What are the Laws Surrounding Mesothelioma Cases?
Mesothelioma Legal Index
Here, we want to give you an index of laws pertaining to mesothelioma cases. Hopefully, this will make you better cognizant of the issues inherent in this kind of litigation. Obviously, these statutes and rules are devoid of context and that is crucial to a complete understanding of mesothelioma lawsuits. If you contact our law firm, we can walk you through each of these laws that follow and explain how they impact your case.
Illinois Asbestos Laws
Illinois has actually passed a comprehensive set of laws regarding asbestos and its risks. They can be found in section 105 ILCS 105/1 of Illinois' compiled statutes. It is commonly referred to as the "Asbestos Abatement Act." Here is just important section that comments on the risks inherent in asbestos usage:
105 ILCS 105/2(b):
"Exposure to asbestos fibers and particles in the air over a long period of time has been linked by reputable medical and scientific authorities to a significant increase in the incidence of disease, such as asbestosis, bronchogenic carcinoma, mesothelioma, and other malignancies…"
Right there in the statute Illinois laws recognizes a danger and promotes a link between asbestos and mesothelioma. What is more interesting is the broad manner in which the act contemplates injury which would seem to indicate a multitude of potential causes of action.
Statutes Of Limitations
Many people who have been exposed to asbestos or diagnosed with mesothelioma wonder how long they have to bring a lawsuit. Here are the authoritative laws on that time limit:
735 ILCS 5/13-202:
"Actions for damages for an injury to the person, or for false imprisonment, or malicious prosecution, or for a statutory penalty, or for abduction, or for seduction, or for criminal conversation that may proceed pursuant to subsection (a) of Section 7.1 of the Criminal Conversation Abolition Act, except damages resulting from first degree murder or the commission of a Class X felony and the perpetrator thereof is convicted of such crime, shall be commenced within 2 years next after the cause of action accrued…"
735 ILCS 5/13-205:
"Actions on unwritten contracts, expressed or implied, or on awards of arbitration, or to recover damages for an injury done to property, real or personal, or to recover the possession of personal property or damages for the detention or conversion thereof, and all civil actions not otherwise provided for, shall be commenced within 5 years next after the cause of action accrued…"
However, if the defendant took steps to fraudulently conceal your disease, risk, or cause of action, then according to 735 ILCS 5/13-215 you might have more time:
"If a person liable to an action fraudulently conceals the cause of such action from the knowledge of the person entitled thereto, the action may be commenced at any time within 5 years after the person entitled to bring the same discovers that he or she has such cause of action, and not afterwards."
You might not understand what exactly you must plead in a complaint for your mesothelioma case. Here are some basic requirements per Illinois law:
735 ILCS 5/2-603:
"(a) All pleadings shall contain a plain and concise statement of the pleader's cause of action, counterclaim, defense, or reply."
(b) Each separate cause of action upon which a separate recovery might be had shall be stated in a separate count or counterclaim, as the case may be and each count, counterclaim, defense or reply, shall be separately pleaded, designated and numbered, and each shall be divided into paragraphs numbered consecutively, each paragraph containing, as nearly as may be, a separate allegation.
(c) Pleadings shall be liberally construed with a view to doing substantial justice between the parties."
Involuntary Case Dismissal
Generally, a defendant has two routes to make your case go away. First, argue that the law does recognize the cause of action your bringing (found in 735 ILCS 5/2-615). Second, argue that you have not successfully proven your case (found in 735 ILCS 5/2-619).
735 ILCS 5/2-615:
"Motions with respect to pleadings. (a) All objections to pleadings shall be raised by motion. The motion shall point out specifically the defects complained of, and shall ask for appropriate relief, such as: that a pleading or portion thereof be stricken because substantially insufficient in law, or that the action be dismissed, or that a pleading be made more definite and certain in a specified particular, or that designated immaterial matter be stricken out, or that necessary parties be added, or that designated misjoined parties be dismissed, and so forth."
735 ILCS 5/2-619
"Involuntary dismissal based upon certain defects or defenses. (a) Defendant may, within the time for pleading, file a motion for dismissal of the action or for other appropriate relief upon any of the following grounds. If the grounds do not appear on the face of the pleading attacked the motion shall be supported by affidavit:"
You might argue that your asbestos exposure or mesothelioma disease was the result of negligence. If so, here is how Illinois law describes negligence:
735 ILCS 5/2-1116(b):
"Fault" means any act or omission that (i) is negligent, willful and wanton, or reckless, is a breach of an express or implied warranty, gives rise to strict liability in tort, or gives rise to liability under the provisions of any State statute, rule, or local ordinance and (ii) is a proximate cause of death, bodily injury to person, or physical damage to property for which recovery is sought."
Products Liability Claims
The law also describes and defines product liability causes of action as well as their component issues. You might content that your asbestos exposure or mesothelioma contraction was the result of a defective product, so these laws can be incredibly important for you.
