For over two centuries, the railroad industry has been a vital part of the U.S. economy: Not only has it boosted other industries (i.e. the trade and travel industries), but it has also provided employment to millions of Americans.
Railroad careers span a vast range of possible occupations, and some of the most common railroad jobs include:
- cargo loaders
- coal dock operator
- electricians and mechanics
- locomotive engineers
- railroad conductors
- signal operators
- switch operators
- train crew
- wheel tapper
- dining car employees
Union Pacific Railroad, BNSF and CSX Transportation are among the largest railroad employers in the U.S.
Risks Associated with Railroad Jobs
Despite offering a variety of railroad careers and employment opportunities, the railroad industry does have some significant drawbacks, particularly when it comes to the high risk of incurring an on-the-job injury.
Factors that increase the risk of railroad occupational injuries include (but aren't limited to):
- exposure to toxins (i.e. asbestos, diesel fumes, solvents, etc.)
- frequent heavy lifting
- repetitive motion and stress to the joints
- the possibility of signal, track and/or equipment defects
- whole body vibrations (WBV, the transfer of a train's mechanical energy through the body, has been proven to cause severe neck and back injuries over extended periods of time)
While OSHA and the Federal Government have enacted a number of laws to improve the safety of the railroad industry, unfortunately, many railroad workers are still injured on a regular basis.
Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)
In such events, the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) allows injured railroad employees to collect settlements if:
- They are injured while working
- They can prove that their injuries were caused or exacerbated by the negligence of a co-worker, a railroad employer and/or an equipment manufacturer
When these circumstances apply, it's vital that injured parties consult with an experienced FELA attorney who will, during a free initial consultation:
- Thoroughly evaluate the case
- Determine whether a prospective plaintiff is entitled to a FELA settlement
- Inform injured parties about the legal process associated with filing, building and winning a FELA railroad injury lawsuit
- Provide potential clients with expert advice regarding the most appropriate manner in which to pursue the case (based on an individual's needs and the circumstances of the case)
Railroad Occupational Disability Benefits
Although it can take months to win a FELA lawsuit, ultimately, most of these claims are settled without ever going to trial (Statistics show that up to 95 percent are settled before trial). The amount of the settlement award, however, will vary according to:
- the circumstances of the case
- the type and severity of the injury sustained
- the amount of all hospital bills and necessary treatments
- the amount of lost wages
- whether permanent disability affects the individual's ability to earn a living in the future
- the estimated worth of pain and suffering sustained
Have you or a loved been injured while working a railroad occupation? If so, contact a FELA law firm today to consult an aggressive, yet compassionate FELA attorney who can help you recover a settlement for your damages.