Diesel exhaust consists of numerous harmful compounds. Many of these compounds can damage or even destroy lung tissue. Over time, this damage can lead to conditions such as:
- Diesel Asthma
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Reactive Airway Disease (RAD)
- Pulmonary Fibrosis/Interstitial Lung Disease
- Black Lung
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Attorneys across the country have successfully litigated various railroad pulmonary claims. Here is a sampling of railroad pulmonary injury settlements and verdicts:
In 2010, a 68 year old former locomotive engineer dying of pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive disease involving scarring of the lung tissue, was awarded $3.7 million by a Montana jury. The suit was brought under the FELA and the Locomotive Inspection Act and alleged that the engineer was exposed to diesel exhaust while riding in locomotives, silica dust from the railroad ballast, dust from the locomotive sand hoppers, asbestos from the locomotive brake shoes, among other sources. Older, poorly maintained locomotives were blamed for the exposures. Evidence was presented showing that the railroad did not remove asbestos from its diesel locomotives until the late 1990’s, despite the fact that the railroad was aware of the dangers of asbestos and silica dust as early as the 1930’s.
In 2008, a 61 year old locomotive engineer was awarded $2.6 million by a jury when he proved up permanent asthma from exposure to diesel exhaust. The asthma forced plaintiff to take a medical leave that resulted in lost wages. Liability under the FELA and Locomotive Inspection Act was decided prior to trial in this case when the court granted plaintiff’s pre-trial motion.
In 2005, a train conductor who was forced to retire at the age of 60 received $668,100 via jury verdict. The conductor, who was a smoker, proved that his exposures to diesel exhaust on board the railroad’s locomotives caused diesel asthma, an illness that required plaintiff to retire early.
In 2009, a jury awarded a locomotive brakeman $1.2 million as a result of his development of allergic sinusitis, asthma and reactive airway disease. Following an incident involving a fire on a locomotive, the injured plaintiff began having intense reactions to diesel exhaust. As a result, the trainman, who was in his 50’s, could not work in his previous occupation.
Hughes Law Offices is providing case histories to inform visitors about actual case fact patterns. Unless specifically noted, the cases summarized herein were not handled by attorneys at Hughes Law Offices.