Frequently Asked Questions

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  • I've been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer. I was never told it was connected to the railroad work I did many years ago. Can I still bring a railroad injury or disease claim?

    Yes. The three-year limitation period for filing a claim does not begin until you knew, or should have known, of a connection between the cancer or disease and your railroad occupation.  If no medical professional or other person ever provided a clue to the worker that they had a claim, more than three years before now, three-year limitation period should not have expired but you need a railroad injury attorney's advice for a more precise answer.

  • How can a railroad injury lawyer prove that the asbestos cancer or mesothelioma arose from exposure at the railroad?

    There are many ways we've developed evidence to show asbestos insulation was on all steam engines, diesel/freight engines, was a component of brake shoes for many years, was an insulating material on cabooses, and that asbestos insulation was used in many yard offices or buildings including the old round houses.  There are industrial hygiene/industrial safety experts that also understand where asbestos was located.  Furthermore, there are times when we must refer our clients to medical doctors with experience with asbestos exposures and have to determine whether certain lung diseases are connected to asbestos for example.  And, in cases of lung cancer, mesothelioma and other cancers, we are always seeking out the top professionals in order to make analysis.

  • Is there any cost associated with your law firm analyzing my potential railroad injury case involving cancer or mesothelioma?

    No. Our firm offers free initial consultations. If you decide to hire us, we only charge a contingent fee, meaning that we only charge a legal fee if there is a successful verdict in your case.  As with most all law firms, we also advance case costs and court expenses on behalf of a client and do not ask the client to advance those sums-they are repaid at time of settlement.

  • Is there evidence that railroad companies were using asbestos insulation in the past?

    Yes. Our law firm was able to uncover internal documents from the railroad industry that show dozens upon dozens, if not hundreds, of railroad industry products were insulated with asbestos materials.  As a matter of fact, the nation's railroads, despite being aware of the use of asbestos for decades, did not begin even removing it from diesel freight locomotive engines until the 1990s in most cases.  The railroad workers, in the meantime, developed these asbestos diseases and cancers such as mesothelioma, and all the while the railroads hid from the workers that asbestos was on their machinery and engines.  

  • If I was a cigarette smoker for decades, and was then diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma, am I not able to file a claim?

    You can still file a claim. Medically, there are many studies that show cigarette smoking has nothing to do with the cause of mesothelioma cancer, which is almost exclusively related to having prior asbestos exposure in your work career or during your lifetime. 

    Regarding lung cancer, cigarette smoking is a known cause of lung cancer, but asbestos is also a carcinogen and also a known cause of lung cancer.  Many medical studies showed that workers who were significant smokers, and who also had asbestos exposure, had a 50 to 80 fold relative risk increase over non-smoking/non-asbestos workers, in contracting lung cancer.  This is called "synergy" and makes the risk of lung cancer extremely great for smokers who breathed asbestos, and most had no idea that their risk of lung cancer was so vastly increased because of the mix between smoking and asbestos fibers.

  • I have already retired from the railroad many years ago, do I still have a potential claim for an asbestos cancer or mesothelioma?

    This is a question we are often asked.  These claims arise under something called the Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA).  This federal law sets forth that there is a three-year statute of limitations for such an injury or wrongful death claim, but that the claim does not arise until the worker "knew or should have known" that the claim was connected to their railroad occupation.  A careful analysis must be done on the statute of limitations issues.  However, passage of more than three years does not prohibit a claim, particularly if there was no awareness or medical professional that had ever given an opinion that the injury or disease was connected to the railroad occupation more than three years before the diagnosis for example. 


    About the editors: The motto at Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan law firm is simple -"All we do is injury law." We hope you were able to find the answer to your injury query. If not, please review our Virginia Accident Lawyer FAQ Library for additional information. If you'd like to speak to an actual attorney about your potential injury claim for free, please contact our office at 1-800-752-0042.

  • I was just diagnosed with cancer or mesothelioma. No one ever told me before that it was connected to railroad work I did many years earlier. Can I still bring a railroad injury or disease claim?

    As explained in one of the other FAQ's, the three-year limitation period does not begin until the worker knew or should have known of a connection between the cancer or disease and their railroad occupation.  If no medical professional or other person ever provided a clue to the worker that they had a claim, more than three years before now, three-year limitation period should not have expired but you need a railroad injury attorney's advice for a more precise answer.


    About the editors: The motto at Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan law firm is simple -"All we do is injury law." We hope you were able to find the answer to your injury query. If not, please review our Virginia Accident Lawyer FAQ Library for additional information. If you'd like to speak to an actual attorney about your potential injury claim for free, please contact our office at 1-800-752-0042.

  • How does anyone prove that their asbestos cancer or mesothelioma arose from exposure at a railroad?

    This is a fairly tough question to answer in a couple sentences, and that's one of the reasons you must retain an experienced railroad injury attorney.

    We have developed many ways to show evidence that asbestos insulation was on all steam and diesel engines, a component of brake shoes and an insulating material on cabooses for many years, We have also been able to prove asbestos insulation was used in many yard offices or buildings, including old roundhouses. Many industrial hygienists and industrial safety experts we bring in to provide expert testimony also understand where asbestos was located.

    On diesel engines, there was extensive asbestos insulation and the engine cab heaters often blew invisible but dangerous asbestos inside the small crew cab area.

    Moreover, we sometimes our clients to medical doctors who have experience diagnosing and treating people exposed to asbestos and who can determine whether certain lung diseases are connected to asbestos. In cases involving lung cancer, mesothelioma and other cancers, we are always seeking out the top professionals in order to make analyses.


    About the editors:
    The motto at Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan law firm is simple: "All we do is injury law." We hope you were able to find the answer to your injury query. If not, please review our Virginia Accident Lawyer FAQ Library for additional information. If you'd like to speak to an attorney about your potential injury claim for free, please contact our office at (800) 752-0042.

  • Is there any cost for your firm to analyze my potential railroad injury case involving cancer or mesothelioma?

    Our firm does not charge any fees for consultations, and our firm, when retained, charges a contingent fee, meaning that we only charge a legal fee if we recover on your case.  As with most all law firms, we also advance case costs and court expenses on behalf of a client and do not ask the client to advance those sums-they are repaid at time of settlement.



    About the editors:
    The motto at Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan law firm is simple -"All we do is injury law." We hope you were able to find the answer to your injury query. If not, please review our Virginia Accident Lawyer FAQ Library for additional information. If you'd like to speak to an actual attorney about your potential injury claim for free, please contact our office at 1-800-752-0042.

  • Is there evidence that railroads were using asbestos insulation in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and so forth?

    Yes, there are internal documents our law firm has obtained from the railroad industry, and available after many court cases, that show that dozens upon dozens if not hundreds of railroad industry products were insulated with asbestos materials.  As a matter of fact, the nation's railroads, despite being aware of the use of asbestos for decades, did not begin even removing it from diesel freight locomotive engines until the 1990s in most cases.  The workers in the meantime developed these asbestos diseases and cancers such as mesothelioma, and all the while the railroads hid from the workers that asbestos was on their machinery and engines.  


    About the editors: The motto at Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan law firm is simple -"All we do is injury law." We hope you were able to find the answer to your injury query. If not, please review our Virginia Accident Lawyer FAQ Library for additional information. If you'd like to speak to an actual attorney about your potential injury claim for free, please contact our office at 1-800-752-0042.