Does FELA Cover Repetitive Stress Injuries?

Railway employees are subjected to injury and danger on a daily basis, from faulty heavy equipment to exposure to toxic substances. Even outside of imminently dangerous situations, a task as simple as lifting heavy objects day in and day out could leave you with a chronic injury. If you were diagnosed with a repetitive stress injury caused by your work, you may be unsure if you are entitled to collect financial compensation under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act.  

Does FELA cover chronic work-related conditions that were not caused by a specific accident?

The Virginia railroad worker injury lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have been obtaining successful outcomes in railroad worker injury cases since 1985. Contact our Norfolk, VA law firm today to schedule a free evaluation of your potential FELA claim. 

What is a Repetitive Stress Injury?

A repetitive stress injury, also known as a repetitive motion injury, is a permanent or temporary injury to a person’s nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that is caused by the constant repeating of a particular motion or motions. Repetitive stress injuries often develop as the result of repeated actions, like typing or heavy lifting. When you strain or overextend a part of your body again and again, it results in cumulative trauma. Movements such as climbing off and on large pieces of moving equipment and throwing heavy switches are typical causes of RSIs in railway employees.

Sadly, over time, these injuries become crippling, making it nearly impossible to accomplish daily tasks such as driving, typing, eating, and cooking. RSIs include conditions like torn rotator cuffs, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic back pain, epicondylitis, and tendinitis, to name a few. These injuries take time to develop and display symptoms because they are caused by chronic overuse. For instance, if a worker has to spend one day a year lifting and moving heavy boxes, they are not going to experience an RSI. However, a worker who has to spend every single workday lifting and moving heavy boxes or equipment could easily experience a repetitive stress injury. 

Can Railways Prevent Repetitive Stress Injuries?

The railroad is responsible for protecting the health and well-being of its employees. This includes preventing RSIs by modifying the tasks of their workers. In many instances, these companies have stopped their workers from having to board any moving equipment and enforced a mandatory maximum number of working hours. Despite this, it is still not uncommon for these railway companies to ignore worker safety in order to increase their profit margin.  

What Should I Do After Being Diagnosed With an RSI?

Repetitive stress injuries can be much more difficult to prove than an injury caused by a single, specific incident, especially if it took place a long time ago. RSIs may be covered under FELA provided that you can prove that the railway was negligent. 

To build the strongest case possible for an RSI, you should keep all of your medical records, especially those associated with the medical treatment of your injuries. The railway will most likely argue that your repetitive stress injury was caused by activities conducted in your private life and is not work-related. Your medical records can disprove this. 

Do You Need A Virginia FELA Attorney?

If you sustained a repetitive stress injury or any other type of injury while you were working for a railroad company, you should not try to handle a FELA claim on your own. A respected Virginia FELA lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can ensure that you understand the legal process and help you recover the full amount of compensation you are entitled to for your injuries. Schedule your free case review today by calling (833) 997-1774 or by filling out our online form. 

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