possibly life-threatening illnesses after years of exposure in an occupational setting. That is especially true if your employer failed to warn or protect you when working with or around those substances. If your time working for Union Pacific led to you sustaining injury or illness from exposure to harmful industrial chemicals, you may have grounds for a claim under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). With support from a Union Pacific Railroad toxic chemical exposure lawyer, you could more effectively enforce your legal rights while navigating around procedural roadblocks that might otherwise keep you from the compensation you deserve.
How Railroad Workers Can Be Exposed to Toxic Chemicals
In addition to the various physical hazards associated with railroad work, the average employee in Union Pacific railyards or aboard Union Pacific trains comes into contact with numerous potentially hazardous chemicals each day. The most obvious example may be long-term exposure to diesel fumes—and particularly benzene, a chemical compound found in such fumes as well as in many degreasing solvents. It is correlated with a dramatically increased risk of developing lung cancer compared to workers in virtually any other profession.
Fumes and direct contact with industrial solvents can produce various other forms of harm, including:
- A condition called peripheral neuritis in the limbs
- Toxic encephalopathy
- Potentially permanent brain damage
Alternatively, the cargo that certain trains carry can be extremely hazardous as well, from coal dust during standard transport of coal to various materials with HAZMAT classification that may leak or spill during an accident.
Finally, many Union Pacific Railroad workers who suffer harm due to toxic chemical exposure can trace their illnesses back to substances with hazards that were not fully understood when their use was widespread, such as lead or asbestos. Whatever specific chemical leads to a worker sustaining harm, a qualified attorney could help them understand and take advantage of their right to pursue financial compensation from the employer whose negligence caused that harm.
Demanding Compensation from Union Pacific
Like other railroad companies, Union Pacific is subject to the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, which essentially functions as the rough equivalent of workers’ compensation for workers in the railroad industry. Unlike with workers’ comp, a FELA claimant must prove negligence by their employer in order to recover compensation. Doing so can lead to recovery for the full value of all economic and non-economic consequences of their work-related illness or injury, including:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost work income and/or working capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional/psychological anguish
- Lost consortium
- Lost quality/enjoyment of life
During a private consultation, a skilled lawyer could clarify more specifically what damages could be factored into a toxic chemical exposure claim against the Union Pacific Railroad Company.
Contact a Union Pacific Railroad Toxic Chemical Exposure Attorney Today
While some degree of exposure to dangerous substances is inevitable for many railroad workers, that does not mean railroad companies are not responsible for keeping their workers as safe as possible from the harmful effects of those substances. Anyone who suffered avoidable harm because Union Pacific failed to meet this basic obligation could potentially recover financially for that harm through civil litigation.
A Union Pacific Railroad toxic chemical exposure lawyer could be a vital ally in seeking financial justice for your losses. Reach out to us to discuss your situation.