What Are The Most Common FELA Injuries?

    What Are The Most Common FELA Injuries?
  • Brain and Head Injuries
  • Broken Bones
  • Back and Neck Injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Burn Injuries
  • Lost Limbs
  • Electrocution
  • Herniated Discs
  • Ligament and Tendon Injuries

Previously, we have tried to explain how FELA lawsuits for railroad and similar injuries compare to other kinds of litigation. If you have not done so already, please read our article on that subject here. However, now we want to review some of the most common FELA injuries and illustrate the effect that they can have on your life.

  1. Brain/Head Injuries
  2. Broken Bones
  3. Back/Neck
  4. Traumatic Railroad Personal Injuries
  5. Common Types of Railroad Injuries
  6. Want To Know If You Can File A FELA Lawsuit?

Brain/Head Injuries

Due to the general nature of railroad work, many employees receive some kind of head injury, including a traumatic brain injury or concussion. How do their heads get hurt? Well, the source of the harm can come from a number of places.

Equipment can fall on top of them. Workers can slip and fall. Coworkers can inadvertently hurt them. Regardless, these injuries can affect their skull, nose, teeth, ear, brain, or other parts of the body above the head. The effects can be severe: loss in quality of life, long-term pain, blurred speech, loss in vision, persistent headaches, and even mood disorders.

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Broken Bones

Though quite common in the railroad industry, broken bones still present a serious problem for workers. Recovering from them can take a long time and cost a lot of money. In the meantime, workers normally cannot even attend work. From simple to complex, open to compound, traverse to oblique, bones break in many different ways on the rail yards.

The circumstances leading up to these injuries is almost as varied as the kinds of broken bone injuries. Importantly, the effects of broken or fractured bones can range far beyond mere medical bills and lost wages; rather, they can also face many intangible injuries such as long-term pain.

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Back/Neck

While many neck and back injuries happen quickly and normally from fast, violent actions, their effects can be felt long after the underlying incident occurred. If your back is harmed, you might face pain in or around your spinal cord. If your neck is injured, your head and nervous system can be seriously impacted.

Both neck and back injuries can force you out of the job for life and significantly impact your long-term earnings potential. Also, both back and neck injuries can require you to engage in extensive long-term medical care and rehabilitation.

  • Loss of limb
  • Herniated discs
  • Burn
  • Disfigurement
  • Crush
  • Electrocution

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Traumatic Railroad Personal Injuries

Railroad workers are exposed to the risk of serious bodily injury and death every day and when accidents happen, they can have a devastating effect. The injuries are often extremely painful and many will never fully heal. Bills for emergency treatment and medical care can be financially crippling, and the worker is often forced out of work to recover. If your accident was caused by the negligence of your employer, the Federal Government ensures your right to file a lawsuit for monetary damages with the help of an experienced FELA attorney.

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Common Types of Railroad Injuries

Here are some of the most common types of traumatic injuries which result in a personal injury lawsuit:

Disfigurement
Many of the injuries that railroad workers sustain will leaving a lasting impact in the form of scars, discoloration, amputation, bone breaks and fractures that heal only partially, and other types of disfigurement. Plastic surgery or reconstructive surgery can be extremely expensive and will often be followed by an extended period of recovery, and the procedures are often less effective than desired. A FELA claim can include damages for pain and suffering to compensate for the victim's loss of self-esteem.

Burn Injuries
Second and third-degree burns are among the most excruciatingly painful injuries a railroader will sustain, and the treatment often includes skin grafts or even amputation of a limb. Explosions, hose ruptures, engine fires and electrical burns from extremely hot metal surfaces are among the most common causes of burn injuries in addition to burns resulting from chemical solvent exposure.

Fractures/Broken Bones
A fractured or broken bone will nearly always result in a recovery period lasting several weeks or months, costing the railroad worker his wages. Slip and fall accidents on oily or wet surfaces or while walking on ballast are common causes of bone breaks and fractures, as well as the skeletal stresses attendant to heavy lifting and repetitive motions.

Head Injuries
Railroad workers frequently receive head injuries of various types, either due to falling tools or freight, or because of a slip and fall accident. The victim may suffer skull damage or brain injury regardless of wearing a helmet or hard hat. Injuries to the head often leave facial scars, broken or missing teeth, and structural disfigurement from a broken nose or other types of disfigurement, as well as requiring expensive medical treatment.

Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries often lead to serious symptoms which can significantly reduce the victim's overall quality of life. Changes to the victim's personality and behavior, reduced cognitive ability, difficulty understanding and expressing emotions, as well as a persistent headache, slurred speech and loss of coordination are only some of the long-term affects you may suffer after a railroad accident.

Concussion
Mild traumatic brain injuries are normally referred to as concussions, and they are common among railroad workers. Many of these injuries will go untreated and will not develop full symptoms for some time after the accident. Concussions are classified according to severity, and symptoms include headache, blurred vision, and difficulty balancing, as well as difficulty concentrating and personality changes.

Back Injuries
A back injury can lead to severe chronic pain and it may force you out of your job. Railroaders who suffer injuries to the spinal cord are often forced into early retirement or must change careers, as well as having to make major accommodations to live with the pain and avoid flare-ups. You may require chiropractic care, massage or physical therapy, and if the injury is severe, it may lead to some form of back surgery, such as a fusion or a discectomy.

Neck Injuries
The neck is especially vulnerable to injury, whether from sudden torsion or whiplash in a collision, or a slip and fall accident, or from being struck by falling objects or carelessly handled equipment. Neck injuries often cause chronic sharp or dull pain, migraine headaches, nervous system dysfunction and reduced lack of motion, and may require an extended period of recovery in a brace or using some form of rehabilitative treatment.

While many neck and back injuries happen quickly and normally from fast, violent actions, their effects can be felt long after the underlying incident occurred. If your back is harmed, you might face pain in or around your spinal cord. If your neck is injured, your head and nervous system can be seriously impacted. Both neck and back injuries can force you out of the job for life and significantly impact your long-term earnings potential. Also, both back and neck injuries can require you to engage in extensive long-term medical care and rehabilitation.

Loss of Limbs
Losing an arm or a leg in a railroad accident may not only be a tragic event, it may also put an end to your career and place your livelihood at risk. Whether you suffered a severed limb in a traumatic amputation with a coupler or if your limb was crushed by cargo or a freight car and had to be surgically amputated, you deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering, as well as for your loss of future income and earning power.

Crush Injuries
The freight cars, locomotives, cargo and equipment in use in a rail yard are all exceedingly large and heavy, and anyone working in and around them is at risk of suffering horrific injuries which result in crushed bones and internal organs. Most accidents of this type are avoidable, and when negligence on the part of the company is at fault, the victims are entitled to compensation.

Electrocution
Electrocution accidents are a common cause of injury for railroad workers. They frequently cause burns, tissue damage or cardiac arrest, and many are fatal. Exposed wiring, high voltage arcs and lighting strikes while working on the track are among the leading causes of electrocution accidents.

Herniated Discs
Heavy lifting, such as in moving equipment and freight, is likely to cause spinal disc herniation which occurs when the outer layer of a vertebra is damaged and allows a portion of the vertebral nucleus, the "shock absorber" between the discs, to bulge out. The disc material presses against the spinal cord or a nerve root causing debilitating pain in many cases.

Injured Ligaments & Tendons
Tendons, the tissues which bind the muscles of the body to the skeleton, and ligaments, which stabilize the tendons and the joints, are susceptible to injury when sudden or extreme forces are applied in an accident. A stretched or torn ligament is referred to as a sprain, while a torn tendon is a rupture. Healing may require immobilization and physical therapy, as well as surgery in some cases.

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Want To Know If You Can File A FELA Lawsuit?

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you evaluate your railroad accident injuries and see if you have a valid claim for damages. Then, if you do, we can file a lawsuit on your behalf and fight for all of the compensation that you deserve. Plus, we can represent you on contingency so that you only have to pay for our services if you’re happy with the award or settlement. Call us today to learn how we can help.

To learn more about FELA claims, please read the following articles:

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