Written by Joe Lahav, Esquire | Legally Reviewed By Daniel Wasserberg | Edited By Walter Pacheco

Importance of Hiring a Mesothelioma Lawyer in Illinois

Illinois mesothelioma lawyers offer a wealth of knowledge on local exposure sites and asbestos companies. They know the specific job sites associated with asbestos exposure in Illinois and the asbestos products used at those sites. 

Local expertise helps firms investigate cases, identify liable companies and build strong cases. Illinois asbestos lawyers also have experience navigating complex state laws involving asbestos litigation to obtain favorable outcomes for their clients.

“My Illinois-based lawyers didn’t do it by phone. They came and saw me and talked to me personally. They understood me and how involved I was with my job in the Navy.”

Facing a mesothelioma diagnosis and the medical and legal aspects of the situation can often feel overwhelming for families. The best Illinois asbestos lawyers understand all the ways people are exposed in the state. They can empathize with your experience, and they know how to support families throughout the legal process. 

Filing a Mesothelioma Claim in Illinois

People file mesothelioma claims in Illinois because they were exposed to asbestos in the state or the company responsible is headquartered there. Madison County, Illinois, has become one of the nation’s top jurisdictions for asbestos litigation.

Throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s, asbestos legal claims became increasingly backlogged in Madison County. In response, the judicial system implemented reforms to process asbestos cases more efficiently. For example, mesothelioma patients can now benefit from a fast-track filing process.

No. 1

The national ranking of Madison County, Illinois, for asbestos lawsuit filings in 2022. The jurisdiction accounts for nearly 27% of the nation’s mesothelioma lawsuits.

Mesothelioma litigation includes personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Survivors and their families can also work with Illinois mesothelioma lawyers to file trust fund claims, established when asbestos companies declare bankruptcy. There’s currently more than $30 billion in these trust funds.

Illinois has statutes of limitations that place time limits on filing a claim. For mesothelioma patients, this limit is 2 years from the day of diagnosis. For family members, it’s 2 years from the date of the loved one’s death. An experienced mesothelioma attorney in Illinois can help assess if any exceptions apply to your specific case, the best place for your to file and the best options for you.

Mesothelioma Law Firms Practicing in Illinois

Mesothelioma survivors and their loved ones in Illinois have access to some of the top asbestos law firms in the country. Firms like Cooney & Conway, Simmons Hanly Conroy and Meirowitz & Wasserberg have offices in Illinois.

Illinois Cities With Top Asbestos Law Firms
  • Alton
  • Aurora
  • Champaign
  • Chicago
  • Elgin
  • Joliet
  • Naperville
  • Peoria
  • Rockford
  • Springfield
  • Waukegan

Firms that practice in Illinois handle a lot of cases, which translates into experience that may help your family access funds to pay for medical expenses. From 2018 to 2022, plaintiffs filed about 50% of all asbestos lawsuits in Illinois courts, according to an industry report.

Top Asbestos Firms in Illinois

Cooney & Conway is a Chicago mesothelioma law firm and Simmons Hanly Conroy is headquartered in Alton, Illinois. Meirowitz & Wasserberg also has an office in Illinois. These Illinois asbestos lawyers understand federal asbestos regulations and Illinois state statutes. Attorneys at these firms help Illinois residents file claims both in and out of state as nationwide firms.

Cooney & Conway Logo
  • $7 Billion Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated a National Tier 1 Firm by U.S. News & World Report in 2022
meirowitz & wasserberg logo
  • $200 Million Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated in the Top 10 Asbestos and Mesothelioma Trial Lawyers
Simmons Hanly Conroy Logo
  • $8.9 Billion Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated a Tier 1 Law Firm in 2022 by U.S. News & World Report

These top asbestos firms regularly secure significant payouts for families coping with mesothelioma. For example, Illinois mesothelioma attorneys at Cooney & Conway secured $30 million for the surviving family of Thomas Jackson, who developed mesothelioma following exposure to asbestos-contaminated talc used in a Decatur, Illinois, tire facility where his father worked.

Lawyers at Cooney & Conway in Chicago worked with Weitz & Luxenberg in New York to secure a $23 million verdict for Cynthia Cowger of Illinois. She developed mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos in Qualitex Co. Cowger’s professional dry-cleaning products.

