Illinois Asbestos Attorneys
As part of our service we offer free information to the public. This page provides a general overview of asbestos litigation in Illinois.
Illinois asbestos lawyers pursue cases for people that have become severely ill due to exposure to asbestos. A person may be exposed to asbestos in one of four primary ways:
- On the job: Workers involved in the manufacturing, installation, or removal of products containing asbestos may develop problems as a result of this prolonged exposure. This exposure was considerably worse when employers did not take precautions to protect their employees.
- Secondary exposure: Similar to second hand smoke exposure, secondary asbestos exposure occurs when a person is exposed to asbestos via another person. For example, if a woman’s husband works in a plant that manufactures asbestos and then comes home with asbestos particles on his clothes, that she later washes, she may be exposed.
- Asbestos in buildings: Older buildings may have been constructed using products containing asbestos. The building’s occupants may be exposed to asbestos simply by living in the building or going there as a visitor.
- Environment: Asbestos occurs naturally in the some environments, though it is rare.
When any one of these types of exposures occurs, usually for a prolonged period of time, asbestosis related illness may occur. The two primary illnesses are "asbestosis" and "mesothelioma".
Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory lung condition. It usually only occurs after long-term heavy exposure to asbestos. Most patients report a history of at least 10 years of moderate to severe exposure to asbestos.
However, signs and symptoms may not appear for 20-50 years after exposure. As a result, 75% patients diagnosed with asbestosis are over the age of 65.
Once asbestosis is diagnosed, the condition often worsens quickly, with disability and death following. Asbestosis may lead to lung cancer or mesothelioma (see below).
The primary symptom is a slow onset of shortness of breath. Coughing is not usually considered a symptom of asbestosis. There are very limited treatment options for asbestosis. Oxygen therapy is often recommended to relieve shortness of breath.
Mesothelioma is a highly aggressive form of cancer almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Although it is rare it is becoming more common as people with asbestos exposure age. Like asbestosis, mesothelioma may take 20-50 years after exposure to develop. Mesothelioma may develop from asbestosis.
Symptoms include the following:
- shortness of breath
- chronic cough
- pain in chest
- weight loss
- abdominal swelling
- coughing up blood
- tumor masses
Once someone is diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the treatment plan is often simply to make the patient comfortable. Most patients only live one to two years following their diagnosis.
As stated above, both asbestosis and mesothelioma develop very slowly. As a result, the effects of both illnesses are not immediately traceable to asbestos. Patients often suffer with the symptoms for years before they can be properly linked to asbestosis exposure.
Moreover, once the illnesses are diagnosed, the environments that created the exposure are often no longer in existence, or have changed dramatically. This can make it more difficult to prove that a particular party is to blame for the exposure.
In an asbestos lawsuit there are often numerous, if not hundreds of defendants as it’s not always clear who was responsible for the exposure and subsequent illness. This obviously makes these complicated lawsuits which require the help of lawyers who have a track record of success with these cases. If you would like our help in finding an attorney please contact us at any time. All inquiries are free and confidential.
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