Knee Ligament Injuries in Railroad Workers

From brakemen to conductors to rail repairmen, occupations in the railroad industry carry unique risks and can put individuals in danger of developing severe injuries, such as knee ligament injuries. While repetitive motion strain tear knee ligaments, so too can accidents or traumatic events.

Given the possibility of injury on-the-job, lawmakers have enacted statutes that specifically protect the rights of railroad workers, should they be injured while working and should their injuries be the result of another individual's negligence or recklessness.

Known as the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), this law typically provides injured railroad workers with larger compensation awards than general workers' compensation laws.

Because FELA is complicated and constantly being amended, it's crucial that injured railroad workers meet with an experienced FELA attorney – before filing a workers' compensation claim – to learn more about their legal rights and find out if FELA entitles them to a settlement for their injuries and losses. If you are an injured railroad worker, suffering from knee injuries, contact the experienced FELA attorneys at Gordon & Elias, L.L.P. today.

How the Knee Joint Works

As one of the most complex joints in the body, the knee joint is made up of four ligaments, including the:

  • anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that is positioned in the center of the knee and allows for rotation of the joint
  • lateral collateral ligament (LCL) that stabilizes the outer knee
  • medial collateral ligament (MCL) that stabilizes the inner knee
  • posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) that is positioned in the center of the knee and controls backward movement of the shin bone

Together, these ligaments secure the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia) and provide a broad range of motion to the lower leg.

ACL Injuries

As one the most commonly injured knee ligaments, the ACL is typically damaged when the feet are immobile while the knees turn in some direction. Common causes of ACL damage in railroad workers include:

  • collision (such as when railroads collide with objects on the tracks)
  • crushing incident (in which an object falls on an individual)
  • heavy lifting accident
  • fall (either from a height or due to a slippery surface)

When railroad employees sustain an ACL tear, they will usually experience:

  • a “pop” in their knee joint
  • the sensation that the knee is giving out from under them
  • swelling pain

To confirm or rule out the presence of an ACL injury, doctors will perform a thorough physical examination of the joint along with MRIs.

MCL Injuries

When the top of the knee is struck, the MCL may be stretched or torn, destabilizing the knee and causing it to buckle. Like ACL injuries, MCL damage may be caused by a single traumatic event, such as a railroad collision, a lifting accident or a fall.

Although symptoms of MCL injuries will depend on the nature and severity of the event, in general, indications that the MCL has been damaged include:

  • swelling
  • difficulty bending the knee
  • pain when placing pressure on the MCL
  • the sensation that the knee is giving out

Have You Suffered a Railroad Work-Related Knee Ligament Injury?

If you or someone you care about has sustained a knee injury while working in the railroad industry, it is important, first and foremost, to see a doctor for medical attention and treatment options to prevent further complications. In most cases, treatments (including modified activity and anti-inflammatory medications) will need to continue for several weeks to allow the damaged ligament sufficient time to heal.

After seeking medical assistance, it is just as important to seek legal guidance from an experienced FELA lawyer who can help you recover the compensation necessary to cover what can be costly medical bills, treatment options, lost wages and other damages you will incur.

Contact an experienced FELA Law Firm Today

At Gordon & Elias, L.L.P., we have been representing injured railroad workers for decades and we understand the losses that often accompany an injury. We have dedicated much of our practice to helping injured railroad workers get their lives back in order following a physical injury and are standing by to help you. For more information, contact a FELA attorney today.