Railroad Cancer Lawsuits Lead to Multi-Million Dollar Pay Outs

Railroad workers were exposed to hazardous chemicals in their work for decades. In recent months, a series of railroad cancer lawsuits has been filed across America.

The latest to hit the headlines was brought by a widow from South Carolina. She is suing CSX Transportation Inc., claiming negligence on behalf of the railroad. The lawsuit says  CSX took insufficient safety measures to prevent her late husband’s death.

Rutha Frieson, a special administrator of the estate of Marvin Frieson, filed a complaint at the end of 2016 in St. Clair County Circuit Court in Illinois, reported the Madison St. Clair Record. The lawsuit claims CSX failed to provide a safe place to work for Frieson, a railroad worker who died after developing stomach cancer that metastasized to colon cancer.

The lawsuit claims Frieson was exposed to asbestos-containing materials during his work with CSX. It claims the exposure caused him to develop stomach cancer, ultimately leading to his death in November 2014.

CSX case is latest in series of railroad cancer lawsuits
CSX is sued in railroad cancer lawsuit

Frieson’s widow claims CSX failed to provide a safe working environment for her husband when he was a railroad worker.

She claims she suffered serious losses as a result of her husband’s death. The plaintiff claims CSX Transportation Inc. failed to provide adequate and safe equipment to protect Frieson from inhaling dangerous asbestos fibers. She claims CSX failed to provide warnings and instructions on how to use materials that contained asbestos fibers.

Railroad Cancer Lawsuits Resulted in Major Verdicts

Last June, a railroad cancer lawsuit was filed by Clarence Mayberry. He claims he was exposed to solar radiation and creosote from 1968-2009. He said a lack of protective equipment from Union Pacific caused him to develop basal cell carcinomas on his head and neck.

Last September, a jury in Madison County awarded $7.5 million to James Brown. The railroad worker was diagnosed with cancer after years of exposure to toxic chemicals, creosote, lead and degreasing solvents on the railroad.

Brown was diagnosed with myeloid leukemia in 2008. In December 2010, he filed a lawsuit under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) blaming Union Pacific and Chicago & North Western Railway (CNW), for failing to give him protective equipment.

In 2014, two cases of hazardous exposure to chemicals in New Jersey were settled for $2.05 million.

As a FELA injury lawyer with decades of experience in representing injured railroad workers, I have seen the terrible impacts dangerous chemicals and substances can have on workers.

In many cases, workers were given inadequate protection from deadly substances. Diesel, coal dust, creosote, and asbestos on the railroads can cause cancer and other incurable diseases.

If you believe you have grounds to file a railroad cancer lawsuit, call us today at (866) 455-6657.

Chlorine Accidents Pose a Major Threat to Railroad Workers

Chlorine accidents are one of the biggest concerns workers face on America’s railroads. The chemical is also taking a significant human toll in other industries.

An article in Scientific American recalled a recent accident at Tulare Iron and Metal Inc., a recycling facility in California where 23 people were hospitalized after a chlorine leak in 2010. Some of the workers were kept in hospital for as long as 10 days and were on life support. They continue to fight the ill effects of chlorine poisoning.

The article pulls no punches about the seriousness of chlorine spills. Over the last decade, it has been involved in hundreds of accidents across the United States, injuring thousands and claiming lives.

Chlorine accidents pose a grave threat to railroad workers

When it comes to deadly chemicals, chlorine is second only to carbon monoxide in terms of the number of injuries and deaths it causes.

Railroad workers have many reasons to be wary of chlorine. It’s transported in tank cars that have known weaknesses and are prone to rupture during derailments.

Graniteville Spill was Among Most Serious Chlorine Accidents

The worst chlorine gas incident in the history of the United States occurred in Graniteville, SC in 2005. The derailment of 18 freight cars led to the release of 120,000 pounds of the gas in the railroad town. The results were grim. Nine people lost their lives and at least 1,400 people were exposed to the noxious gas.

More than 500 people were treated in local hospitals. Some reported serious lung issues. Even today, some people are struggling because of the effects of the Graniteville chlorine leak.

The derailment of the Norfolk Southern train in Graniteville left a long-lasting legacy of pain. I helped some of the victims in the months after this terrible accident.

Chlorine accidents are normally unexpected. Unlike carbon monoxide, chlorine gas is visible. It gives off a yellow-greenish cloud.

Some useful information about chlorine accidents is provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you work on the railroad, you face potential exposure to numerous dangerous materials including coal dust, asbestos, and inflammable materials. If your health has been impacted by dangerous chemicals or other substances, you have likely grounds to make a claim under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Call us today for a free consultation at (866) 455-6657.

