FREE Case Review (866) 588-0600

Railroad Cancer Lawsuit in 2024 (Latest Updates)

The law offices of Schmidt & Clark, LLP, represent current and former railroad workers who were diagnosed with cancer after suffering occupational exposure to cancer-causing substances, also known as carcinogens. Recent studies have found that on-the-job exposure to carcinogens have contributed to railroad employees developing many life-threatening diseases including kidney cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer, bone cancer, mesothelioma, leukemia and multiple myeloma.
Awards & recognition
C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
Free Confidential Lawsuit Review
If you are a current or former railroad worker who was diagnosed with cancer, you should contact our law firm immediately.

You may be entitled to compensation by filing a railroad cancer lawsuit and we can help. Please click the button below for a Free Confidential Case Evaluation or call us toll-free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600.

Start My Free Case Review

What’s the Problem?

Railroad workers are at risk of developing occupational cancers as a result of the presence of known carcinogens in the workplace environment. Benzene, asbestos, chemical solvents, and exposure to welding fumes are common examples of how railroad workers can get cancer on the job.

Unfortunately, these diseases often go undiagnosed for years or even decades, making treatment difficult and increasing the likelihood of severe injury and even death.

Employers Liability Act FELA

Which Cancers are Found in Railroad Workers?

Our lawyers are accepting potential lawsuits for current and ex-railroad employees who were diagnosed with the following types of cancer:

  • Lung cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Bone cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestosis
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma (rare child cancer found in clusters around CSX Railyards)
  • And more

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list of injuries being investigated by our lawyers.

If you are a current or former railroad worker who was diagnosed with any type of cancer, contact us NOW at (866) 588-0600 – you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries through the filing of a lawsuit, and we can help.

Asbestos Exposure in Railroad Workers and Statistics

According to the Rand Corporation study conducted in 2005, from 1990 to 1999, the railroad industry was the 4th most frequently listed industry on the death certificates of people over the age of 15 who died from asbestosis, a lung disease caused by the inhalation of asbestos. [1]

A cross-sectional prevalence study of 377 railroad workers was carried out. The purpose was to investigate the prevalence of asbestos-related diseases. The study compared conventional with more recently adopted criteria for defining abnormal lung function.

It also compared the test results of those who performed reproducibly on spirometry with those who did not.

Medical and occupational histories, flow-volume loops, and posteroanterior and lateral chest radiographs were obtained. Single-breath carbon monoxide diffusing capacity (DLCO) was measured, and chest auscultation was performed.

Related to time since onset of exposure, pleural plaques occurred in 22.9%. There was radiographic evidence of interstitial disease in 1.6%.

Reduced single-breath DLCO (12.4%), crackles (18.4%), and dyspnea (49.6%) were significantly associated with asbestos exposure.

The prevalence of restriction and obstruction was 5.1 and 12.4%, respectively, but differed (p = 0.0001) with the definition criteria selected. The proportion with each of these abnormalities was higher in the nonreproducible group.

According to the lawsuit, Ronnie Sparks claims he worked for the company from 1979 through 2012.

The lawsuit says that during that time he was exposed to various toxic substances like diesel exhaust and asbestos.

Sparks claims the toxins contributed to his development of lymphoma.

Sparks is asking for $1 million.

Railroad workers are a group at risk for asbestos-related diseases. The extent of disease and assumptions about causality are likely to vary with definitions of normalcy and the use of reproducibility criteria. Stated by the National Library of Medicine.

As stated in a 1985 study by the National Library of Medicine, the agency specified that patients with asbestosis have a greater risk of developing malignant mesothelioma cancer.

The large number of deaths in railroad workers from asbestosis is not surprising given the fact that the railroad industry has routinely used asbestos products for heat shielding and insulation. [2]

Radioactive Materials Transported as Cargo

Beginning in the 1960s, radioactive cargo including enriched uranium and a wide variety of other dangerous materials was being transported across the U.S. by train, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

The problem is that many railroad companies failed to provide any industrial safety protection for railroad workers involved in handling and transporting these materials.

Additionally, since there is no way to detect radioactivity from these substances, workers are completely unaware of just how contaminated the materials are, unless the employer is actively screening radioactive materials.

Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA)

In 1908, congress passed the Federal Employers Liability Act, or FELA, to give railroad workers who were injured on the job a means of legal recourse and protective rights.

Under FELA, injured railroad employees can file railroad lawsuits directly against their employers if they can prove negligence in causing the injury.

How Does FELA Work?

In the case that a railroad employee is injured on the job, the term ‘negligence’ refers to the railroad’s failure to do something it should have done or have done something it should not have done. Railroad companies can be found negligent in cases where they:

  • Fail to provide a safe work environment;
  • Fail to provide proper tools or equipment;
  • Fail to perform frequent inspections and maintenance, or
  • Fail to adequately train their employees.

