Railroad Worker Accident Lawyer
Whether you were injured in a railroad crossing accident or suffered an injury as a railroad worker, you won’t win by fighting railroad companies on your own. Norfolk Southern, CSX, Amtrak and other railroads have massive legal and financial resources at their disposal. You need a Virginia railroad accident lawyer who is not afraid to go up against those resources. The union designated Virginia personal injury lawyers at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers have the experience to fight for your rights and obtain a fair and just settlement for you and your family.
A wide range of factors can cause workers’ illnesses and injuries, including equipment failure, inhalation of dangerous chemicals, and repetitive motion injuries caused by rough riding trains. Even though railroad companies are aware of these hazards, they often fail to correct them, putting their employees at risk. Whether you work for Norfolk Southern, CSX or Amtrak, we have the power to take on your employer.
Reaching a Fair and Just Settlement
Although many disputes are settled in pre-trial negotiations, attorneys John Cooper and Jim Hurley have decades of experience to successfully argue your personal injury case in court. In choosing the right attorney to represent you, always choose an attorney that is able and willing to take your case to court if negotiations fail to reach a settlement. The railroads are aware of attorneys who are capable of taking your case to trial and are willing to make a fair and just settlement rather than receiving the negative publicity of losing in court.
Our Credentials on Railroad Cases
John Cooper is designated by Unions to represent their members if they are injured on the job. John is also a member of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys (ARLA) which unions that no longer designate attorneys, recognize as attorneys they recommend to their members. John Cooper and Jim Hurley have successfully represented injured employees from every craft including transportation and maintenance of way employees.
Attorney’s John Cooper and Jim Hurley have vast experience representing employees with various types of railroad accidents including:
- On the job injuries — Through the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) claims, we fight for fair and just compensation if you’ve been injured on the job. If you have sustained an injury while working for a railroad, give us a call at 757-333-3333 or see our FAQ’s page.
- Railroad crossing accidents — Cars and trucks cross railroad tracks every day, putting both passengers and train crews at risk. Railroad crossings are often poorly maintained and inadequately marked that can lead to serious and even fatal injuries in a crossing accident. Often the crossings on back country roads and private crossings are left unattended and vegetation over growth can obscure your vision. Many crossings have no markings or warnings at all due to disputes between the railroads and the States on who is responsible for installing and maintaining the warning signals. If a train fails to sound a warning at a crossing, the railroad can be liable for injuries and damages sustained in a crossing accident.
- Railroad passenger injuries — Whether you are a railroad passenger injured while traveling on vacation or on your way to work via Amtrak, commuter rail, Norfolk Tide or any passenger rail service, we advocate for your fair and just compensation. In recent years, there has been a spate of deadly wrecks on Amtrak and commuter services across the United States.
- Railroad worker illnesses — Employees who work on the railroads for many years have been exposed to conditions that cause lung disease, repetitive physical stress injuries, cancers and a host of medical conditions. Workers have been exposed to asbestos, diesel exhaust, coal dust, silica, dangerous chemicals such as chlorine and numerous industrial cleaners both known and unknown. The attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers know how to fight for fair and just compensation for employees and their families that suffer career ending medical conditions caused by these hazardous exposures.
We work with a team of experts to develop strong, aggressive legal strategies and arguments, and we can also help you properly document your condition by recommending physicians who understand both traumatic and cumulative trauma injuries.
What Are My Rights if I Am Injured on the Job?
If a worker can prove that their employer, the railroad, was at least partially negligent in causing the injury, a FELA claim can be made. In limited circumstances, negligence strict liability applies. The law is a remedial statute favoring compensation because railroad work is so dangerous.
What Is FELA?
FELA allows railroad workers to collect compensation for any injury sustained while at work that was, at least in part, the fault of the railroad. Your rights as a railroad employee to a safe workplace include the right to use equipment in good working order. Your safety is guaranteed by two acts:
- The Safety Appliance Act (SAA) — Malfunctions with cars or couplers are often an automatic liability issue for the railroad company.
- Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA)— Defects with the locomotive itself are often an automatic liability issue for the railroad company.
Unfortunately, railroad companies often discourage employees from filing a claim under FELA, or they look for reasons to limit or deny your compensation if you file a claim. This leaves many injured railroad workers without the financial help they need to cope with lost income. The railroad company’s claims agents do everything they can to keep injured workers from hiring attorneys.
