Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed into law a piece of legislation that would give workers who were exposed to deadly asbestos fibers the legal right to file civil lawsuits in court even after the workers’ compensation periods to file claims has expired. Until now, workers in Illinois had 25 years from the period of exposure to file claims for latent injuries with their employer’s workers’ compensation carrier, but the new law will give victims whose diseases do not present symptoms until after that period the chance to seek damages.
The legislation, originally introduced in the state senate under SB 1596, passed the General Assembly in a relatively short amount of time and went to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jay Hoffman, said the bill would allow workers diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer often caused by exposure to asbestos, a way to be compensated if symptoms do not present themselves until after the statute of limitations to file claims has expired.
However, despite the good intentions of the law to help the worker, pro-business and insurance lobbies will likely challenge the legislation claiming companies would be in a state of perpetual liability since workers now have the right to bring injury claims in civil court. Traditionally, injured workers must bring their claims through their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier or their state’s administrative system for dealing with denied claims.
With SB 1596, Illinois workers diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos in the course of their jobs may now bring asbestos cancer lawsuits in state civil court to recover damages. In mesothelioma cancer lawsuits, plaintiffs can recover compensation for their monetary damages, such as lost wages, hospital bills, and future medical care, as well as the physical and emotional pain and suffering of the injury.
Should the law stand, SB 1596 closes an important loophole currently denying justice to innocent people who developed mesothelioma after the statute of limitations to file a workers’ compensation claim expires. Mesothelioma has a latency period of anywhere from 20 to 50 years, which means most patients will not present symptoms until long after their exposure to carcinogenic asbestos.
Asbestos was once commonly used in a variety of industrial and commercial applications for its heat resistant properties and ability to be incorporated into many products. Despite knowing for decades about the health risks associated with exposure to the mineral, many companies continued to use asbestos-laden products without providing any warning or additional safety precautions to protect workers.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Illinois mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. We can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment so that you and your family live a more comfortable life.