Coupling Injuries/Spinal Cord Injuries

Coupling injuries, also referred to as spinal cord injuries, occur when the sensitive fiber tracts inside of spinal vertebrae are damaged and interfere with the normal transmission of signals to and from the brain.

While coupling injuries can occur after a single traumatic event, such as a car accident, they may also develop as a result of repetitive trauma. Railroad employees, among others, are particularly susceptible to incurring cumulative stress spinal cord injuries due to:

  • Long periods of sitting or standing
  • The physical nature of the job (i.e. heavy lifting, having to assume awkward postures, etc.)
  • The movement of the train, which causes whole body vibrations (the transmission of mechanical energy to the body via the feet or backside. WBV has been proven to increase railroad workers' risk of developing serious injuries)

Which Railroad Workers Typicially Suffer Coupling Injuries?

The particular types of railroad employees who are especially susceptible to developing coupling injuries include (but aren't limited to):

  • Brakemen
  • Car attendants
  • Porters
  • Railroad engineers
  • Switchmen
  • Train conductors

If you or a loved one has worked for Union Pacific Railroad, BNSF Railway, CSX, Norfolk Southern or any other railroad company and has been diagnosed with a spinal injury it could very well be a coupling injury; it's vital that you:

  • Receive all necessary medical treatments for the best chances of recovery
  • Consult with an experienced FELA attorney to find out if you are entitled to a settlement for your work-related injuries and personal losses

Symptoms of Coupling Injuries

The precise symptoms caused by coupling injuries will depend on the location and severity of the injury. The higher the coupling injury is on the spine, the more likely it is to cause paralysis in the limbs.

You may have developed a coupling injury if you are experiencing any combination of the following symptoms in one or multiple limbs:

  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Limited range of motion
  • Loss of sensation
  • Pain or severe stinging sensations
  • Spasms

Additionally, coupling injuries may also cause breathing problems, changes in sexual function and/or loss of bladder or bowel control.

Because coupling injuries can develop due to repetitive stress on the spine, it's essential to receive immediate medical attention as soon as the above symptoms develop. Lack of treatment for spinal cord injuries can worsen the injuries and, eventually, cause irreversible damage.

FELA Lawsuits Compensate for Coupling Injuries

Railroad employees who sustain coupling injuries on-the-job may be entitled to a settlement via the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), a piece of legislation that provides compensation for injured railroad workers':

  • Hospital bills
  • Future costs of treatment
  • Lost wages should he/she be prevented from working
  • Permanent disability that may result in a decreased quality of life
  • Emotional pain and suffering

In most cases, FELA settlements are substantially larger than those granted by traditional workers' compensation laws.

To learn more about your legal rights and options following diagnosis, contact a railroad attorney at Gordon & Elias, L.L.P. at 800-773-6770 today. We will schedule a private consultation with an experienced FELA attorney who will evaluate your case and determine the best legal strategy for you.