Individuals who worked in the railroad industry are very likely to have been exposed to materials that contained asbestos. Exposure to asbestos-containing materials increases the risk of long-term health issues. Under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), railroad workers are afforded a special way of potentially recovering for health conditions that develop as a result of exposure to asbestos. Today, numerous railroad companies have been involved in litigation brought under FELA.
Danger to Railroad Workers
The use of asbestos was widely abandoned in the 1970s when the dangers of exposure to it were recognized by the federal government. Due to the size of the railroad industry during the twentieth century, there are many people who were exposed to asbestos. Further, because of the specific properties of asbestos, it was widely used for railroad materials, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Insulation, including materials in locomotives, such as boilers, the outside of the engine, under the body of the train, and in boxcars;
- Equipment, such as cement ties, plaster, and sealing materials; and
- Locomotive parts, such as brake pads, the transmission clutch, and tiles in passenger cars.
Workers possibly affected by exposure to asbestos include those who worked on or constructed railroads, such as by laying track, as well as those individuals who constructed locomotives, rail cars, or parts used in the industry.
Asbestos Related Claims under FELA
FELA was enacted in 1908 with the purpose of providing protection and a method for railroad workers to recover compensation as a result of injuries that occurred while on the job. The need for FELA arose because railroad companies are not subject to the requirements of the workers’ compensation program. Though FELA became law well before the hazards of asbestos exposure were known, it has been successfully used to make claims for people who have developed asbestos-related medical conditions.
In order to recover, the railroad worker is required to prove that the railroad company was at least partially negligent in causing the injury. Under FELA, a railroad company can be forced to pay damages to any employee injured as a result of the company’s negligence or any defect or insufficiency in its cars, engines, appliances, machinery, track, roadbed, works, boats, wharves, or other equipment.
Asbestos is considered a toxic material that could cause detrimental health effects as a result of on-the-job exposure for railroad workers. A railroad worker harmed by exposure to materials containing asbestos can potentially recover for pain and suffering and medical care costs, as well as for the related expenses of family members impacted by the illness, injury, or death of the railroad worker.
We Can Help
If you have been exposed to asbestos, it is possible that you are at increased risk of developing serious health conditions, including mesothelioma or other cancers. For more information about asbestos-related health issues and the legal remedies available,contact the experienced attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group. We provide compassionate legal representation to victims of asbestos-related diseases.