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Chrissie Cole
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Virginia Family Files FELA Lawsuit

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The estate of a Charlottesville man filed a Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) complaint in Madison County Court against CSX Transportation alleging asbestos exposure.

The estate claims that during his employment from 1947 to 1951, he was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed large amounts of asbestos fibers from products he was working with and around.

FELA, passed by Congress in 1908, was designed to compensate and protect railroaders who sustain injuries while working.

Different than state workers’ compensation laws, FELA requires the injured worker to prove that the railroad was “legally negligent” at least n part, in causing an injury.

The estate alleges his exposure, inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers were preventable and should have been anticipated by the company. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma on July 1, 2005.

The complaint alleges he worked with and around pipe and block insulation, sheet rock and other various elements – all of which contained asbestos.

His estate alleges CSX violated provisions of FELA by negligently failing to provide him a safe place to work, failing to furnish suitable tools and equipment including adequate protective masks, failed to warn of the true nature and hazardous effects of asbestos and failing to provide instructions for the safe use of asbestos.

In addition, Goodman’s estate alleges CSX failed to test asbestos containing products prior to requiring employees to work with them, failed to provide safe and proper ventilation systems in the repair facilities, failed to exercise reasonable care in enforcing a safety plan and method of handling and installing asbestos and required employees to work with an ultra hazardous product.

Injured workers can seek compensation under FELA for past and future wage loss, medical expenses and treatment, pain and suffering and partial or permanent disability.

If an employee should die, survivors are entitled to recover damages they have suffered due to the death, under the federal law.

After proving negligence, the injured worker is entitled to full compensation, which is usually many times greater than that provided by state workers’ compensation benefits for non-railroaders which provide benefits on a no-fault basis.

To date, CSX has paid over $30 million to settle lawsuits involving these solvents.