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Filing a Mesothelioma Claim in Illinois
People file mesothelioma claims in Illinois because they were occupationally exposed to asbestos in the state. Illinois has a long history of industrialization. Unfortunately, the once-common use of asbestos in these facilities has led to Illinois ranking No. 7 in the nation for asbestos-related deaths.
Since the dangers of asbestos came to light, Madison County, Illinois, has become one of the nation’s top jurisdictions for asbestos litigation. According to a 2021 KCIC industry report, Madison County was the No. 1 jurisdiction in the country for mesothelioma lawsuit filings in 2020. Approximately 26% of the nation’s mesothelioma lawsuits were filed there.
Throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s, asbestos lawsuits became increasingly backlogged in Madison County. In response, the judicial system implemented reforms to process asbestos cases more efficiently. For example, mesothelioma patients can benefit from a fast-track filing process.
Mesothelioma claims include personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits and trust fund claims. An experienced mesothelioma attorney in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois can help you evaluate your options.
Filing Deadlines in Illinois
The statutes of limitations in the state limit when someone can file a claim, which is generally two years from their mesothelioma diagnosis or date of death.
Mesothelioma patients and family members should consult an Illinois mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible about when to file a lawsuit and whether to file a claim in Illinois or another state jurisdiction.
You should not rely on any information herein to make a determination about your legal rights. Please speak to an attorney licensed to practice law in your area to best understand your legal options.
Asbestos Exposure in Illinois
Illinois ranks No. 7 in the U.S. for mesothelioma and asbestosis deaths. The state’s high ranking is attributed to its extensive industrial history in older cities such as Chicago, Peoria and Alton.
Asbestos exposure in Illinois occurred during insulation installation, oil refining, farming, food production and power generation.
Illinois residents who develop asbestos-related diseases have access to specialized treatment in Chicago. The top mesothelioma treatment centers in Illinois include the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Loyola University Medical Center.
Work Sites Linked to Asbestos Exposure
Many workers were exposed to asbestos products in factories, plants, refineries, farmhouses, schools and public buildings. Mesothelioma lawyers in Illinois have helped former factory workers, construction tradesmen and their families secure multimillion-dollar verdicts.
- Bloomington: Asbestos exposure at the vacuum company Eureka in Bloomington has resulted in lawsuits. Power plants and industrial operations also exposed workers to asbestos.
- Chicago: Asbestos is found in old Chicago public buildings, schools and factories. Notable locations include an asbestos-tainted vermiculite processing plant, the Chicago Nuclear Powerhouse, Kentile Floors Inc. plant and a U.S. Steel plant.
- Joliet: Oil refining operations at Standard Oil and Mobil Oil plants in Joliet exposed workers to asbestos. Exposure has also occurred in schools and manufacturing plants.
- Peoria: Asbestos lawsuits in Peoria have listed Caterpillar Inc., Illinois Central Railroad and Pabst Brewing Company as defendants. The city’s power plants, food production plants and railway operations also exposed workers to asbestos.
Asbestos exposure tends to occur in old public buildings, schools and industrial work sites. If you are suffering because of past asbestos exposure that took place in Illinois, you may be entitled to compensation.
Mesothelioma Law Firms Practicing in Illinois
Illinois residents with asbestos-related diseases have many options for legal representation. Instead of going with a local firm, mesothelioma patients should consider a nationwide mesothelioma law firm because of the experience and reach they offer.
Firms that practice nationwide have tried many different types of cases in practically every state. They have the most experience winning cases against the large asbestos corporations that may be liable for the asbestos exposure that caused you or a loved one to develop mesothelioma.
Simmons Hanly Conroy
Lawyers at the national mesothelioma law firm Simmons Hanly Conroy are based in Illinois, with offices in Chicago. These mesothelioma attorneys specialize in asbestos litigation and understand federal asbestos regulations as well as Illinois state statutes.
The firm’s asbestos team has helped more than 6,000 families and recovered approximately $7 billion in settlements.
Cooney & Conway
Cooney & Conway was founded as a personal injury law firm in Chicago. For more than 40 years, the firm has won multimillion-dollar victories against the largest asbestos product manufacturers.
The firm has obtained billions of dollars for its asbestos clients across thousands of cases and received an Emerging Lawyers Award for Personal Injury Law in 2021.
Weitz & Luxenberg
Weitz & Luxenberg opened in 1986 and has offices in New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles and Detroit. It represents about 500 asbestos plaintiffs a year with a robust and experienced legal team.
In 2022, Weitz & Luxenburg secured $43 million for a mesothelioma patient after a jury found Algoma Hardwoods, Inc. responsible for asbestos exposure.
The firm has helped more than 55,000 families affected by asbestos and has won over $8.5 billion in mesothelioma verdicts and settlements.
Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman
Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman is based in Hawaii, but its attorneys have traveled to more than 40 states to meet and work with clients. The firm offers unique resources that allows it to specialize in certain cases.
For example, it has an extensive database of job sites where asbestos exposure occurred, the asbestos products that were used and important Navy records on asbestos materials. The firm has won more than 250 jury verdicts and recovered more than $1 billion for plaintiffs.
Nemeroff Law has offices in Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Utah and Houston. They’ve won multimillion-dollar cases against major asbestos companies and have represented plaintiffs throughout the country in many jurisdictions.
