We have been contacted repeatedly by railroad workers or by family members of railroad workers in Virginia (VA), North Carolina (NC), West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), Tennessee (TN), South Carolina (NSC), and various other locations looking for answers about asbestos-induced cancers and mesothelioma.
These rail employees, many of whom spent their lives working for Norfolk Southern, CSX, Conrail, B&O, and C&O are battling with mesothelioma and other types of terrible cancers effecting their colon, lungs, bladder, etc. and are usually outraged to discover their work place was a primary contributor to their illness. It's even more infuriating to discover that many rail companies decided not to replace toxic asbestos due to costs. Basically, they chose profit over the safety of their workers.
Some of the most common questions our law firm has been receiving from these rail workers include:
1. Did the railroads know that equipment, engines, brakes, cabooses, roundhouses, had asbestos insulation in the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's? Answer: Yes
2. Did the railroads know that the asbestos insulation on equipment, engines, brakes, etc. could cause cancer and mesothelioma in the 1950s? Answer: Yes. By the 1930's, it was known to cause permanent, disabling lung diseases.
3. How does a railroad injury lawyer prove in court that the mesothelioma/cancer was caused by railroad work? Answer: Through hard work. Our law firm analyzes internal railroad documents and we obtain the services of industrial safety and medical doctor experts. To top it off, plain old investigative work and networking with retired workers and asbestos injury attorneys.
4. If I smoked cigarettes do I have an asbestos mesothelioma/cancer case? Answer: First and foremost, there is no causal connection between mesothelioma cancer of the lung pleura and smoking cigarettes. Second, there is a well known synergy/synergistic effect between cigarette smoking and asbestos exposure. A 1978 peer reviewed study revealed the relative risk of contracting lung cancer for pack-a-day smokers was proven to be a 70 fold increase with a smoker not exposed to asbestos at work.
The railroad company's negligence and complete disregard for the safety and well-being of their employees is outrageous. They were essentially playing Russian Roulette with the lives of conductors, engineers, mechanic, repairmen, and all of the other hard-working men and women in the rail industry in order to maximize their profits. It seems their strategy was to keep the risks associated with asbestos insulation, diesel exhaust fumes, etc. hidden from the public and downplay any scientific studies highlighting the hazards and increased chance of developing life-threatening cancer while working on a railroad.
Fortunately, some light has been shed on the rail company's dubious practices and rail workers struggling with terrible diseases are starting to find justice in the courtroom. We strongly advise, if you've been diagnosed with mesothelioma or some other cancer and suspect it was due to exposure to asbestos and other hazardous chemicals during your tenure as a rail worker, please contact an attorney right away. There's no guarantee how your case will turn out, but you should at least have a discussion with a lawyer about your potential case and see what can be done via the legal system.