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Railroad Injury, Wrongful Death & Cancer Lawyers with a National Reputation for Excellence

Thousands of railroad workers suffer on-the-job injuries and develop occupational illnesses each year. Some of those accidents and diseases prove fatal. Based in Virginia, we take great pride in advising and representing those stricken employees, retirees and grieving families as they pursue claims under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).

Since the mid-1980s, our attorneys have built a strong record of securing settlements from and winning jury awards against negligent corporations such as Amtrak, CSX, Norfolk Southern and the corporations that became those current Class I railroads. Cases have involved everything from crashes and derailments to cumulative stress injuries to exposures to asbestos and diesel exhaust fumes.

Much of our work is done east of the Mississippi River, but we have consulted on cases across the United States. This has earned us a Tier 1 ranking as Best Law Firm from U.S. News & World Report. We’ve held that designation since 2010.

What We Do

The FELA exists to permit railroaders and their loved ones to hold companies accountable for failing to prevent work-related injuries, deadly on-the-job accidents and occupational illnesses such as mesothelioma, cancer and chronic lung disease. Active and former employees have rights to bring claims under the law, as do the family members of deceased railroad workers.

The FELA, however, is not a workers’ compensation program for people who work on and around trains. Succeeding with a FELA claim requires filing a lawsuit and proving that the defendant company or its managers were negligent. The engineer, brakeman, conductor, switchman or other railroad employee who files the claim must also clearly demonstrate that the negligence created the hazard or situation that produced the injury or illness.



Attorneys with Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn help our FELA clients meet these evidentiary standards by searching for violations of laws such as the Locomotive Inspection Act and the Safety Appliance Act. We also conduct investigations to identify instances of noncompliance with worker safety regulations related to handling, working around and transporting toxic materials.

Our knowledge of relevant laws, applicable rules and industry best practices allows us to build the strongest cases for clients who request compensation for lost wages, loss of future earnings, past and future medical expenses, and pain and suffering. We advocate for fair settlements, but we are prepared to fight through the courts for as long as it takes to achieve the best results for the railroad workers who trust us with their cases.

Throughout each case, we make sure our client stays fully up to date on developments, and we leave final decisions to the individuals.

Leaders in FELA Litigation Practice and Theory

Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn founding partners Richard N. Shapiro and Randy Appleton possess more than 60 years of combined experience in helping railroaders and their family take on negligent companies. Separately and together, they have handled hundreds of railroad injury and illness cases.

In addition, Shapiro has twice chaired the Railroad Law Section of the American Association for Justice, which is the nation’s largest organization for trial lawyers. He also coauthored the legal treatise Railroad Health and Safety; A Litigators Guide.

Let Us Know if We Can Help You With Your FELA Case

Whether you suffered a work-related injury, received a diagnosis of an occupational illness, or lost a spouse or husband to an accident or disease, we may be able to provide the legal services you require. We cannot take every case, but we know railroad law, and we know how to investigate, preserve evidence, deal with corporate lawyers and bureaucratic red tape, and protect clients from harassment and retaliation for filing FELA claims. We have even helped some clients obtain essential medical care.

You can request a free consultation by calling 800-752-0042 or completing this online contact form.