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New Law to Lift Current 10-Year Asbestos Statute of Repose

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 Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illinois personal injury lawyer, In the past few years, Illinois has become the epicenter of asbestos exposure personal injury litigation. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that for decades was used in the creation of building, construction and other commercial products. Asbestos fibers are highly heat resistant and possess other qualities that allow the fibers to be used in a broad range of products such as insulation. Today, asbestos minerals can even be found in over-the-counter talc powders. Starting in the 1960s, it became common knowledge that exposure to asbestos materials could lead to specific types of lung cancers and other respiratory illnesses. As a result of these findings, in the 1970s and 1980s U.S. companies were prohibited from producing and utilizing asbestos-containing materials. Though most asbestos-containing material use and production has ended in the U.S., the effects of asbestos exposure are still being felt. This is because mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestos exposure-related illnesses can take at least a decade after initial exposure before symptoms arise. Even after receiving an asbestos exposure illness diagnosis, additional time is required in certain situations for the victim to determine when and where their specific asbestos exposure occurred.

The Asbestos Statute of Repose Debate

In Illinois the statute of repose for bringing a personal injury suit for asbestos exposure limits legal actions to 10 years after initial exposure occurred. This law has served to greatly limit recovery for personal injuries caused by asbestos exposure-related diseases such as mesothelioma, the symptoms of which can take at least 20 years after initial exposure before they present. However, Senate Bill 2221 (SB 2221) could change all of this. SB 2221 has already passed the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate and, if signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn, will lift the current 10-year asbestos statute of repose so that asbestos personal injury claimants will have more time to submit claims in Illinois courts.

Asbestos diseases are unique in that once asbestos fibers are inhaled and enter the body, resulting diseases can take decades before actual symptoms present. As a result, proponents of SB 2221 believe that lifting the current statute of repose is simply giving asbestos exposure litigants an equal chance at a fair day in court. However, opponents of SB 2221 believe that lifting the current statute of repose will serve to fatten the pockets of asbestos trial attorneys, at the expense of large corporations, many of which have already gone bankrupt as a result of asbestos litigation payouts. For some, the fact that the SB 2221 was spearheaded by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association provides further indication that the lifting of the asbestos statute of repose will be taken advantage of by asbestos litigators looking to grow their existing asbestos dockets.

Do you require legal representation in an asbestos exposure suit or any other personal injury claim? Contact one of the experienced Joliet personal injury attorneys here at the Law Offices of Cosmo Tedone and Barbara Morton, P.C. today.
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