20 FELA suits claim asbestosis, silicosis

January 2, 2006

On December 22, 2005, twenty former Illinois Central Railroad workers filed claims under the Federal Employer's Liability Act against their former employer. These workers claim to have developed serious work related illnesses, including asbestosis and silicosis during their employment in interstate commerce for the railroad company. The plaintiffs allege that Illinois Central Railroad's negligence caused their injuries and losses.

Asbestos is a natural fibrous mineral that is found in over 3,000 products used today, including roofing, flooring, insulation, household appliances, and much more. Asbestos has long been linked to serious acute and chronic health problems. Once an individual has inhaled or ingested asbestos, these fibers can attach to the lining of the lungs, stomach, or other organs causing serious injury and illness.

Mesothelioma, cancer of an organ's lining, is a disease almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos. Up to 50 years can pass between the time of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma diagnosis. Asbestos can also cause non-cancerous conditions like asbestosis. Asbestosis is a scarring of the lungs that can lead to breathing problems and heart failure.

Silicosis is a condition caused by exposure to silica dust. Silica is a common crystal present during mining, tunneling, quarrying, and work with many metal ores, glass, and sand. Silicosis is characterized by chronic coughing, shortness of breath, and other symptoms of lung damage.

According to the complaints, the railroad worker's injuries were the result of Illinois Central Railroad's failure to:

  • Supply safe work methods;
  • Supply reasonably safe equipment;
  • Adequately warn them of the risks, dangers, and harm to which they were exposed in working with and around asbestos;
  • Warn them of the risks of asbestos exposure; and
  • Modify or abolish certain job duties, equipment, or practices to reduce the levels of asbestos exposure.

Due to the work conditions that led to asbestos exposure, the plaintiffs are claiming that for an indefinite period of time in the future, they will suffer from pain, inconvenience, irritation and annoyance. They now have the burden of medical expenses, treatment, and the seeking of a possible cure. In addition to these health concerns, they claim to have loss wages and that they simply do not have the ability to enjoy life.

For more information on FELA lawsuits, please contact us to confer with a personal injury lawyer.

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