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Shapiro & Appleton

Common Results of Railroading Careers: Hip Replacements and Other Joint Surgeries

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FELA cases for CSX and Norfolk Southern (NS) brakemen and conductors have been growing in number recently from cumulative trauma or repetitive stresses on train crews' bodies after years of service.  One of the main railroad work activities which caused a lot of excessive stress on the hips, knees, legs, ankles, and feet of yard conductors and ground crew in the time before the early 1990s was getting on and off moving equipment. 

In the early 1990s most railroads, including ConRail, changed the long-time practice of having workers get on and off moving equipment.  The mounting and dismounting in this manner involved running in large, loose ballast rock and climbing onto a bottom rung of a metal, ladder system. 

The first step up onto the rolling stock of rail cars is a large one, much further than a regular ladder.  The railroad industry stopped forcing workers to do this dangerous practice in part because of all the people who fell or tripped landing under the train and losing a leg, an arm, or their life. 
One of the other consequences of this unsafe practice was that the pounding that these workers took on the job was literally eating their bodies up.

We are currently handling a number of cases for railroad men who started their railroad careers back when getting on and off moving equipment was a daily practice.  If workers have had a surgery or been permanently disqualified from doing their previous job on the railroad because of aggravate arthritis or pain problems with their musculoskeletal system, we want to talk to them about what we can do for them. 

injury, lawyer, railroad, rail, FELATypically, the railroad worker will be better off financially going out on occupational disability through the United States Railroad Retirement Board rather than simply retiring based upon age.  Not only will they get roughly equal pension benefits, but they will have health insurance longer also.  The other reason not to simply retire at age 60, if the reason for leaving the railroad is physical disability, is the FELA case will be stronger before a jury where we can show the primary reason they had to stop working at the job they loved was because their bodies were worn out by the railroad's ergonomically unsound practices.

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