735 ILCS 5/13-213(3):
"Product liability action" means any action based on any theory or doctrine brought against the seller of a product on account of personal injury, (including illness, disease, disability and death) or property, economic or other damage allegedly caused by or resulting from the manufacture, construction, preparation, assembly, installation, testing, makeup, characteristics, functions, design, formula, plan, recommendation, specification, prescription, advertising, sale, marketing, packaging, labeling, repair, maintenance or disposal of, or warning or instruction regarding any product. This definition excludes actions brought by State or federal regulatory agencies pursuant to statute."
Definition of product:
735 ILCS 5/13-213(2):
"(2) "product" means any tangible object or goods distributed in commerce, including any service provided in connection with the product. Where the term "product unit" is used, it refers to a single item or unit of a product."
Definition of seller:
735 ILCS 5/13-213(4):
"(4) "seller" means one who, in the course of a business conducted for the purpose, sells, distributes, leases, assembles, installs, produces, manufactures, fabricates, prepares, constructs, packages, labels, markets, repairs, maintains, or otherwise is involved in placing a product in the stream of commerce."
Repose statute for products liability lawsuits.
735 ILCS 5/13-213(4)(b):
"(b) Subject to the provisions of subsections (c) and (d) no product liability action based on any theory or doctrine shall be commenced except within the applicable limitations period and, in any event, within 12 years from the date of first sale, lease or delivery of possession by a seller or 10 years from the date of first sale, lease or delivery of possession to its initial user, consumer, or other non-seller, whichever period expires earlier, of any product unit that is claimed to have injured or damaged the plaintiff, unless the defendant expressly has warranted or promised the product for a longer period and the action is brought within that period…the action commenced within the applicable limitation period and, in any event, within 10 years from the date such alteration, modification or change was made, unless defendant expressly has warranted or promised the product for a longer period and the action is brought within that period..."
Unlike some other states, Illinois has a regime modified comparative fault. What does this mean? It means that plaintiffs can recover if their pro rata share of the responsibility is under 51%. Yet, they must also subtract the amount of damage they caused from any compensation that they are seeking.
735 ILCS 5/2-1116:
"In all actions on account of bodily injury or death or physical damage to property, based on negligence, or product liability based on strict tort liability, the plaintiff shall be barred from recovering damages if the trier of fact finds that the contributory fault on the part of the plaintiff is more than 50% of the proximate cause of the injury or damage for which recovery is sought. The plaintiff shall not be barred from recovering damages if the trier of fact finds that the contributory fault on the part of the plaintiff is not more than 50% of the proximate cause of the injury or damage for which recovery is sought, but any damages allowed shall be diminished in the proportion to the amount of fault attributable to the plaintiff."
Joint And Several Liability
Illinois maintains a system of joint and several liability. In the context of mesothelioma cases, this means that you can go after any defendant for the entire amount of your damages. Here is the law that gives you that right:
735 ILCS 5/2-1117:
"Joint liability. Except as provided in Section 2-1118, in actions on account of bodily injury or death or physical damage to property, based on negligence, or product liability based on strict tort liability, all defendants found liable are jointly and severally liable for plaintiff's past and future medical and medically related expenses. Any defendant whose fault, as determined by the trier of fact, is less than 25% of the total fault attributable to the plaintiff, the defendants sued by the plaintiff, and any third party defendant except the plaintiff's employer, shall be severally liable for all other damages. Any defendant whose fault, as determined by the trier of fact, is 25% or greater of the total fault attributable to the plaintiff, the defendants sued by the plaintiff, and any third party defendants except the plaintiff's employer, shall be jointly and severally liable for all other damages."
In mesothelioma and asbestos cases, defendants are allowed to seek reimbursement from other defendants if they have paid more than their fair share. Here is how Illinois affords defendants the ability to do that:
740 ILCS 100/2:
"Right of Contribution. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, where 2 or more persons are subject to liability in tort arising out of the same injury to person or property, or the same wrongful death, there is a right of contribution among them, even though judgment has not been entered against any or all of them. (b) The right of contribution exists only in favor of a tortfeasor who has paid more than his pro rata share of the common liability, and his total recovery is limited to the amount paid by him in excess of his pro rata share. No tortfeasor is liable to make contribution beyond his own pro rata share of the common liability."
Illinois Asbestos Rules And Regulations
To read about the laws and rules of asbestos and mesothelioma in Illinois, click here:
Federal Asbestos Rules And Regulations
To read about the laws and rules of asbestos and mesothelioma at the federal level, click here:
Want To Know More About The Laws Surrounding Mesothelioma Cases In Illinois?
If you want to know more about the laws surrounding mesothelioma cases in Illinois, just contact the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC. We can explain every facet of this realm of law. Plus, if you need help, we can mount a full-throated case against the party responsible for your condition at no charge until you get the compensation that you deserve. Just call us today to get the ball rolling towards your recovery.