Find a Mesothelioma Lawyer in Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is the largest city in the state of Illinois and one of the largest cities in the United States. It is home to many gigantic downtown buildings, all decades old, and approximately 2.7 million residents. It’s also a common location for asbestos exposure and asbestos claims, which is why there are many options for finding an asbestos law firm and lawyer to handle such cases.
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Top Mesothelioma Lawyers and Law Firms in Chicago
Asbestos is a dangerous mineral that was used to build homes, offices and massive skyscrapers. Considering the metropolis of Chicago has some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, it’s no surprise the city is likely to still have tons of asbestos in buildings and old homes.
Asbestos was used for its durability and resistance to both heat and decaying over time. It’s also cancerous, able to cause diseases such as lung cancer or the rare cancer called mesothelioma. Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, and the 2,500-3,000 people diagnosed each year with this disease deserve compensation.
This is where finding a mesothelioma lawyer or law firm is important. There are many connections a mesothelioma case may have to Chicago, all of which might be a reason to file a claim in the city. Finding a lawyer or law firm to handle mesothelioma cases in the city is crucial.
Mesothelioma claims fall within the “personal injury” category of law practice. There is no shortage of personal injury lawyers and law firms in Chicago. The website findlaw.com lists 191 such attorneys or firms. However, mesothelioma claims are very different from regular personal injury claims such as trucking crashes or fights.
This specific type of legal practice requires a specialized lawyer or law firm dedicated to mesothelioma victims – and no attention given to other types of claims.
Reasons to Find a National Asbestos Law Firm in Chicago
There are many reasons victims of mesothelioma, or their families, should find a national firm to handle Chicago asbestos claims. National law firms provide patients with the best chance to receive their deserved compensation from the companies who profited off of manufacturing and using asbestos. These attorneys put the well-being of their clients first and simplify the legal process.
Most Mesothelioma Cases Involve Multiple Locations
The first reason to find a national mesothelioma attorney is most claims aren’t limited to one location. Chicago might be where the victim was exposed, or where they lived at the time they were exposed, or where the asbestos company manufactured the asbestos, but there are other possible areas to file claims.
Choosing a national firm means you’ll be able to file your case wherever gives you the best chance of compensation. This compensation is needed to cover the costly expense of treatment, travel to hospitals and other hardships.
National Firms Have More Experience With Asbestos Claims
National firms have far more experience with asbestos claims. Local personal injury law firms might advertise that they can handle mesothelioma cases, but they likely have only tried a few, if any at all.
Your best chances are with national firms that have handled dozens, possibly hundreds, of cases. They’ll understand the steps and move the case along as quickly and effectively as possible.
Burden of Travel and Upfront Costs Removed for Patient
National mesothelioma lawyers understand what having mesothelioma means to people. They know how difficult it is to go about the usual day, much less travel long distances for meetings with attorneys.
The top lawyers also know the expense of medical treatment. Chemotherapy can cost thousands of dollars. Same is true for immunotherapy or surgery, which are needed to help the patient survive this cancer.
The best law firms – namely, the national outfits – don’t ask for hiring fees. They don’t charge clients to file the case with courts and don’t require payment to represent the victim in court. They get paid on a “contingency basis,” meaning only if and when the victim wins the case or settles it and receives money.
In short, if you receive compensation, your attorney will receive their share of compensation. This is in essence their lawyer fees, except only required if your case is successful in getting you payment. If your case does not succeed, you are not required to pay anything.
Top Asbestos Lawsuit Verdicts in Chicago, Illinois
There have unsurprisingly been quite a few asbestos lawsuit verdicts in Chicago. Most of these claims happen through the Cook County court system. Chicago is a city in Cook County, Illinois.
A recent asbestos verdict in Chicago favoring a victim happened in September 2022. A man who worked in U.S. Steel plants in Illinois and Indiana developed mesothelioma due to regular asbestos exposure. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 56, and his family filed lawsuits against both U.S. Steel and BP Amaco. The jury in Chicago awarded the family $5.6 million for their loved one’s tragic wrongful death from mesothelioma.
Another verdict gave a woman with mesothelioma $23 million after a Cook County jury sided with her after years of handling asbestos at work. Chicago jurors granted another victim $5.6 million to a patient who worked in industrial jobs for close to 30 years.
These are just a few mesothelioma verdicts that happened in Cook County, Illinois.
Steps to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit in Chicago, Illinois
People wishing to file a mesothelioma lawsuit in Chicago should know the major steps of this process. This guide will help victims and their families navigate the legal field and understand what their attorney should be doing on their behalf.
The first step is finding a mesothelioma attorney and meeting with them to discuss your options. This usually comes after a free case evaluation to examine the strength of your claim.
After those two steps, the main steps of mesothelioma lawsuits are:
Ensure you have a medical diagnosis of mesothelioma, which can only be caused by asbestos exposure
Go through your history of exposure to asbestos
Analyze your work history and instances of asbestos exposure
Determine which companies are responsible for those instances of asbestos exposure
Compile thorough evidence that connects these companies and their faulty business practices to your diagnosis of mesothelioma
File your mesothelioma claim or claims in the jurisdictions connected to your case
Provide a deposition, which is a victim testimony, either in-person or through a video recording
Discuss a potential mesothelioma settlement if one is offered by the at-fault company or companies
Take the case to trial, hopefully for a favorable verdict
Steps to File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim in Chicago for Mesothelioma
If the mesothelioma claim involves a company that has filed for bankruptcy, it will not go to a lawsuit. These claims go to asbestos trust funds.