The firm has recovered more than $500 million for its clients from thousands of asbestos cases.
Notable Illinois Asbestos Verdicts
These are among the highest verdicts awarded in Illinois. However, most mesothelioma lawsuits reach a settlement out of court.
- $5 Million in 2017: Tremco was ordered to pay damages to the family of Willard Krumwiede. Tremco supplied asbestos-containing tape and caulk that Krumwiede used during his career as a window glazier. Krumwiede later developed mesothelioma.
- $90 Million in 2011: During his career as a pipefitter, Charles Gillenwater was exposed to asbestos in products made by Owens-Illinois, Honeywell, Pneumo Abex and John Crane.
- $1.5 Million in 2011: Florence Campbell was awarded damages for the death of her husband. Richard Campbell developed mesothelioma after working with asbestos-containing wires and cables at the U.S. Steel plant in Chicago. The defendant company was Ericsson.
- $3.4 Million in 2009: A jury awarded damages to the family of Richard Worthley, who worked at a Johns-Manville cement plant. Worthley developed mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos supplied by Advocate Mines Limited.
- $16 Million in 2001: Armstrong Contracting and Supply Company was ordered to pay damages to James Crawford and his wife. Crawford developed mesothelioma after exposure to the company’s asbestos-containing insulation products at an Owens-Illinois glass plant.
Most mesothelioma claims filed in Illinois are settled out of court before going to trial. Although settlements are typically worth less than jury verdicts, experienced mesothelioma lawyers have secured mesothelioma settlements worth more than a million dollars in addition to six-figure payouts from asbestos trust funds.
Illinois Asbestos Laws and Regulations
Federal, state and regional laws regulate asbestos in Illinois. Title 77 of the Illinois Administrative Code details requirements for asbestos abatement in commercial and public buildings, including schools. Cook County and the city of Chicago have their own regulations as well.
Only licensed professionals may perform asbestos removal in commercial and public buildings in Illinois. This requirement also extends to residential buildings with more than four units.
Regulations Governing Asbestos in Illinois
Illinois has regulations to protect residents against asbestos exposure in schools and public buildings. The following Illinois law covers asbestos removal requirements, asbestos safety training and abatement licensing, and related fines and penalties:
- Illinois Administrative Code Title 77, Chapter 855
This law outlines regulations on asbestos abatement in public and private schools and commercial and public buildings in Illinois. It also covers training courses required for asbestos abatement licensure, and the responsibilities of licensed abatement workers. The fines and penalties are intended to promote proper safety practices to protect the public and workers from exposure.
State Departments Overseeing Illinois’ Asbestos Laws
The following local and state departments play roles in overseeing and enforcing the state’s regulations on asbestos to ensure the public and workers are protected against exposure.
- Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Asbestos Unit: The Illinois EPA enforces regulations under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, of which asbestos is included.
- Illinois Department of Public Health Asbestos Program: The IDPH inspects asbestos-abatement projects and sets licensing requirements for asbestos-management professionals.
- Cook County Department of Environmental Control: Cook County has additional permitting requirements for asbestos abatement beyond the state’s requirements.
- Chicago Department of Public Health: The city of Chicago also has extra permitting requirements.
- Illinois Small Business Environmental Assistance Program: This program helps business owners understand the requirements for compliance with asbestos regulations in public buildings.
These departments enforce laws, oversee permitting and licensing, and ensure asbestos removal projects are conducted safely to protect workers and the public.
Illinois Laws Affecting Asbestos Lawsuits
States have laws that affect how long a plaintiff has to file a legal claim and who they can hold negligent in a personal injury lawsuit. In Illinois, these laws include:
- Illinois Code of Civil Procedure Chapter 10
- Illinois Statutes Chapter 735, Section 5/2-1116
The Illinois Code of Civil Procedure Chapter 10 defines the statute of limitations for lawsuits filed in Illinois. This law states that plaintiffs have two years to file a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit. For mesothelioma patients this means two years from the day of diagnosis. For family members, it is two years from the date of the loved one’s death.
Illinois Statutes Chapter 735, Section 5/2-1116 outlines the state’s negligence laws. These laws allocate the responsibility of paying damages in lawsuits filed on account of bodily injury and death, which apply to mesothelioma personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
Asbestos Litigation Trends in Illinois
Illinois is the most popular state for filing mesothelioma lawsuits. Its courts created the following procedures to manage asbestos litigation. These procedures aim to establish fair rules when holding a defendant negligent, awarding damages and determining which plaintiffs deserve a quicker trial.
- Setoffs: A setoff reduces the amount of damages awarded by the jury. In Illinois, defendants in a mesothelioma lawsuit may be entitled to a setoff if the plaintiff has already received compensation from an asbestos trust fund.
- Modified Comparative Fault: In Illinois and many other states, the defendants’ combined liability must be at least 51% for a plaintiff to recover any compensation.
- Fast-Track Filing: Mesothelioma patients are eligible for fast-track filing in Illinois because their condition is terminal. It allows cases to reach trial within six months, compared to years in other states.
- Proportionate Liability: A defendant less than 25% at fault is considered severally liable for damages, while defendants found more than 25% liable are jointly and severally liable for all other damages.
Fast-track filing may affect your claim if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Setoffs will affect you if you’ve received compensation from an asbestos trust fund. For those already involved in a claim, comparative fault and liability regulations will be determined by the court.