Railroad Workers

Between 1990 and 1999, the railroad industry was the fourth most frequently listed industry on the death certificates of individuals over 15 years of age who died from asbestosis. Much research has shown that those afflicted with asbestosis — a scarring of the lungs due to asbestos fiber inhalation — have a greater risk of developing malignant mesothelioma cancer. This frightening statistic about asbestosis deaths for railroad workers late in the 20th century is not surprising given the history and nature of the railroad industry — an industry that has routinely utilized asbestos products for heat shielding and insulation.

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Legal Reviewer Kenneth P. Danzinger
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Kenneth P. Danzinger, Shareholder, Simmons Hanly Conroy

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Railroad Workers Exposed to Asbestos background image

Railroad Workers Exposed to Asbestos

Railroad work was particularly dangerous in regards to asbestos exposure. The number of ways in which asbestos was used on locomotives exposed railroad workers of many kinds on a daily basis. Due to the high heat in steam engine trains, steam engine railroad workers frequently had the most direct contact with asbestos-containing products.

Railroad jobs at particular risk of asbestos exposure include:

  • Assemblers
  • Blacksmiths
  • Boilermakers
  • Brakemen
  • Bridge Inspectors
  • Carmen
  • Car Knockers
  • Car Repair Trainees
  • Clerks
  • Conductors
  • Construction Workers
  • Cutting Torch Operators
  • Dispatchers
  • Electricians
  • Engineers
  • Enginemen
  • Equipment Operators
  • Fettlers
  • Field Service Technicians
  • Firemen
  • Foremen
  • Freight Conductors
  • General Laborers
  • Heavy Equipment Operators
  • Hostlers
  • Inspectors
  • Laborers
  • Laggers
  • Locomotive Engineers
  • Locomotive Firers
  • Locomotive Inspectors
  • Locomotive Repairmen
  • Machinists
  • Maintenance Mechanics
  • Masons
  • Material Handlers
  • Mechanics
  • Millwrights
  • Oilers
  • Operators
  • Operations Specialists
  • Painters
  • Pipefitters
  • Platelayers
  • Pointsmen
  • Power Maintainers
  • Press Operators
  • Raid Crew
  • Rail Yard Supervisors
  • Railway Electricians
  • Railroad Brake Switch Operators
  • Repairmen
  • Roundhouse Workers
  • Safety Engineers
  • Sheet Metal Workers
  • Signalmen
  • Station Masters
  • Steam Engine Workers
  • Signal Switch Operators
  • Supervisors
  • Switchmen
  • Teamsters
  • Tin-Knockers
  • Track Laborers
  • Train Builders
  • Trainmen
  • Train Yardsmen
  • Unloaders
  • Welders
  • Yardmasters

Asbestos Exposure in the Railroad Industry

For over 100 years, asbestos materials have helped enable success of the railroad industry. Like any other industry that required heat protection for machinery and human life, the railroad industry relied on asbestos for the production of carriages and engine parts, and for insulation protection against heat generated by steam and coal-powered engines.

The railroad industry used asbestos to insulate machinery and pipes throughout the train system, and lined entire passenger cars with asbestos — within walls, ceilings, and in the form of floor tiles.

Many of the parts required for trains to function were also composed of asbestos, including brake shoes and gaskets. The gaskets were often custom cut-to-size by railroad workers, and when asbestos products are cut into, small asbestos fibers are released into the air. These fibers were not only inhaled by the worker doing the cutting, but also by anyone who happened to be in the area.

Research conducted over the past two decades shows that railroad workers have a considerably higher chance than the general population of developing diseases associated with asbestos exposure including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Given the long latency period of asbestos-related diseases, there remains a very good possibility that thousands of mesothelioma cases have yet to emerge for those who worked within the railroad system of America.

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Simmons Hanly Conroy Helps Railroad Workers and Their Families

For railroad workers and their families impacted by a mesothelioma diagnosis, our asbestos attorneys have recovered millions to help them pay for medical bills and hold those who harmed them accountable. A few of Simmons Hanly Conroy’s top mesothelioma settlement amounts recovered for our clients who worked on railroads are listed below.

Our firm represents people harmed by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers on an individual basis, so the results below are reflective of each individual’s mesothelioma story. Results will vary by case depending on the individual’s exposure, age, diagnosis and several other factors.


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Switchman & U.S. Air Force Veteran


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Steam Repairman


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Mechanic & U.S. Army Veteran

