Like with any other type of profession, railroad workers face a risk of injury every day. However, they face an increased risk of injury, and of severe injuries as well. Working on the railroads can present a danger to any employee, and they have a higher chance of becoming injured while on the job. It is unfortunate; however, the nature of the occupational field can lead to serious incidents of any kind. For railroad workers, they do have to operate with a certain level of caution every day around heavy equipment and more. This is why railroad workers may receive special protections and benefits should they sustain a serious injury while working.
If you are a railroad worker in the state of California, Workers’ Compensation Attorney Law Firm can assist you with making sure you receive a rightful settlement for your injuries. Our team is experienced in helping railroad workers in the Los Angeles area. No matter what your situation may entail, we are prepared to help and handle your case.
Common Types of Railroad Injuries
Once again, working for the railroad can be dangerous to anyone involved. Across the nation, there are many railroad accidents that take place every year. There can be many types of incidents that can result in significant injury. These can include situations dealing with heavy equipment, malfunctioning tools, train accidents, and more. When it comes to the types of injuries a railroad worker may sustain, it can vary on many factors including how the injury happened, where the injury took place, and more.
Since there may be many different kinds of hazards in a railroad environment, there are a variety of injuries that may occur and they can also range in severity. Poor working conditions, loud noises, extreme temperatures, train accidents, and exhaustion are just some of the contributing factors for numerous injuries that railroad workers may face. Injuries can include traumatic injuries, paralysis, serious health conditions, illnesses, and more depending on the situation. Possible significant injuries may include:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Back and spinal injuries
- Hearing loss
- Joint conditions
- Cumulative injuries
The list above only provides a few examples of the types of injuries that may occur to railroad workers. No situation is the same, and each railroad worker who has been involved in a serious incident will have unique injuries. Also, the types of tasks you do and where you do them may affect the types of injuries you could potentially face while working. Some injuries may be more severe than others, and some may be long lasting while others will stick for the rest of the worker’s life.
For railroad workers, there are many types of injuries that may cause disfiguration potentially for the rest of their lives. Disfiguration can arise from a variety of situations depending on the injuries. It can come from discoloration, burns, scars, broken and fractured bones, amputation, and more. Obviously, the more serious the injuries you sustain, the more likely they will leave a lasting mark. Usually, disfiguration may occur when your injuries have not healed properly, or if they only partially heal. Also, disfiguration may also occur when you undergo a surgical procedure for your injuries.
Usually, if you have been disfigured due to an accident, you may undergo reconstructive or plastic surgery to correct your appearance. However, these procedures can be expensive. Also, you will also have to recover from these procedures as well. Lastly, after undergoing one of these procedures, you may not feel satisfied with the end result.
Another common type of injury that a railroad worker may be prone to receive is burns. Whether on a railroad or in a rail yard, there many types of situations in which you may be burned. These can include hose ruptures, explosions, electrical burns, engine fires, extremely hot metal surfaces, and fires caused by collisions. As a railroad worker, you may even sustain serious burns from hazardous chemical solvents present in the workplace. Second-degree and third-degree burns are some of the more severe types of burns that a railroad worker may sustain while on the job.
If you have been seriously burned while working on the railroad, there are some treatments you may be able to receive for your injury. The treatments can vary depending on the severity of the burns. If you have been severely burned, you may have to be treated with a skin graft. Also, if the burns are extremely severe, a limb may have to be amputated. Of course, these are the worst-case scenarios when it comes to burns.
Electrocutions are another common type of injury a railroad worker may face while on the job. This type of injury is sustained when a worker is inflicted with a severe electric shock that runs throughout his or her body. For railroad workers, electrocution may occur through exposed electrical wiring on a train itself or in a rail yard, or even from electric arcs that may come from high-voltage power lines. With electrocutions, the injury may vary. Sometimes, there may be no injury at all, and other times it may lead to a debilitating condition and even death. Usually, electrocutions can damage your muscles, tissues, and nerves. Also, it can cause severe burns on your body. It may also lead to cardiac arrest in more severe cases.
In most cases of electrocution, you will have to be hospitalized. Doctors should monitor your health in the period after electrocution so as to ensure there has been no extensive damage to your health. This is done to ensure you are in stable condition. If you are burnt as a result, you may also have to undergo a skin grafting procedure. The more extensive the injuries, the more extensive the treatments will have to be.