Top Nationwide Mesothelioma Law Firms

Illinois residents with asbestos-related diseases have many options for legal representation. Patients and families may also consider a nationwide mesothelioma law firm because of the experience and reach they offer.

When exposure takes place outside of Illinois, a nationwide firm can help you file a claim elsewhere. People also file in other states when the responsible company is headquartered in another state.

Weitz and Luxenburg
  • $8.5 Billion Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated #1 by U.S. News & World Report for 2022
Nemeroff Law Firm Logo
  • $500 Million Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated a “Hall of Fame” law firm by The Legal 500

Top asbestos law firms that practice nationwide have tried many different types of cases in most states. They have the most experience winning cases against large asbestos corporations. They can help you identify and build a case against the companies responsible for the asbestos exposure that caused your mesothelioma diagnosis.

Asbestos Exposure in Illinois

Illinois ranks No. 7 in the U.S. for mesothelioma and asbestosis deaths. The state’s high ranking is because of its extensive industrial history in cities such as Chicago, Peoria and Alton. About 117 mesothelioma cases were reported in Illinois in 2020, which is the most recent data available.

Industrial activity that used asbestos in Illinois includes shipbuilding, manufacturing and construction. Military bases also used a lot of asbestos products. Asbestos exposure in Illinois also 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 Illinois workers were exposed to asbestos products used in factories, plants, refineries, farmhouses, schools and public buildings. Exposure today tends to occur because of legacy asbestos in old buildings.

W.R. Grace & Co. operated an asbestos-tainted vermiculite processing plant in Chicago. Facilities including the Chicago Nuclear Powerhouse, Illinois Central Railroad in Peoria and Kentile Floors Inc. plant in Chicago were all known asbestos exposure sites in the state.

Illinois Worksites and Asbestos
  • Caterpillar Inc. facility in Peoria
  • Eureka facility in Bloomington
  • Johns Manville Corp. plant in Waukegan
  • Mobil Oil plant in Joliet
  • Pabst Brewing Co. brewery in Peoria
  • Standard Oil plant in Joliet
  • U.S. Steel plant in Chicago

Veterans were also exposed at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois. An asbestos removal project abated the mineral from 17 facilities on the base in 2015.

Mesothelioma lawyers in Illinois have helped those exposed to asbestos in Illinois and their families secure trust fund payouts, lawsuit settlements and multimillion-dollar verdicts. Speaking to a lawyer now can help begin the process of filing for mesothelioma compensation as soon as possible.

Illinois Companies That Exposed Workers to Asbestos

Illinois’ manufacturing plants, textile mills, power plants, rubber plants and insulation companies used many asbestos products daily. Illinois workers have developed asbestos-related diseases after working at these types of facilities.

Illinois Asbestos Companies
  • Aaer-Sprayed Insulations, Inc.
  • Accurate Felt & Gasket Manufacturing Co.
  • Advance Automobile Accessories Corp.
  • Andrews Asbestos & Rubber Co.
  • Asbestos Textile Co., Inc.
  • Aspen Plastics
  • Blackhawk Gasket Co.
  • Burks Pumps
  • Central Asbestos & Magnesia Co.
  • Chicago Fire Proof Covering Co.
  • Filter Paper Co.
  • Fishlove & Co.
  • Forty-Eight Insulations, Inc.
  • Grant Wilson, Inc.
  • Imperial Belting Co.
  • Industrial Filter & Pump Mfg. Co.
  • Industrial Gloves Co.
  • John Crane Packing Co.
  • Kewanee-Ross Corp.
  • Mason-Dixon
  • Midwest Products of Illinois
  • Pillsbury Mills
  • Resilite Mfg. Co.
  • Rhopac Inc.
  • Rockford Safety Equipment Co.
  • Rowles Co., E.W.A
  • Sager Glove Corp.
  • Servicised Construction Specialty Corp.
  • Sonneborn Building Products, Inc.
  • Standard Asbestos Mfg. Co.
  • Textile Mills Co.
  • Tile-Tex Co.
  • Unarco Industries, Inc.
  • United Packing & Gasket Engineering Corp.
  • United States Gypsum Co.
  • Universal Insulation Co.
  • Universal Metal Hose Co.
  • Universal Wire & Cable Co.
  • Wheeler Protective Apparel, Inc.