  • $1.51 million collected for a New Mexico Railroad Worker and U.S. Army Veteran who died from pleural mesothelioma in 2016
  • $1.8 million collected for the heirs of a 73-year-old Arizona woman who died from Secondary Asbestos Exposure from her father’s Railroad Job
  • $3.57 million collected for a mesothelioma patient who worked on the Tennessee Railroad
  • $1.89 million to a pleural mesothelioma sufferer in 2008 who worked for the Railroad in Nebraska
  • $1 million in mesothelioma settlements to a Railroad Worker from Montana
  • $2 million granted to a Railroad Mechanic and U.S Air Force Veteran from Indiana diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma
  • $3.1 million awarded to an Indiana Railroad Worker who died from pleural mesothelioma
  • Just over $2.8 million obtained in 2006 for a Railroad Laborer from Louisiana affected by pleural mesothelioma
  • $2.1 million granted to a Tennessee Railroad Worker who endured peritoneal mesothelioma until 2014
  • $2.8 million in settlements granted for a Railroad Worker and U.S. Navy Veteran affected by mesothelioma
  • $2.7 million secured for a Texas Railroad Worker who died from pleural mesothelioma in 2008
  • $1.73 million in mesothelioma settlements to a Massachusetts Railroad Fireman and Sheet Metal Worker who died in 2014
  • $2.9 million in settlements obtained for a Colorado Railroad Worker who died from pleural mesothelioma
  • $1.53 million granted in 2012 to the heirs of a woman who died from Secondary Asbestos Exposure through her father’s Railroad Job
  • $2 million to a peritoneal mesothelioma patient diagnosed through Secondary Exposure from her husband’s Railroad Job
  • $2.1 million granted to a Pennsylvania Railroad Brakeman and U.S. Navy Veteran who died from pleural mesothelioma
  • $1.4 million in Nebraska mesothelioma settlements to the heirs of a Railroad Worker
  • $1.5 million awarded to the heirs of a 64-year-old Arizona woman who died from Secondary Asbestos Exposure from her Husband’s Railroad Job
  • Just over $1 million in settlements to a Railroad Worker and Navy Veteran from Jew Jersey in 2011
  • Just over $1 million in mesothelioma settlements collected for an Illinois Railroad Worker and Farmer
  • $1.04 million secured for an Illinois Railroad Worker and Navy Veteran affected by pleural mesothelioma
  • $1.08 million collected for a Tennessee Railroad Worker diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2012
  • $1.01 million obtained for a Florida Railroad Worker and U.S. Marine Veteran who fought pleural mesothelioma for 4 years
  • $1.7 million granted to a Colorado Railroad Worker and U.S. Army Veteran who spent 4 years battling pleural mesothelioma
  • $1.18 million granted to a 77-year-old California Railroad Worker affected by mesothelioma
  • $1.68 million in Illinois mesothelioma settlements awarded to an 84-year-old woman diagnosed from Secondary Exposure due to her father’s Railroad job
  • $1.7 million awarded to an Illinois Railroad Watchman who endured mesothelioma until 2013
  • $2.4 million secured for an Illinois Railroad Worker diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma
  • $1.9 million secured in 2014 for a Missouri Railroad Worker and U.S. Navy Veteran diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma

If you or a loved one believe you may have been exposed to asbestos during your career as a railroad worker, please fill out the form below to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our experienced asbestos attorneys. We’ll help you learn more about mesothelioma and it’s relation to asbestos exposure among railroad workers.

Filing a FELA Claim for Railroad Worker Asbestos Exposure background image

Filing a FELA Claim for Railroad Worker Asbestos Exposure

In 1908, a U.S. federal law was enacted to protect and compensate railroad workers who were injured on the job because of the wrongdoing of the employer, railroad or equipment manufacturer. This law is called the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) and is similar to workers’ compensation insurance provided to occupations in other industries.

In order to receive any type of compensation under FELA, the locomotive worker must prove that the railroad, employer or equipment manufacturer was negligent in some way and therefore caused the injury. Not only does FELA cover bodily injuries sustained on the job, it also covers asbestos exposure and subsequent asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma.

One of the benefits of filing a FELA claim is that FELA compensation is generally much higher than a typical workers’ compensation claim or other forms of negligence claims, such as a lawsuit for injuries sustained in a car accident. If you are a current or former railroad worker who was diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you should consider filing a FELA claim to secure compensation for:

  • Your past and future wage loss
  • The cost of your past and future medical treatments
  • Your past and future pain, suffering and mental distress

FELA Attorney Spotlight: Ken Danzinger

Simmons Hanly Conroy has several attorneys experienced in filing FELA claims for railroad workers across the country. One such attorney is Shareholder Ken Danzinger who has more than 20 years of experience filing FELA claims.

An example of one of those stories is Ken’s client who was a California railroad worker from 1955 to 1959. He worked as a scrapper, which means he scrapped steam engines full of asbestos insulation and equipment. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2012. He hired the firm and then passed away two months later. Before he passed, the railroad worker gave a deposition, and Ken was able to expedite the case. Because of Ken’s quick legal work, the family received a significant mesothelioma FELA settlement.

Dedicated to his clients and their families, Ken has secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for them. And it doesn’t matter where you live — Ken has taken cases to trial in multiple jurisdictions, including Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Montana and West Virginia.

Get to Know Firm Shareholder Ken

Simmons Hanly Conroy shareholder Ken Danzinger

Simmons Support Team
Legal Reviewer Kenneth P. DanzingerReviewed by:Kenneth P. Danzinger

Shareholder, Simmons Hanly Conroy

  • Fact-Checked
  • Legal Reviewer

Attorney Kenneth P. Danzinger is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy with over 20 years of experience practicing law. He focuses his practice on helping individuals and families impacted by asbestos-related diseases, like mesothelioma.