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.
Choose Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp for Your Case
- At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our team has extensive experience handling complex railroad accident cases, and we have returned major settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients.
- We take a client-focused approach for every railroad worker injury case that we handle. We take the time to listen to clients’ goals and needs.
- Our team has more than 75 years of combined legal experience handling personal injury claims.
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 the right to bring claims under the law, as do the family members of deceased railroad workers.
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 employees who files the claim must also clearly demonstrate that the negligence created the hazard or situation that produced the injury or illness.
- Overview of the Federal Employers Liability Act
- What Every Railroad Worker Must Know About FELA, On-the-Job Injuries, and Occupational Injuries
- What Types of Railroad Injury Victims Can a FELA Attorney Help?
Attorneys with Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp 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 allow 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.
Most Common Railroad Worker Injuries
Railroad workers can sustain a wide range of injuries as a result of workplace conditions or exposure to hazardous elements. Often, these injuries are traumatic in nature and can include:
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Severe burn injuries
- Lacerations or puncture wounds
- Crush injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Open head wounds
- Spinal cord trauma with paralysis
- Other severe back or neck injury
- Electrocution injuries
- Herniated discs
- Injured ligaments or tendons
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
In addition to these traumatic injuries, railroad workers across the U.S. can also sustain occupational diseases. This can include:
- Repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Lung illnesses
- Various types of occupational cancers
- Mental health illnesses
A railroad injury lawyer will work with trusted medical professionals who can fully examine the injured worker and help determine the full extent of their medical needs.
Will a FELA Claim Be Appropriate?
The only way for railroad workers injured on the job to recover compensation for their losses is to file a claim with the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). This is not like a traditional workers’ compensation system. After a regular work injury, individuals are usually able to recover compensation regardless of who caused the injury. However, with a FELA claim, injured railroad workers are responsible for proving that the railroad was negligent in some way and that this negligence caused their injury.
In order to recover compensation after an on-the-job railroad worker injury, individuals will have to file a FELA claim. An attorney can use their resources to fully investigate every aspect of these claims, prove liability, and recover maximum compensation on behalf of their client.
Types of Compensation Available to Injured Railroad Workers
There may be various types of compensation available to injured railroad workers in the United States. Under FELA, injured workers should be able to recover total payment for their losses. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Coverage of all medical bills arising as a result of the railroad injury
- The cost of future medical care that may be needed to treat the injury
- Current lost income if a victim cannot work while recovering
- Loss of future earnings if a disability arises
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
The total amount of compensation available for these claims will vary depending on the factors related to each situation. For example, the severity of the injury is going to affect how much compensation a worker receives. Additionally, attorneys will look closely at whether or not a person is able to work during the recovery process as well as how the injury has affected their emotional and psychological well-being.
Leaders in FELA Litigation Practice and Theory
Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp founding partners Richard N. Shapiro and Randy Appleton possess more than 60 years of combined experience in helping railroaders and their families 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 co-authored the legal treatise Railroad Health and Safety; A Litigator’s 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 (833) 997-1774 or completing this online contact form.