In March 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 that railroad workers who show "genuine and serious" fear of developing cancers from job related asbestosis may be able to recover mental anguish damages under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Recovering damages under FELA can be much more difficult for railroad workers than workers in other industries covered by no-fault workers' compensation laws. Asbestosis, caused by inhaling asbestos fibers, is scarring of the lungs that can lead to breathing problems and heart failure. Railroad workers have been at risk for developing asbestosis for decades.

Lawyers representing railroad workers have alleged that railroad companies knew for years about hazardous conditions which could lead to serious disease and illnesses like asbestosis before they adhered to federal standards . The absence of occupational standards in the railroad industry for nearly two centuries allowed countless numbers of workers to suffer from asbestosis and other illnesses and accept it as part of the job.

Please contact a FELA attorney to learn your legal rights and options regarding asbestosis.