If you are permanently disabled as part of your FELA case, our Virginia railroad accident attorney could help you with your claims without charge for occupational or total disability from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB).
How Does FELA Differ from Workers’ Compensation?
Unlike workers’ compensation, FELA is only available to employees of rail companies. One main difference is that FELA damages include pain and suffering. FELA does not have the limitations that workers’ comp places on the maximum amount of benefits you may be eligible for. This federal law allows you to recover for past and future lost wages, medical expenses, disability, and mental anguish.
Injuries Railroad Workers May Suffer
If railroads do not adhere to rigorous safety standards, any kind of railroad employee can suffer personal injuries. Railroads employ a great many people, all of whom are subject to injury and illness because of rail company negligence. These include:
What Are Some Common Railroad Injuries?
Some railroad injuries happen suddenly in a single railroad accident, but many injuries and conditions are cumulative, happening slowly over a long period through repeated actions or exposure to dangerous substances. No matter what kind of illness or injury you’ve suffered working for a railroad, our local attorneys can help you get the compensation you need.
Repetitive Stress Injuries and Lung Cancer from Railroad Work Exposure
Rough-riding trains and physically stressful tasks can cause repetitive stress injuries to railroad workers over months or years of service. Strain on the neck, back, shoulders, knees, hips, and other parts of the body often affect a rail worker’s health permanently.
Sometimes a railroad worker will require surgery in his early 50s for his body being worn out by his cumulative trauma in his rail career. Patients may also require total hip replacement or spinal fusion surgery due to repetitive stress injuries. If your railroad career has been cut short by the railroads overworking you, you may have a claim.
Similarly, repeated exposure to environmental toxins causes serious railroad worker illnesses such as cancer and lung disease. Rail workers are at high risk of developing mesothelioma, a lung cancer caused by inhaling microscopic asbestos fibers. They may also develop cancers caused by exposure to diesel fumes and silica dust.
What if I Develop a Physical Injury Cumulatively from my Railroad Work?
Rough-riding trains and physically stressful tasks can cause repetitive motion injuries to railroad workers over years of service. Cumulative orthopedic trauma can require surgery and prevent returning to your railroad job, which usually requires lifting 50 – 100 lbs. Harm to the neck, back, shoulders, knees, hips, and other parts of the body often affect a rail worker’s health permanently. If your railroad career has been cut short by the railroads’ failure to provide a safe place to work, you may have a claim.
What Is the Deadline to File a Claim?
If you’ve become injured or sick from your rail job, it’s important to file your claim quickly, as soon as you begin to notice symptoms. FELA has set limitations on the amount of time you have to file a claim. If you wait too long, you provide your employer with an opportunity to make it seem as if your injury was sustained outside of work. Taking swift action will help ensure you are provided with the compensation you need to make as full a recovery as possible.
How is Negligence Established in a Railroad Worker Accident?
Establishing negligence requires investigation to gather evidence and witness testimony relating to the accident. A wide range of factors can cause workers’ illnesses and injuries, including equipment failure, insufficient help to perform the heavy work in a safe manner, improper tools and equipment, unsafe walking conditions, debris, poor lighting, inhalation of dangerous chemicals, repetitive stress injuries caused by rough riding trains and using hammers, sledge hammers and heavy pry bars.
Even though railroad companies are aware of these hazards, they often fail to correct them, placing their employees in an unsafe work environment. Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers have the power and resources to take on your employer.
Who Is Subject to Injury and Illness Because of Rail Company Negligence?
Every employee who works for the railroads are subject to injury and illness caused by the rail company’s negligence. Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers employ investigators with decades of experience to obtain witness statements, photos and physical evidence to prove negligence against your railroad employer. If you sustain an injury, you should contact our office for a free consultation and advice on how to preserve this evidence as areas change and witnesses forget key elements over time.
Working With a Virginia Railroad Accident Attorney
Attorney John Cooper and Jim Hurley are dedicated to help you hold railroad companies accountable for negligence and pursuing the compensation you need to make a proper recovery. Contact Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers to discuss the facts of your situation. You can call our railroad injury number at 757-333-3333 or contact us online for help. Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers provide free consultations and only get paid if you get compensated.
John Cooper has represented injured railroad workers for decades. We recently recovered more than $303,000 from Norfolk Southern Railway for a client who suffered an arm injury when he jumped out of the way of a giant set of train wheels.
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