Unlike worker’s compensation laws, FELA cases are not bound by a predetermined maximum level of compensation. Instead, railroad injury rulings are based on many factors including:

  • Lost wages;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Out-of-pocket expenses, and
  • Impairments to quality of life.

Settlement Information

Our lawyers will calculate potential railroad cancer settlements to include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

If a railroad worker dies as a result of their injuries, a wrongful death claim will take into account the family’s loss of income, and while there is no provision for loss of consortium, you can make a claim on the pain and suffering your loved one experienced before their death.

Railroad Workers Develop Cancer

Railroad Workers Who May be Eligible for Compensation

  • Engineers
  • Conductors
  • Switchman
  • Carman
  • Track maintenance
  • Machinists
  • Clerks
  • And more

Former Norfolk Southern Employee Files Lawsuit Alleging Cancer

According to WRCB research from 2023, a former conductor for the Norfolk Southern Railway Company has filed a lawsuit alleging that his job caused cancer. [3]

Plaintiff Ronnie Sparks claims that he was exposed to asbestos, diesel exhaust, and other toxic chemicals during his 30 years with the railroad company. The complaint further alleges that Norfolk Southern violated FELA safety regulations and never complied with OSHA regulations.

Pennsylvania Railroad Worker Alleges FELA Violations after Kidney Cancer Diagnosis

May 31, 2017 – A Pennsylvania railroad worker who developed kidney cancer has filed a lawsuit against his former employers, claiming they violated FELA.

Plaintiff Kenneth L. Kumpf filed the suit earlier this month in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, alleging that the defendants exposed him to carcinogens on a near-daily basis for almost 40 years, which caused him to develop kidney cancer.

The complaint was filed against Penn Central Corporation (doing business as “American Premier Underwriters, Inc.”) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Consolidated Rail (Conrail) Corporation in Philadelphia, and Norfolk Southern Railway Company, of Norfolk, Virginia.

Illinois Railroad Company Found Liable in Mesothelioma Lawsuit

January 13, 2017 – A Mississippi court has found the Illinois Central Railroad Company liable for the death of one of its former employees who died from mesothelioma.

The lawsuit was filed by Clara Hagan, the daughter of a deceased railroad worker named Bennie Oakes.

The jury that originally heard the case determined Mr. Oakes had incurred $250,000 in damages, but that he was 80% responsible for the development of his mesothelioma – thus the Illinois Central Railroad Company was only responsible for 20%, or $50,000.

Following the verdict, the railroad company investigated and found that Oakes had received more than $74,000 from asbestos trusts from other companies, and, as a result, they moved for a setoff of the $50,000 award.

The court denied the motion, indicating that Oakes’ family was now owed the $50,000 plus 8% interest.

Union Pacific Railroad Sued Over Employee’s Kidney Cancer Death

October 17, 2016 – A special administrator of a deceased man’s estate has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Union Pacific Railroad alleging that the company was negligent and took insufficient measures to prevent the cancer death of one of its former employees.

According to the lawsuit, Stanley Adams was employed with Union Pacific Railroad Company from 1974 to 2009, during which time he was exposed to toxic substances that caused him to develop kidney cancer.

Before his death from complications of the disease on February 15, 2015, he suffered great pain, mental anguish, lost income, and medical expenses, according to the lawsuit.

Illinois Jury Awards $7.5M to Railroad Worker with Lung Cancer

September 29, 2016 – A jury in Madison County, Illinois, awarded a former Union Pacific railroad employee who developed cancer after decades of work $7.5 million in damages.

According to the lawsuit, Plaintiff James Brown developed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) as a direct result of prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals at Chicago & North Western Railway (CNW), where he was employed for 18 years until the company was purchased by Union Pacific in 1995, where he worked for another 13 years. Brown alleges exposures to creosote, degreasing solvents, and lead.

According to the American Cancer Society, the plaintiff alleges that he initially developed myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) before it progressed into AML, which he was diagnosed with in August 2008.

As a result of his condition, Brown claims to suffer from bad eyes, legs, and feet, weight gain from his prescription medications, impotence, graft versus host disease, and memory loss, among other serious health conditions.

During his years as a railroad employee, Brown was responsible for picking up ties and dropping them off, as well as installing “soaking wet” ties.

According to the lawsuit, Brown was required to wash the equipment and railroad ties, which left him covered in creosote. He claims that his wet clothes allowed the chemicals to soak into his skin.

Related Articles:

See all related toxic tort litigations our attorneys covered so far.

Choose our lawyers

Have you or a loved one been injured or exposed to a toxic chemical at work or in the home that has caused a severe life-threatening side effect, illness, disease, or death?

Get a Free Railroad Cancer Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers

The Workplace and Environmental Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in railroad cancer lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.

Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, If you were diagnosed with cancer after working as a railroad employee, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.



Free Confidential Case Evaluation

Verified 100% Secure SiteTo contact us for a free review of your potential case, please fill out the form below or call us toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing: (866) 588-0600.