Illinois jury finds railroad company liable in asbestos case

Asbestos exposure is a well-recognized health hazard. It is also a workplace hazard that threatens the health of many American workers, including those in the Chicago, Illinois area. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has implemented safety standards to protect workers from asbestos exposure, many workers are still dying of asbestos-related diseases.

Recently, an Illinois rail worker died of lung cancer due to asbestos exposure many decades ago. The victim’s family was one of the two plaintiffs who were awarded a total of $1.7 million in damages in a lawsuit filed against the Illinois Central Railroad Co. Two separate claims were filed as a result of two different workers who were exposed to asbestos at a railroad yard. The first claim involved a worker who suffered asbestosis after working from 1955 to 1958 at the railroad facility that was managed by the former GM & O Railroad. The plaintiff was awarded $1.3 million.

In the second claim, the daughter of a railroad worker who died of lung cancer and asbestosis received $384,000. The plaintiff alleged that her father developed lung cancer and asbestos-related diseases after his employment at GM& O. The man worked for the company from 1949 to 1950 and again from 1969 to 1972. He died in September, 2007.

The asbestos-related lawsuit was filed under the Federal Employers Liability Act. This act covers workplace injuries suffered by railroad workers. The jury agreed with the plaintiff that the railroad company knew about the workplace hazards, but failed to warn or inform workers about it.

Cases of Chicago work-related deaths do not only result from construction accidents and falls from heights. Workplace illnesses related to asbestos exposure are also included. Exposed workers are likely eligible for workers’ compensation, but if they feel that the employer’s negligence contributed to their asbestos exposure, filing a negligence lawsuit against the employer should be considered.

Source: Pantagraph, “$1.7 million awarded in 2 railroad asbestos cases,” Edith Brady-Lunny, Jan. 29, 2014