John Cooper

Cases are Settled After Chemical Exposure Leads to Cancer in Conrail, NJT Employees

John-cooperBy John Cooper, FELA Injury Lawyer

As an attorney who represents injured railroad workers across the country, I often deal with injuries on the railroads involving broken bones or spinal injuries cause by accidents or falls.

But working on the railroad can also expose you to a number of hazardous chemicals and substances which can cause serious and potentially life-threatening conditions.

Recently two cases of hazardous exposure in New Jersey were settled for $2.05 million. In the first case the plaintiff’s husband had worked for Conrail from 1980 to 1987 and for New Jersey Transit from 1997 to 2008, reported FELA Reporter. He was diagnosed with gastric cancer in 2009 and died two years later at 62.

dirty-train

There was a second case involving a 42-year-old worker who started working for New Jersey Transit in 1991. He was diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2010 and was reported to be undergoing chemotherapy at the time of the case.

Both of the workers were trackmen. In their complaints it was alleged that a combination of pesticides, herbicides, diesel exhaust, creosote, calcium and chloride, led to their cancers. The railroad was accused of failing to warn the workers of the dangers they faced and failing to provide proper equipment. The lawsuits said no tests were carried out on the air and soil at the worksites.

Both of the cases were consolidated at trial. Conrail settled with the first plaintiff for $150,000 before jury selection. NJT settled with each plaintiff for $950,000 after jury selection.  All cases are different and we cannot guarantee the same result in a given case.

The plaintiffs were represented by Barry Eichen, William Crutchlow and Thomas Rinaldi of New Jersey.

Railroad workers come into contact with many dangerous materials. Asbestos, a material commonly used as insulation and for other purposes, caused the scarring of the lung tissue for many decades and is linked to cancer and mesothelioma. Although there has been a considerable effort to remove asbestos from homes and buildings since the 1970s, it continues to pose a grave threat to rail workers, because it was commonly used in brake shoes and to line other components of a train car. Workers who helped remove asbestos from trains back in the 1980s may have only recently developed symptoms due to their exposure more than 30 years ago. Diesel fumes on trains are also linked to cancers.

Many railroad workers know that the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) protects them if they have been injured in a railroad accident. If you’re a rail worker suffering from lung cancer or any other disease, it is important to know that it also offers a potential legal remedy if your illness can be linked to your job.  Call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at (866) 455-6657.

 

Railroad Workers, Coal, Black Lung, and Compensation

John-cooperBy John Cooper, Railroad Workers Injury Lawyer

Coal dust and its harmful effects when airborne hit the headlines this summer when the Virginian-Pilot reported on the coal dust present in the air in the Lamberts Point neighborhood of Norfolk due to the Lamberts Point terminal processing of coal. Most of Lamberts Point terminal is excluded from clean air regulations due to it being built prior to the Clean Air Act of 1970. This mean it can take a backseat on positive measures to reduce the amount of air pollution at the terminal. Norfolk Southern has tried to dismiss concerns in regards to the harm coal dust poses in the past which is troubling.

Coal dust is an extremely deadly substance and is known to cause Pneumoconiosis, better known as ‘Black Lung Disease’, which according to the American Lung Association has no known cure or treatment. As such the US Department of Labor provides worker compensation as well as survivors benefits to “coal miners” disabled by Black Lung Disease as mandated by the Black Lung Benefits Act.

In 1990 Olen R. Roberson, a former employee with Norfolk and Western Railway Company, was awarded benefits from Black Lung Disease he’d contracted while working as railroad worker around coal by the Department of Labor. Norfolk and Western Railway Company sued saying that railroad workers were not eligible for compensation. However, the United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, ruled that railroad workers who worked with coal were able to receive benefits from contracting Black Lung Disease, a decision that was upheld by the US Supreme Court. Norfolk and Western Railway Company sued again that year in another case of a railway worker awarded compensation for Black Lung Disease and again lost.

Railroad workers who work around open topped coal cars and are exposed to coal dust are at risk of contracting Black Lung Disease. If you suffer from any of the symptoms consult a physician.

Norfolk and Western Railways merged with Norfolk Southern in 1982. However it continued paper operations 1997 until it fully merged with the company.

If you have suffered an illness related to industry or have been hurt working on the railroad, call me at Cooper Hurley Injury lawyers at 757.455.0077.

Railroad Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma Cases – A West Virginia Railroad Worker Injury Lawyer’s Advice

By John Cooper, West Virginia Railroad Injury Lawyer

One of the most serious types of FELA injury and wrongful death cases that we work on on behalf of railroad workers and their families in Virginia (VA), West Virginia (WV) and North Carolina (NC), are cases involving lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a cancer that only comes for exposure to asbestos.  Railroad workers especially prior to the 1990s were regularly exposed to asbestos in various crafts including car men and others in the mechanical department as well as engineers and conductors on trains.

