Fractures are quite common among railroad workers and others who have dangerous jobs. Breaking or cracking a bone can be the possible outcome of a sudden event or a long period of repetitive stress on the bone — both of which are common scenarios for railroad employees. Fractures can be very troublesome, painful and costly to treat. Some fractures are debilitating, effectively ending an individual's career.

The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), enacted in the early 1900s to protect railroad workers, has provisions to compensate rail employees who have suffered fractures on the job. If you or a loved one suffered a fracture or another serious injury while working for a railroad, contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced FELA attorney about your right to seek compensation.

How Do Fractures Occur?

Fractures can happen to any bone, including those of:

  • the hand and wrist
  • arm
  • hip
  • pelvis
  • leg
  • feet
  • knees
  • back
  • neck
  • shoulder
  • skull

Perhaps the most common cause of fractures among railroad employees is falling on ballast, the crushed rock that makes up the "bed" for the railroad tracks. Ballast is not a stable walking surface. Falls also happen on other irregular surfaces, oil or grease on the ground, and icy or wet surfaces. All of these are common environments for rail workers.

Stress Fractures

Tiny cracks in a bone, or stress fractures, are common among railroad workers whose jobs involve repetitive work. The overuse of the bone(s) causes the cracks, with symptoms that may include:

  • swelling
  • tenderness in a specific spot
  • pain; increased pain with activity
  • decreased pain with rest

If a stress fracture is not given time to heal properly, chronic pain may be the outcome.

Tests and Diagnosis

A bone fracture can be diagnosed by:

  • X-rays: but stress fractures may not show on X-rays.
  • Bone scan: helpful but may not show images that are specific enough
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Treatment for Fractures

Fractured bones need time and rest to heal. An individual with one or multiple fractures may also need pain medication and an immobilization device such as a brace, walking boot, or cast. Physical therapy and surgery are also needed in some fracture cases.

Talk with a FELA Law Firm about Fractures

Railroad workers who have suffered a fracture can discuss their injury with a FELA lawyer today.

Learn more about other types of railroad injuries and dangers: