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VICTIMS OF DIESEL EXPOSURES

Railroad Workers and Parkinson’s Disease

Published on November 18th, 2021 by Andrew L. Hughes

Railroad workers are at a significantly elevated risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Why is that? Because railroad workers have historically been exposed to known causes of Parkinson’s disease, including herbicides, chlorinated solvents and welding fumes. The diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease generally occurs many years after the workplace exposures.  Railroad workers diagnosed with Parkinson’s have three years to file a lawsuit from the date of diagnosis or, in some instances, three years from when they learn of the connection between their railroad exposures and their disease.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological disorder affecting the movement of the body. Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. However, proper treatment may significantly improve the symptoms. The early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are often barely noticeable but progressively become worse.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s

Early signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may include:

  • Tremors
  • Slowed Movement
  • Rigid Muscles
  • Impaired Balance and Stooping Posture
  • Changes in Handwriting
  • Loss of Smell
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Speech Changes
  • Masked Face
  • Dizziness or Fainting

Railroad Worker Verdicts and Settlements for Parkinson’s and other Neurological Injuries

Parkinson’s is just one of the neurological disorders and brain injuries that impact railroad workers. Many railroad workers have developed neurological disorders such as toxic encephalopathy. Toxic encephalopathy is diagnosed as a result of permanent, usually irreversible, changes in the brain. To date, tens of millions of dollars have been awarded to railroad workers suffering from toxic encephalopathy and other neurological injuries.  As the medical links between Parkinson’s and railroad workers exposures to chlorinated solvents, herbicides and welding fumes grows stronger, the railroads will see much more litigation in this field.

Hughes Law Offices has compiled a few verdicts and settlements involving railroad workers with neurological injuries.  Unless specifically noted, Hughes Law Offices was not the handling attorney. And bear in mind that the railroads received Not Guilty verdicts in some matters.  Linking neurological injuries to workplace exposures is a difficult task which requires expert testimony.  These FELA cases are complicated undertakings.

Here are a few examples of FELA verdicts and settlement related to neurological disorders:

  • $1,570,159 verdict – Railroad pipefitter was made to use dangerous solvents as degreasing agents. The pipefitter developed toxic encephalopathy caused by his occupational exposure to the solvents. Judgment was reduced to  $1,099,011 to offset the Plaintiff’s comparative negligence. (Monhollen v. CSX Trans. Inc)
  • $12,000,000 verdict – Plaintiff cleaned grease off of cars and parts using various solvents principally trichloroethylene (TCE). While working for the railroad Plaintiff developed brain abnormalities consistent with toxic encephalopathy. Judgment was reduced by 12% for Plaintiff’s comparative negligence. (Crouch v. CSX Transp. Inc)
  • $560,000 verdict – Railroad machinist used toxic solvents to clean locomotive parts and engines which caused him to suffer brain damage. The railroad argued that the brain damage was instead caused by heavy alcohol and drug use. The Jury awarded $ 60,000 in damages for a chemical burn suffered by the Plaintiff and $ 500,000 for brain damage. (Kemp v. Burlington Northern Railroad).
  • $2,740,000 verdict – Plaintiff worked in a rail shop for about four years where he was made to use chlorinated solvents. Plaintiff later developed toxic encephalopathy induced by exposure to toxic solvents. (Moody v. CSX Transp. Inc.)
  • $2,000,000 verdict – Plaintiff cleaned locomotive engines using chlorinated solvents, primarily TCE. He did not use a respirator or protective clothing. Plaintiff was diagnosed with toxic encephalopathy. The judgment was reduced to $ 1,800,000 to reflect the finding of the Plaintiff’s 10% contributory negligence. (Williams v. CSX Transp. Inc.)
  • $5,000,000 verdict – Railyard worker endured frequent and prolonged occupational exposure to numerous chlorinated solvents including TCE and tetrachloroethylene (PERC). His exposure to chlorinated solvents caused him to suffer brain damage. He was also exposed to asbestos which caused a respiratory injury.  (Hensley v. CSX Transp. Inc.)
  • $3,000,000 verdict – Plaintiff worked in a railroad shop where he was repeatedly exposed to cleaning solvents. He was diagnosed with solvent-induced brain damage. The judgment was reduced to $ 1,950,000 for the Plaintiff’s 35% comparative negligence. (Lone v. CSX Transp. Inc.)

If you suspect that your illness could be related to your railroad exposures to solvents, herbicides or welding fumes, call Hughes Law Offices today to speak to an attorney.  Your time to file a lawsuit is limited.  Call 1-312-877-5588 today.

 

 

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