Asbestos trust funds are bank accounts established by the asbestos companies to ensure future victims get paid. Bankrupt companies cannot be taken to court or trial, as they are no longer active defendants legally.
Asbestos trust fund claims follow a similar step-by-step process as lawsuits. The main difference is what happens after the claims are filed. If the evidence is strong and there is a clear connection between the company’s harmful decisions and the victim’s mesothelioma, then the courts will affirm the claim and it’ll go to a review for an asbestos trust fund payout.
Asbestos trust fund claims do not require a deposition usually and don’t reach settlements or verdicts. In fact, you’ll most likely never have to go into a courtroom to reach a conclusion.
Asbestos Exposure in Chicago
Asbestos exposure was rampant in Chicago during the middle of the 20th century and the second half of the 1900s, such as the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The amount of asbestos exposure has dropped in recent years as companies no longer used the mineral due to safety concerns and legal liabilities.
Even in the 21st century up until today, asbestos exposure still happens due to “legacy asbestos.” This mostly occurs in old homes, offices or entertainment venues that have not been renovated.
Mesothelioma Guide has compiled a list of known locations of asbestos exposure in Chicago. Some of these are:
- Acme Steel Company
- Alton Railroad Company
- American Airlines
- American Oil Company
- Biron Construction
- Campbell Soup Company
- Chicago City Railway
- Chicago Post Office
- Chrysler Corporation
- Friedman Manufacturing Company
- General Mills, Inc.
- Illinois Central Railroad Company
- Illinois Institute of Technology
- Kraft Foods Company
- Mechanical Rubber Company
- National Steel Company
- O'Hare International Airport
- Quaker Oats Company
- Sears Tower
- Thomas A. Edison Nuclear Power Plant
- Yonk Manufacturing Company
At-Risk Occupations for Workers in Chicago
The main way people are exposed to asbestos is through their work or trade. An example is working in construction or insulation, since asbestos was added to insulation, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, roof shingles, electrical wiring and more. Anything that could help the house withstand long years or resist fire damage was suitable for asbestos use in the 20th century.
Other at-risk occupations for workers in Chicago include:
- Manufacturing plant workers
- Steel mill workers
- Plumbers and pipefitters
- Gas and power plant workers
- Railroad workers
Asbestos Laws and Regulations in Chicago
Asbestos has yet to be banned in the United States or any individual state, despite multiple efforts from activist groups and corners of U.S. Congress to enact a law. The use of asbestos has dropped off considerably since the middle of the 20th century, when it was one of the main parts of the industrial age of America and was used to build the massive U.S. Navy fleet
There are government groups that oversee asbestos handling and use. These are separated by state, so Illinois has its own regulations.
Governing Bodies Overseeing Asbestos in Chicago, Illinois
The Illinois Department of Public Health is the main governing body in charge of asbestos management and handling. Renovating old buildings may require removal of asbestos. This can be dangerous, especially to untrained workers or people not wearing protective equipment.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has criteria and regulations for asbestos removal, or asbestos abatement, in Chicago. For example:
- Anyone, including contract workers, who manages or removes asbestos must be trained and licensed
- These licenses expire on May 15 each year and require renewal
- Supervisors, project managers, air sampling workers, project designers, inspectors and management planners all have a role in identifying, managing and possibly removing asbestos from buildings or property
Statute of Limitations for Asbestos Legal in Chicago
The statute of limitations is a law that protects defendants from legal liability long after their possible offense was committed. The law requires victims or plaintiffs to start their cases within a specific timeframe. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two (2) years after the offense occurred.
Asbestos exposure and mesothelioma claims are quite different than all other personal injury claims, though. Mesothelioma can take 20-50 years after exposure before it is diagnosed, which means the victim does not know they have the disease for up to half a century after the offense was committed.
Therefore, the statute of limitations for mesothelioma cases in Chicago – and elsewhere in Illinois – is two years after the patient is diagnosed. This allows the victim time to file the case after they realize they were wronged.
In cases of wrongful death, the statute of limitations is also two (2) years. This time limit begins once the victim passes away or an autopsy confirms that the cause of death was mesothelioma cancer. The family will file the case in these situations within two years after learning the cause of their loved one’s death.
Delaying any legal action is risky. Doing so while also hiring a local law firm or not hiring one right away is even riskier.
You should prioritize finding a national law firm licensed in the state of Illinois. This decision will protect you from running out of time to file an asbestos claim in Chicago.
The law firm of Bullock Campbell Bullock & Harris is one such national law firm with the expertise, experience and track record of success. They can help you begin your case in Chicago and improve your chances of winning your case with maximum compensation to secure you and your family’s financial future.
Contact the mesothelioma lawyers at BCBH Law if you have any questions about Chicago asbestos claims. They also offer a free case evaluation to get an assessment of your case’s strength, and can do this free evaluation today.