Diesel Injury Law

Railroad Workers
& Kidney Cancer

Railroad workers are at elevated risk for being diagnosed with kidney cancer.  The reason? Because kidney cancer can be caused by long term exposures to diesel exhaust, asbestos and second-hand smoke. It can also be attributed to exposures to other toxins, like coke dust, solvents, engine oils and herbicides. The list of kidney carcinogens is rather long and unfortunately, many railroad employees can often check quite a few boxes on that list.  As a result, we are regularly contacted by former railroad employees diagnosed with kidney cancer.

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    Kidney Cancer Claims Against the Railroad

    When we take on a railroad kidney cancer case, our lawyers will first determine the exposures at fault for the illness.  Knowing what questions to ask is half the battle.  Over the years, we have consulted with many experts in past railroad kidney cancer cases.  We’ve built thorough kidney cancer intake questionnaires based upon those prior FELA cases.  But since every case is entirely unique, we will still consult with top medical and epidemiological experts to ensure that all potential exposures are considered in your case.

    Did you stand next to crosstie fires many years ago?  Did you burn asbestos rope soaked in diesel fuel in order to warm rail?  Did you use trichloroethylene, toluene, Liquid Wrench, Gumout or other solvents to clean parts and tools?  Did you ever work the herbicide spray trains?  How were the cabooses heated?  Did they allow locomotives to run inside the shops?  Were you provided with appropriate breathing protection while sandblasting lead paint off bridges?  Each railroad craft has its own unique exposures and you need to ensure that all exposures are considered in the medical causation analysis.

    Co-workers also play a vital part in corroborating the exposure history.  Railroads have great difficulty defending these claims when multiple co-workers are available to back up the plaintiff’s exposure history.

    Ultimately, many of these railroad cancer cases are only as good as the experts retained by plaintiff’s attorney.  If the law firm hires inexperienced or unqualified experts, the seasoned defense attorneys will set traps for them and later, move to bar their testimony.  If your expert is barred, the case may very likely end.  We take a very conservative approach to our cases.  We don’t ask our experts to stretch the science.  If the science does not support our position, we will not sign up the case.  It’s that simple.

    With all this being said, because we have handled prior FELA kidney cancer claims, we can hit the ground running, spot the strengths and weakness of your case and move towards a speedy trial or settlement.

    Diesel-related Kidney Cancer

    Cancers of the kidney, ureter and bladder can all be attributed to long term exposures to diesel exhaust.  Unfortunately, many kidney and urothelial cancers are not diagnosed in a timely fashion and can often result in loss of a kidney.  In certain circumstances, the cancer can spread from the kidney to other organs, including the lungs.  Diesel-exposed railroad workers should undergo regular health screenings for kidney and bladder cancers.  Workers who have suffered years of exposures to diesel exhaust should inform their doctors about their workplace exposures and ask for available tests and screenings.  The fact is, many of the same carcinogens that can be found in cigarettes are in diesel exhaust.  It would follow that if health screenings are available for long-term smokers, the same screenings should be made available for railroad workers who experienced long-term diesel exposures.  Catching diesel-related kidney cancer can be a matter of life and death.  Tell your doctors about your work and ask for the appropriate screenings.

    Getting Started

    If you suspect that your kidney cancer or that of a loved one may be related to your railroad employment, call Hughes Law Offices today and speak with an experience railroad cancer attorney.  All consultations are free

    Illustrative Kidney Cancer Case Results

    $8,000,000 Verdict – plaintiff, an able-bodied seaman who worked aboard tanker ships, was diagnosed with kidney cancer after being exposed to petroleum products containing benzene. The jury found that the plaintiff’s cancer was a direct result of his employer not providing him a safe place to work. Plaintiff lost a kidney as a result of cancer. (Shelby v. Seariver Maritime,)

    Confidential Settlement – Hughes Law Offices represented a former Bridges & Buildings worker for a Class I railroad who had long term exposures to asbestos, creosote, silica and diesel exhaust which resulted in a diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma just years after our client’s retirement. As a result of witness interviews and expert reports, the railroad settled before a law suit was filed.

    The cases listed above are provided for informational purposes only.  Unless otherwise noted, they were not handled directly by Hughes Law Offices.


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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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