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Railroad Worker Accidents
Railroad Worker Accidents

As your lawyer, I do everything in my power to get you results.- Jim Hurley

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

FELA Attorneys Helping Injured Railroad Workers Throughout Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia

Getting just compensation after an accident

Norfolk Southern, CSX, Amtrak and short line railroads employ a large number of people throughout Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia. Railroad employees injured on the job are usually not eligible for workers compensation. They are, however, protected under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). The veteran attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers understand FELA's special set of laws and know how they pertain to your case. Attorney John Cooper has national credentials in FELA law that few lawyers can match, so when you hire us, you have a strong team backing you.

How FELA affects you

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, we will help you with your claims without charge for occupational or total disability from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB).

Injuries happen to a wide variety of rail workers

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:

  • Engineers
  • Conductors
  • Carmen
  • Car inspectors
  • Clerks
  • Yard masters
  • Trackmen and other maintenance-of-way workers
  • Machine operators
  • Machinists
  • Bridge department personnel
  • Remote control operators

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, we 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.

Quick action is essential

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.

If you’ve been injured working on the railroad, call us for help with your FELA claim

If you are a railroad worker who has suffered an injury on the job, please call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.  Our experienced Norfolk, Virginia-based railroad worker injury attorneys have licenses in North Carolina, Florida and West Virginia and can get admission in any state to handle your case. 

John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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