Railroad – Cancers

After World War II, American railroads phased out steam locomotives in favor of diesel powered locomotives.  By 1959, 95% of the locomotives in America were diesel-powered.

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    In 1955, the railroads recognized that diesel exhaust posed a risk to its employees, but according to one railroad defense attorney at the time, diesel exhaust cases were “relatively unimportant.”

    Testing by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s confirmed the presence of benzene and other known carcinogens in diesel exhaust.  Despite that notice, railroad training materials failed to inform their employees that diesel exposures could cause cancer. In fact, many railroad training presentations claimed diesel exhaust was not harmful.

    In 2012, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that diesel fumes are “carcinogenic to humans.”  Suffice it to say, after that finding, diesel exhaust cases against the railroad are no longer “relatively unimportant.”

    The World Health Organization’s finding will make it easier to prove that your cancer is related to your workplace exposure to diesel exhaust.  In evaluating your railroad cancer claim, we typically use diesel exhaust as a baseline exposure.  With the help of our experts, we will analyze all of your railroad toxic exposures and determine which ones played a part in causing your illness.

    Many cancers have been linked to diesel exposure, including:

    Railroad workers often endure additional exposures to toxins like benzene-containing solventssilica sandcreosote, pesticides, herbicideswelding fumessecond-hand smoke and asbestos. After a thorough intake by a railroad cancer lawyer, Hughes Law Offices will consult with leading oncologists and epidemiologists to determine if your cancer may have been caused by your unique railroad exposures. To learn more, contact us today at 312-877-5588.


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    Here are a couple examples of railroad cancer verdicts and settlements resulting from diesel-related claims:

    • In February of 2015, an Illinois jury awarded a family just over $3.1 million in a wrongful death lung cancer case involving a former employee of a Class I railroad. The claims in that case included both asbestos and diesel exhaust exposures.
    • In 2014, the family of a 62 year old railroad trackman who died as a result of gastric cancer received a $950,000 settlement from a railroad. The trackman’s family alleged that his occupational exposures to diesel exhaust, creosote, calcium chloride, herbicide and pesticides caused his stomach cancer.

    Hughes Law Offices is providing railroad case histories to inform visitors about actual case fact patterns and rulings. Unless specifically noted, the cases summarized herein were not handled by attorneys at Hughes Law Offices. To learn more about these types of cases visit our Railroad Verdicts & Settlements Page

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    Verdicts and Settlements

    Survey of Railroad Cancer Claims

    Hughes Law Offices is providing case histories to inform visitors about actual case fact patterns and rulings.
    Unless specifically noted, the cases summarized herein were not handled by attorneys at Hughes Law Offices.
    See All Verdicts



    Railroad carman died of pulmonary fibrosis following 18 years of welding.



    Locomotive engineer in his early 60’s developed diesel asthma.



    Railroad mechanic diagnosed with squamous cell oropharyngeal cancer.



    Trainman died of nasopharyngeal cancer as a result of working on-board locomotives filled with diesel exhaust.



    Retired railroad employee died of lung cancer as a result of workplace asbestos exposure.



    61 year old railroad conductor diagnosed with interstitial fibrosis and an increased risk of lung cancer as a result of exposure to diesel exhaust.

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