If you are involved in a severe accident as a railroad worker, then you may also be at risk to amputation. This type of injury involves the loss of a limb such as your arm or leg. This may also include fingers and toes as well. Amputation can occur out of many different types of work-related incidents. For example, a limb can get caught and crushed in machinery. It also may be crushed if you are involved in a train accident and your body has been crushed due to the impact. In some situations, your limb may have to be removed if you have sustained severe injuries. As one would think, these types of injuries are highly serious and can severely impact your ability to work. An amputation may also affect the rest of your life.
With amputation, treatment can be significant. If you have been involved in a collision of some kind, you may have to undergo surgery in order to remove a permanently damaged limb. Also, once a limb has been removed, you may have to attend physical therapy treatments in order to learn how to function without the limb.
Fractures and Broken Bones
One of the most common types of injuries that may happen to railroad workers, as with any other type of worker, is fractured and broken bones. Railroad workers may even be at a higher risk of sustaining this type of injury. These injuries describe situations in which one or multiple of your bones become cracked, partially broken, or completely broken. For railroad workers, a fractured or broken bone may be caused by slipping and falling, being injured by malfunctioning equipment, lifting and handling heavy objects, and getting into a collision. There are many types of situations in which you may sustain a fractured or broken bone. Again, the more severe the incident you are involved in, the more severe the resulting broken or fractured bone may be in the end.
If you are facing an injury like this, then you will have to be treated by a doctor. In some cases, you will have to undergo surgery. Also, this will affect your ability to work and you may have to be on disability during the recovery period. Depending on the extent and severity of your injury, the recovery period may be short or it may last for a while.
Head and Brain Injuries
Head and brain injuries can be some of the most severe types of injuries since they can greatly impact your life. Head injuries describe any sort of traumatic injury to your head. This can include concussions, blunt force to your head, and more. They can occur from accidents such as falling, being hit in the head with tools and equipment, or from being in a collision. Even if you are wearing the proper safety gear such as a helmet, head injuries may still occur, especially in significant incidents. Head injuries may lead to facial injuries, skull injuries, and brain injuries.
Brain injuries can cause significant damage to your health and to your overall ability to function properly. Severe concussions, hemorrhages, and bruising can severely impact your behavior, your cognitive abilities, and your coordination. Also, brain injuries could possibly lead to death. As with head injuries, brain injuries will require medical attention and close monitoring so as to not lead to other issues. In the end, these types of injuries can significantly impact your life and could potentially change your life.
Back and Spinal Injuries
Back and spinal injuries are other types of injuries that may also significantly impact your life and well-being. In some cases, these injuries may be crippling. Back injuries may be sustained from blunt force trauma, collisions, falling, and even from repetitive motions. Also, for railroad workers who often have to lift and handle heavy objects and equipment, back injuries may be quite common due to the weight and repetitive motions that may result from the job. This may also be related to spinal injuries such as herniated discs. In the worst cases, spinal injuries can include partial or complete paralysis if the injuries are severe enough.
These injuries can greatly impact your ability to do your job as a railroad worker, and you may even have to change jobs if they are severe enough. When it comes to back and spinal injuries, you should seek medical treatment. In some cases, you may have to undergo surgery to alleviate the pain. In other cases, the pain may just be chronic and you will have to take medication. In severe instances, you will have to do physical therapy and massages in order to alleviate the pain and the effects of these types of injuries.
Cumulative injuries include a wide range of injuries that have occurred due to continuous exposure or repeated motions and movements. This can include injuries such as hearing loss, joint conditions (like carpal tunnel syndrome), back pain, and more. Hearing loss may commonly occur due to the loud noises that may happen while working on a railroad. Also, joint conditions may occur over time due to strenuous tasks which you may do every day. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one common type of condition that may develop as a result of repetitive motions in your wrists. For railroad workers, they often have to do major tasks which can take a toll on their bodies over time. Most of the time, these injuries go unnoticed until they start to significantly affect your ability to do your job. Once you realize you have a condition it is crucial to seek medical attention.
Each type of injury and condition may have its own set of treatments. Most of these injuries may not heal. They will require more care and attention over time and may only get worse if you choose to ignore them. In cases in which these cumulative injuries have become extremely severe, you may have to stop working since they may affect your ability to do your job properly.
