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I recently got diagnosed with asthma and COPD. My doctor think my lung problems could be related to my railroad job. Did I need to file an accident or injury report for this to be related to the railroad and to make a FELA claim?

No. There is no provision of FELA, the federal law that allows railroad workers to bring injury and occupational illness claims against their employers, that requires the filing of a written injury report in order to recover compensation under the act. Technically, the law properly known as the Federal Employers’ Liability Act imposes no duty or need for a harmed worker to ever file an injury report.We do recommend, however, that you file a report when you learn that your physical problems, disease or disorder has been caused by incidents or exposures to dangerous fumes or toxic chemicals while you were working on trains, in rail yards or on tracks.If your doctor believes your serious lung disease, cancer or health problems were caused by railroad workplace exposure to toxic substances, please call us for a free confidential consultation. These types of claims cannot be pursued under workers’ compensation laws. Railroad workplace injuries fall under the FELA, which, like workers’ comp, provides for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, permanent injury, disability and other injury- or occupational illness-related costs.Learn more: As Carolina and Virginia attorneys specializing in FELA and railroad injury law, we offer hundreds of pages of information to help you learn your rights and recover compensation if you’ve been hurt on the job, riding trains or crossing rail tracks.

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How does the FELA work?

Many railroad workers are led to believe that when a worker is hurt on the job he or she is automatically entitled to compensation. Most railroad claims agents will tell an injured railroad worker that compensation is simply a percentage of the time or wages lost, but this is totally false. Railroad workers are protected by the FELA which provides that workers can settle with, or sue their own railroad employer and the FELA permits a jury trial if desired.   A jury may award past and future lost wages, past or future medical expenses not covered by the employer’s health insurance, pain/suffering, permanent impairment, and other damages. The claim that a worker is only entitled to wages lost is simply not true. Also, if a railroad worker is injured or killed at work, survivors or the estate in a death case are entitled to recover most all of the damages outlined above.

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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.

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