The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) allows railroad workers to file a claim for workplace injuries. What you might not know is that FELA also covers occupational diseases.
What are occupational diseases?
An occupational illness, for the purposes of a FELA claim, results from working in dangerous conditions and the railroad employer’s negligence. These diseases often develop from repeated and prolonged exposure and the lack of proper preparation and appropriate protective equipment.
Here are some common examples of occupational illnesses that railroad workers are at high risk of contracting.
- Toxic poisoning from hazardous substances like lead and carbon monoxide
- Respiratory diseases from inhaling smoke, particles, and substances like asbestos
- Cardiovascular diseases that develop from constant exposure to stress
- Skin conditions resulting from exposure to various chemicals and solvents
- Hearing loss because of exposure to very loud sounds
- Burns and frostbite from working in extreme temperature
- Cancers like lung cancer and leukemia
Some occupational diseases do not manifest immediately. Lung cancer, for example, may not show obvious symptoms until several years after exposure. Because of this, it helps to regularly monitor your health, so you can receive treatment and start any necessary legal action as soon as possible.
What is your next step?
Consider filing a claim after you receive a diagnosis from your doctor. Do not wait until you’re visibly sick. This way, you have a better chance of gathering documents and other requirements for your claim within the appropriate timeframe.
Railroad workers face many dangers on the job. Understanding your rights and the steps to securing compensation for occupational illnesses and injuries can protect you from stress and further harm.