Railroad workers may be exposed to a variety of known cancer-causing agents in the workplace. Most employers are made to ensure that workers are properly trained so as to prevent the development of cancer due to chemicals. However, it may still occur. If so, this can cause a serious issue for workers. Of course, there are treatments available; however, death may still occur.
Railroad Injuries and FELA
For railroad workers who have been injured on the job, they are covered under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA), and not by regular workers’ compensation in the state of California. In 1908, Congress passed this law in order to allow railroad workers to seek the proper compensation for damages they receive due to a work-related injury. This type of compensation varies from more standard workers’ compensation. First of all, it is run by the federal government since it involves railroads. This act was meant to provide better safety standards and treatment to injured workers. It only applies to railroad employees of companies that operate in multiple states, or are ‘interstate.’
Unlike standard workers’ compensation, in order to receive benefits under FELA, you need to show or prove employer or railroad negligence was a factor in sustaining your injury. FELA is considered to be a fault system, unlike standard workers’ compensation which is a no-fault system. An injured worker needs to prove that they were working in unsafe conditions or were injured as a result of their employer’s negligence. Negligent actions may be made to include allowing workers to use faulty equipment, a lack of safety protocols, and not following the proper safety protocols. Under these conditions, a railroad worker may be able to receive benefits under FELA. This is done by filing a claim and bringing up a suit in court in order to receive compensation.
Another major distinction that compensation under FELA may include is larger amounts of monetary compensation and awards. Under FELA, there is no limit on what you may receive. What you do receive, though, will be determined in court once they review your case, your injuries, and the extent of negligence involved. Also, if your own negligence played a role in your injury this will affect how much of a reward you may receive. Usually, the court will provide a percentage to each party involved in order to reflect how much each party contributed to causing the injury. If you had a percentage, that that percentage will be taken out of the total damages.
Lastly, benefits under FELA are more extensive than under regular workers’ compensation programs. If you are a railroad employee and have been injured on the job, then you may be eligible to receive a variety of benefits. This may include compensation for past and future medical expenses, out-of-pocket expenses, past and future lost wages, and more depending on your injury. If a death has occurred due to an accident on the job or because of their injuries, the worker’s spouse and/or any dependents such as children may be compensated.
How Do I File a FELA Claim?
When you have been injured, you should adhere to the process in order to receive compensation under FELA. This process begins the moment you have received an injury in the workplace. If your injuries are serious and life-threatening, then you should receive medical attention and treatment right away. Your health is the number one priority.
Once you have sought out medical attention or if your injuries are less severe, then you should fill out an accident report in your workplace. Usually, you will receive this form once you have notified your employer or supervisor about your injury. Within this form, you should provide any pertinent information about your injury. This includes details about how it occurred, where you were, who else was present, and if there were any witnesses to your injury. This information is crucial as it may be used in your FELA case once it is taken up in court.
After this, you should speak with a union representative for advice and information regarding how to file a FELA claim. This may include the proper forms and who you should submit them to. During this phase, you may also seek the assistance of an attorney for help. They can make sure that you fill out the correct forms and with the proper information.
Even while you are filing a FELA claim, you may continue to receive medical treatments if necessary. If your claim is accepted, you may be compensated for the treatments and expenses at the end of the process.
If your claim is accepted, it may be taken up in court. Here, you will present information regarding your injury. Also, your employer may be present as well. Each case is unique what occurs in court may vary. After hearing all parties involved in the railroad incident, the court will decide what you will receive in damages. Once again, everyone’s case is unique. Awards under FELA have no specified limit. What you receive will depend on multiple factors such as your level of negligence, the employer’s level of negligence, the severity and seriousness of your injury, and more. This also includes compensation for medical treatment past and future and compensation for lost wages past and present.
Finding an Attorney Experienced in Railroad Injuries Near Me
As a railroad worker, you may know the risks associated with your job, and you may worry about how a serious injury may affect your life. Luckily, railroad workers are covered under FELA. With this program, you may be able to receive compensation for medical treatments and even for lost wages. These benefits can greatly help any railroad worker who has sustained serious injuries that have affected their way of life.
At Workers Compensation Attorney Law Firm, we understand that filing a claim under FELA may seem complex and overwhelming. If you feel this way, then we can help you. Our attorneys are experienced with FELA, and they can assist you with your case to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact our firm at 310-956-4277 right away if you need help. When it comes to work-related injuries, time is of the essence. We are standing by to hear from you.