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Illinois Mesothelioma Lawyer

Illinois ranks high among all 50 states, in the top 10, for the number of deaths related to asbestos. Thousands of people in this state have become sick from asbestos exposure and have died from mesothelioma and other related illnesses. These people were unfairly exposed, most often at work, without realizing the danger they were in. Illinois mesothelioma lawyers have helped many of them get justice and compensation for their suffering. Some of the industries that have been responsible for asbestos use and exposed workers in the state include timber, power, coal, agriculture, and manufacturing.

Asbestos Use in Illinois

Asbestos use in the state has been heavy, which explains the high number of deaths related to it. Between 1999 and 2013, 9,720 people in Illinois died from asbestos-related conditions. Nearly 2,000 of those were from mesothelioma, 364 were from asbestosis, and the remaining 7,500-plus deaths were the result of asbestos-related lung cancer. Chicago and Cook County is the area in the state with the highest rates of exposure to asbestos and resulting deaths.

Asbestos was used heavily in several industries and hundreds of workplaces throughout Illinois. Although there are federal and state laws in place now that aim to protect workers, there was a time when people were exposed without knowing that there were such serious risks to their health. This occurred often in the oil refineries and power plants in the state, in manufacturing plants, chemical plants, steel foundries, and other industrial workplaces. Asbestos was most often used for insulating and fireproofing in these industries.

Schools in the state have also been found to be contaminated with asbestos. Any older building may have asbestos in insulation and other materials, and it becomes a health risk if it is disturbed or deteriorates, releasing fibers into the air. Several schools in the state have had to be demolished because of the presence of asbestos that was putting teachers and students at risk of exposure.

Vermiculite Processing

Vermiculite is a natural mineral with several uses that must be processed before use. Several processing sites in Illinois received vermiculite mined from the W.R. Grace site in Libby, Montana. For decades that site produced vermiculite that was heavily contaminated with asbestos. The mine itself caused a huge amount of exposure in mine workers and residents in the area, but also to people working and living near processing plants around the country.

One example of such a site was in Chicago and processed nearly 300,000 tons of vermiculite from the Libby mine between the 1970s and 1996 when operations ceased at the facility. The workers there were exposed to significant levels of asbestos and were at risk for becoming sick later. As recently as 2003 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found traces of asbestos still remaining in the soil at the site.

Johns Manville

Another major source of asbestos contamination that put people in danger was the site of the Johns Manville Corporation in Waukegan. Not only were workers here put at risk, but the company dumped millions of cubic yards of waste at the site, near public beaches and state parks on Lake Michigan. This means that residents and vacationers enjoying the lake, parks, and beaches, could also have been exposed to asbestos. The site was closed in 1998 and the EPA declared it a superfund site in need of federal cleanup funding. The cleanup is still ongoing and the EPA continues to monitor soil, water, and air outside of the official Johns Manville site.

Other Sites in Illinois with Known Asbestos Exposure

In addition to these major sources of asbestos exposure in Illinois, there are many others all over the state. Workers and residents alike have been put at risk of becoming sick from exposure. Some of these industrial sites include:

  • Amoco Oil, Joliet
  • Dresden Nuclear Power Plant, Morris
  • Great Lakes Naval Station, Chicago
  • Peoria Power Plant, Peoria
  • Shell Oil Refinery, Wood River
  • US Steel Corp, Chicago
  • Wisconsin Steel, Chicago
  • Monsanto Chemical Company, Sauget
  • Inland Steel, Chicago
  • International Harvester, Peoria
  • John Deere Company, Moline
  • Commonwealth Edison, Chicago

Illinois Asbestos Laws

The Illinois Department of Health and the Illinois EPA are responsible for state-level regulations related to the management of asbestos. The laws in the state require that any building project that includes asbestos abatement cannot begin until the state has been notified and a charge paid. Asbestos abatement projects can only be done by professionals trained and licensed through the state. Projects involving asbestos must include large, visible signs to warn the public. Projects must also include air samples taken regularly to monitor for fibers in the air. Certain localities, including Cook County, have their own additional rules regarding asbestos.

According to the state of Illinois, local education agencies are responsible for protecting students from airborne asbestos. The state’s Asbestos Abatement Act and Code states that one person in each local agency must be designated to oversee the management of asbestos in schools and any necessary abatement by trained professionals.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations on lawsuits related to asbestos exposure and asbestos-related illnesses is two years from the time of diagnosis. For two years a victim of asbestos exposure who has become sick has a right to find representation and file a lawsuit to seek compensation and justice from the responsible party. The same is true for the loved ones of those who died from the exposure. The statute of limitations on wrongful death suits in the state is two years from the time of death.

Working with an Illinois Mesothelioma Lawyer

People who became sick after being exposed to asbestos in the state may want to seek out the assistance of an Illinois mesothelioma lawyer. There have already been many examples of successful lawsuits that won compensation for victims or their families. These include a case from 2011 in which the wife of a man who died from mesothelioma won $1.5 million from a jury. Her husband had worked for three decades at a steel plant in Chicago and was exposed to asbestos while working with wires that were insulated with asbestos.

Madison County in Illinois has seen more asbestos-related cases than anywhere in the state and Illinois mesothelioma lawyers there set the record for the biggest award for a plaintiff. Most of the lawsuits never go to court—the lawsuits are more often settled out of court—but in 2003 a plaintiff won a $250 million verdict, the largest asbestos verdict for a single plaintiff in history.

If you are living with mesothelioma, or you have lost a loved one to the disease or another asbestos-related illness, let an Illinois mesothelioma lawyer help you make a case for compensation. This professional can guide you through the steps you need to take and make sure you have the best possible chance of winning.

Page edited by Dave Foster

Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available.

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