On September 30, 2016, a railroad worker who developed cancer after exposure to toxic chemicals on the job was awarded $7.5 million by an Illinois jury. James Brown, diagnosed with cancer in 2008, filed the lawsuit against Union Pacific Railroad, reported the Madison-St. Cloud Record.
Creosote, Lead, Other Toxic Chemical Exposures
Mr. Brown testified that he was exposed to creosote, cleaning or degreasing solvents, lead, and other toxic chemicals without the aid of proper protective equipment. His job included the handling of railroad ties. Some ties he installed were “soaking wet” with creosote, a known carcinogen. He also said that he washed off the ties and equipment. That job left him covered “head to foot” in creosote, a toxic chemical which soaked through his wet clothes into his skin.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Mr. Brown was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) after it progressed from Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). Other related health problems included injuries to his eyes, legs, feet, medication-caused weight gain, impotence, memory loss.
Mr. Brown was a railroad worker for some 31 years: 13 for Union Pacific, 18 for its predecessor, Chicago & North Western Railway (CNW). His lawyers said that he was eventually issued a hard hat and gloves, but no protective equipment until CNW became Union Pacific in the mid 1990s.
Railroad Worker Cancer Trial: $7.5 Million Award
The lawsuit was filed on December 2, 2010 in Madison County Circuit Court, Illinois — In Re: James Brown v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. — Case No. Case No. 10-L-1213.
FELA Railroad Case
Congress recognized in 1908 that railroads differ from other employers. Congress saw then that railroad worker’s compensation laws were inadequate. Railroad workers were being badly injured or killed with little to no compensation. Congress consequently passed the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). This law protects railroad workers, allowing them to obtain the compensation they deserve when injured on the job. The law permits claims against the railroad for loss of the enjoyment of life; pain and suffering; past, present and future wage loss. To recover this compensation in a FELA case, the railroad worker must prove fault on the railroad’s part. Our law represents railroad workers for their injuries suffered on the job or as a result of it.
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Matthews & Associates Law Firm is handling railroad related injury cases in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. If you are a railroad worker who was diagnosed with cancer, contact our lawyers now for a free case consultation. You can use the form to the right of this page or click this contact form to reach our railroad lawyers for a free, no-obligation case consultation.
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