See this video about the dangers of asbestos.

These crafts had the unfortunate circumstance of being exposed daily to this highly toxic substance without the railroad doing anything to tell the workers about what they were facing as far as future health problems.

There are lots of memos going back for decades showing that the railroad like other industries knew very well that asbestos exposure led to cancer.  Nonetheless the railroads did very little to get rid of asbestos in the railroad work environment.

In addition to asbestos there are other substances like diesel fumes which can lead to lung cancer in railroad workers.  The diesel fume exposure continues to the present.  Engineers and conductors are exposed to this carcinogenic substance daily even though the railroads have known for again decades that diesel fumes cause cancer.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by asbestos or diesel fumes on the railroad please get in touch with me so I can tell what your legal options are to pursue a FELA claim against the railroad for the harm caused to you and your family.

See this article about asbestos on our Virginia Beach Injury Lawyers site.

The Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton based railroad injury/FELA law firm, Cooper Hurley, handles railroad worker’s injuries and injuries on rail crossings in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia, as well as automobile, truck, and motorcycle injuries and slip and fall cases, wrongful death and medical malpractice.  John Cooper and Jim Hurley have over 40 years of combined experience in handling catastrophic injury claims.  Attorney John Cooper has been named to Virginia “Super Lawyers” since 2010.
Cooper Hurley represents families who have lost a loved one through another party’s fault in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News and throughout VA, and north eastern North Carolina. We always put the best interests of our clients first. The firm is recognized by other lawyers as “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell, a national attorney rating service, for our top level of legal skill and highest ethical standards. If you need help or advice about a serious injury, please call us at 866-455-6657 or contact us through this website.

What Makes Railroad Injury Cases Often $1 Million Plus Payouts – A VA and North Carolina Injury Lawyer’s Advice

By John Cooper, Norfolk Railroad Accident Injury Lawyer

There are several reasons why FELA cases on behalf of injured railroad workers are often resolved by settlement or a jury verdict with extremely high amounts of money.

One of the reasons that railroad workers often recover lots in compensation when they get hurt on the job is that the railroad worker occupations are extremely dangerous.  Often the injury to an engineer, conductor, brakeman, trackman, carman or signalman can be catastrophic.

It is not unusual for men to be killed working on the railroad or to have a limb such as an arm or a leg cut off leaving them as amputees.  Obviously when an extreme injury like having your leg cut off occurs the amount of compensation necessary to try to address the harms and losses has to be a very high amount of money.  The weight of railroad equipment in the hundreds of thousands of pounds means that if you get hit by a car or a locomotive, there’s going to be some major physical injury.

The other reason that personal injury cases involving injured railroad workers often result in high verdicts and settlements has to do with lost wages.  Because the railroad work is so dangerous and physically demanding, railroad workers earn a good living for their long hours.  Often railroad workers, whether a maintenance away crew or an on-the-road transportation crew have to be away from their families for days or longer at a time.  They earn good money, better than most blue collar jobs, as part of their union pay package.

So if you injure a worker and cause him to lose his job on the railroad you have caused a serious economic harm to him and his family.  For example if a railroad engineer is earning $90,000.00 a year and he gets hurt in a way that causes him to need a back surgery and he can no longer lift the up to a 100 pounds necessary to do his job then he is going to lose the value of his earnings for the rest of his work life.

This can add up to some very big figures.  If the railroad worker was 50 at the time he got hurt, you’re talking about 15 years to age 65 at $90,000.00 a year plus benefits.

That’s over $1,300,000.00 in economic losses before you even talk about the pain and suffering, inconvenience and other losses associated with having a man knocked out of his career.

Because of the high economic losses and the likelihood of serious physical injury in railroad worker accidents these cases are often high stakes.  That is an important reason to hire an experienced and specialized Virginia and North Carolina FELA law personal injury attorney who has been handling railroad injury cases for many years to make sure that these large cases come out correctly.

The Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton based railroad injury/FELA law firm, Cooper Hurley, handles railroad worker’s injuries and injuries on rail crossings as well as automobile, truck, and motorcycle injuries and slip and fall cases, wrongful death and medical malpractice.  John Cooper and Jim Hurley have over 40 years of combined experience in handling catastrophic injury claims.  Attorney John Cooper has been named to Virginia “Super Lawyers” since 2010.
Cooper Hurley represents families who have lost a loved one through another party’s fault in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News and throughout VA, and north eastern North Carolina. We always put the best interests of our clients first. The firm is recognized by other lawyers as “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell, a national attorney rating service, for our top level of legal skill and highest ethical standards. If you need help or advice about a serious injury, please call us at 866-455-6657 or contact us through this website.