In the years of experience as railroad injury lawyers bringing cases under FELA, Wilson & Hajek has claimed and won cases involving bee stings and insects based on the railway company knowing of these hazards and doing nothing to protect the workers. We must admit that we have never had a case where a goose startled a worker by making a hissing noise and attacking the worker to the point that the worker fell backward and twisted his ankle on ties and debris. The problem in the case is that the rail worker could not prove that his employer, CSX, knew that the goose was a potential hazard. A jury apparently also believed that the CSX did not know that the goose was a potential hazard up until the time of the incident. In this case, the jury decided that the goose didn’t fly.
While this article is written with some levity involved, there are instances where the railroad company knows of potential hazards from pests such as mosquitoes, rats, hornets, etc. but fails to take action to protect its employees. Often times, the railroad will send its employees into an area to work knowing that they will be exposed to an insect infested area. There is a Supreme Court case which sets forth a rule that if the railroad knew of such hazards, but exposed its workers to such hazards, then the worker can recover against the railroad company for their failure to act and protect the safety of the employees.
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