Major asbestos companies that operated in Illinois include the Owens-Illinois plant in Alton and John Crane facilities around Chicago. The Union Asbestos & Rubber Company, known as UNARCO, operated in Bloomington and Chicago as well. 

Notable Illinois Asbestos Verdicts

These are among the highest verdicts awarded in Illinois. However, most mesothelioma lawsuits reach a settlement out of court.

Asbestos Verdicts in Illinois Lawsuits
  • $40.75 Million: An Illinois jury awarded damages in 2023 to mesothelioma patient Bruce Torgerson. He was exposed to asbestos in John Crane Inc.-manufactured gaskets and packing while working as a pump man.
  • $30 Million: A Cook County Circuit Court jury ordered Bridgestone Firestone Tires to pay damages to Thomas Jackson’s spouse in 2023. Jackson died of mesothelioma from asbestos-contaminated talc his father brought home on his clothes while working at the company’s Decatur facility.
  • $23 Million: A Cook County jury ordered Qualitex Co. to pay damages in 2021 to Cynthia Cowger, who developed pleural mesothelioma from exposure to Qualitex’s asbestos-containing press pads while working at a dry cleaning company.
  • $16 Million: A Madison County Circuit Court jury ordered Armstrong Contracting and Supply Company in 2021 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.
  • $3.58 Million: A Cook County Circuit Court jury awarded damages in 2021 to the surviving family of Fred Riebel, who died of mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos working as an insulator at U.S. Steel and BP Amoco.
  • $4 Million: An Illinois jury ordered U.S. Steel to pay damages in 2022 to the surviving family of James O’Reilly, who died of mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos in gaskets, insulation and valves working as pipefitter.
  • $1.5 Million: The court awarded Florence Campbell damages in 2011 in her suit against Ericsson over the death of her husband, Richard Campbell, who developed mesothelioma after working with asbestos-containing wires and cables at the U.S. Steel plant in Chicago.

The average mesothelioma lawsuit settlement amount is between $1 and $2 million. Experienced Illinois mesothelioma lawyers will negotiate mesothelioma settlements on your behalf and have also secured six-figure payouts from asbestos trust funds.

Illinois Asbestos Laws and Regulations

Federal, state and regional laws regulate asbestos abatement and litigation in Illinois. For example, Cook County and the city of Chicago have their own regulations. 

Title 77 of the Illinois Administrative Code details requirements for asbestos abatement in commercial and public buildings, including schools. The Illinois Small Business Environmental Assistance Program helps business owners understand the requirements for compliance with asbestos regulations in public buildings.

Key Facts About Illinois Asbestos Laws
  • The Illinois Code of Civil Procedure defines the statute of limitations for lawsuits filed in Illinois. This law states that plaintiffs have 2 years to file a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit.
  • Illinois Statutes Chapter 735 outlines the state’s negligence laws. These laws allocate the responsibility of paying damages in mesothelioma personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
  • Title 77 dictates that only licensed professionals may perform asbestos removal in commercial and public buildings in Illinois. This requirement also extends to residential buildings with more than 4 units.

Local and state departments play roles in overseeing and enforcing the state’s regulations on asbestos to protect the public and workers against exposure. These departments enforce laws, oversee permitting and licensing and ensure the safety of asbestos removal projects.

Among the departments that oversee asbestos is the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Asbestos Unit. This department enforces regulations under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, which includes asbestos handling standards.

Danielle DiPietro, Patient Advocate

“We help hundreds of patients in Illinois each year where nearly 50% of all U.S. mesothelioma claims are filed.”

Patient Advocate Danielle DiPietro

Asbestos Litigation Trends in Illinois

Illinois is the most popular state for filing mesothelioma lawsuits, and its courts created 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.

Illinois Asbestos Lawsuit Facts
  • 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 6 months, compared to years in other states
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Setoffs: A setoff reduces the damages the jury awards. 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.

Fast-track filing may affect your claim if you’ve received a mesothelioma diagnosis. Setoffs will affect you if you’ve received compensation from an asbestos trust fund. For those already involved in a claim, the court will determine comparative fault and liability regulations.

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