Railroad Injury Attorneys (FELA)

Railroad Injury Attorneys (FELA) in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, NY

Experienced Railroad Injury Attorneys Helping Victims Recover Compensation For Their Injury or Illness Including Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer.

Railroad workers faced dangerous work conditions throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. As a result, in 1908, the United States Congress passed the Federal Employers Liability Act, commonly referred to as FELA, allowing Railroad workers to directly sue their Railroad employer for any injury suffered on the job.

These workers were at risk for injury due to accidents, derailments, collisions and faulty equipment. Due to their exposure to asbestos and diesel exhaust, railroad workers are also at a substantially higher risk for occupational diseases, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and laryngeal cancer. These diseases show up years after the worker’s initial exposure.

The railroad injury attorneys at Lipsitz and Ponterio, LLC have represented Brakemen, Conductors, Engineers, Firemen, Switchmen, and railroad maintenance workers who developed cancer as a result of their exposure to dangerous levels of both asbestos and diesel exhaust.

FELA requires a railroad to use reasonable care to provide its employees with a safe place to work. This duty includes the obligations to maintain the workplace in a reasonably safe condition and to provide employees with reasonably safe and sufficient equipment.

There is an absolute duty upon the railroad to provide a locomotive free of all safety hazards for the workers.

Prior to the late 1970s, railroad workers were exposed to asbestos-containing insulation materials used on cab heater lines, steam generators, steam boilers, the Y pipe that leads to the cab heater, governor lines, radiator supply and return lines, air compressor discharge lines, oil preheat lines, and expansion tank lines. Due to wear and tear, asbestos insulation materials required frequent removal and replacement. Both processes emitted large amounts of asbestos dust and fibers, which workers inhaled.

Asbestos-containing brakes were another source of asbestos exposure for Railroad workers. When the brakes were engaged, asbestos dust was emitted and exposed railroad workers to dangerous levels of asbestos dust.

By the mid-1950s, diesel locomotives began replacing steam-driven locomotives. Idling diesel locomotives emitted large quantities of diesel exhaust. Open locomotive windows, cracks in the body of the cabs, and leaks in the diesel exhaust system caused workers to inhale diesel exhaust. Railroad workers commonly refer to the blue haze they could see when the locomotives were left running.

Some of the Railroads owned and operated throughout the State of New York in the 20th Century include:

  • Arcade and Attica Railroad
  • Bath & Hammondsport Railroad (B&H Rail Corporation)
  • Buffalo Creek Railroad
  • Conrail
  • Consolidated Rail Corporation
  • Delaware and Hudson Railway Company
  • Erie Lackawanna Railroad
  • Erie Railroad
  • Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad
  • Lowville and Beaver River Railroad
  • Massena Terminal Railroad
  • New York & Lake Erie
  • New York Central Railroad
  • Norfolk Southern Railway
  • Ontario Central Railroad
  • Ontario Midland Railroad
  • Penn Central
  • Pennsylvania Railroad
  • South Buffalo Railway
  • Vermont Railway

About the Federal Employer’s Liability Act

The Federal Employer’s Liability Act makes it much easier for railroad injury attorneys to submit a successful railroad injury claim. In fact, this act gives each victim the choice between submitting a claim on the federal or state level.

The FELA also helps injured individuals by greatly reducing the burden of proof to bring a claim. The only requirement is that you provide proof that the injury was sustained as a result of railroad negligence.

Keep in mind that the FELA only covers railroad employees. Other drivers or pedestrians do not fall under the umbrella of this act.

To exercise your FELA rights, you must follow its guidelines. Start by notifying your immediate superior of the injury. Then, ask your union representative for assistance and consult with one of our attorneys, as well.

We will advise you to take the following steps:

  1. Make a prompt visit with a doctor
  2. File an application to the Railroad Retirement Board for disability benefits
  3. Gather up the information (names and contact info) of any witnesses to the injury
  4. If possible, take photos of the area where the accident occurred, including any equipment that was involved
  5. If possible, take photos of your injuries while they are still fresh

The damages you may recover will depend on several factors. But by following these steps, you’ll be more likely to receive fair compensation.

Our railroad injury attorneys will help you pursue these kinds of damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost employment
  • Shame and emotional trauma as a result of disfigurement or disability

A railroad injury can leave you with these damages and more. Get in touch with our experienced railroad injury attorneys right away to start pursuing compensation.

What Factors Go Into a Settlement for a Railroad Injury?

No two railroad injury cases are the same. But the factors that affect a settlement remain constant.

To help you better understand the kind of payout you can expect, our attorneys will discuss these factors with you:

  • Whether you bear any responsibility for the accident
  • The nature and degree of your injury
  • Future pain and suffering
  • Your ability to return to work
  • Whether the injury requires further treatment

These factors and others will determine how much compensation you deserve. Keep in mind that while you do have the right to see a doctor of your choosing, the railroad is also entitled to an opinion from a doctor of its choice.

Trust Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford with Your Case

Our expertise is what you need in a time like this. The aftermath of an injury can be costly, painful, and overwhelming. Let our skilled railroad injury attorneys support you through every step of the claims process.

We can help you answer questions like, “Should I pursue a lawsuit in federal or local courts?” or even “Should I settle with the railroad directly?”

At Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, we have over 25 years of experience with railroad injury cases in Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester, NY. You can trust our team to guide you through the process step by step. If you or a loved one worked for a Railroad and have suffered an injury or illness, including mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us. Get started today. Contact us to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

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