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Railroad worker sues Union Pacific claiming toxic exposure

Workers nationwide, including in Iowa, are covered by the workers' compensation insurance system. The insurance is carried by employers with the understanding that injured employees cannot file claims against their employers. Benefits can be claimed from the insurance program regardless of who was at fault. In rare circumstances, employees may have viable claims against their employers. Such may be the case in a claim of toxic exposure that was filed by a man in another state.

The lawsuit was filed by a railroad worker against Union Pacific Railroad Company in 2010, and the case is currently at trial. According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges he was exposed to multiple toxic substances including lead, creosote and degreasing solvents during his employment that commenced in the early 2000s. He became unwell and consulted with a doctor in August 2008 who diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia.

The lawsuit states that the diagnosing doctor told the plaintiff that his condition was work-related. According to Union Pacific's argument, the employee's carelessness and negligence lead to his illness; the argument also claimed the illness might have been an existing condition. The defendant contends that the substances that the plaintiff were exposed to are not classified as dangerous.

While it is unknown how this lawsuit will end, workers who want to pursue lawsuits against their employers may benefit from discussing the claim with an experienced workers' compensation attorney. Cases in which toxic exposure or other severe injuries were caused by the egregious negligence of an employer may be viable personal injury claims. However, proving such negligence may be best achieved by a skilled Iowa attorney.

Source: madisonrecord.com, "Railroad worker's suit alleging injury from chemical exposure at trial in Judge Mudge's court", Heather Isringhausen Gvillo, Sept. 20, 2016

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