Illinois Court Sees Record Number of Asbestos Lawsuits

07/22/2010 // Chicago, IL, USA // Cooney & Conway // Mesothelioma attorneys: Cooney & Conway

(Mesothelioma News) – If there is one inarguable point about asbestos, it is that its dangers have been known—and scientifically proven—for many years. Regulators have issued strict rules on asbestos use and handling; courts have penalized those who broke the rules, sometimes with jail time; mesothelioma lawyers have obtained large—often multimillion-dollar—jury awards and settlements on behalf of victims of devastating, and preventable, asbestos-related diseases.

Yet use of this known carcinogen persists. In one southwestern Illinois court, a record number of asbestos cases has been filed this year, demonstrating that, even though we know more than ever about the grave health risks of asbestos exposure and try to eliminate them, the material continues to damage lives and families.

The 421 asbestos lawsuits filed in the Madison County Circuit Court of Illinois through June 30 mark a 29-case increase over the same period in 2009. Why the spike? Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack—the judge in charge of the court’s asbestos cases—places much of the blame on secondary exposure, when a person comes into indirect contact with asbestos.

Secondary asbestos exposure can occur in a distressingly large number of ways—for example, when a family member returns from work with the cancer-causing material on his or her clothes and relatives inhale the asbestos fibers.

In such instances, inhaling asbestos fibers is all too easy—and deadly. The material can cause diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, a nearly always fatal cancer of the protective lining covering many of the body’s internal organs, including the heart and lungs.

Mesothelioma can develop decades after asbestos exposure, which explains why so many lawsuits are being filed now—and will continue to be filed in great numbers for years to come. Even with all the high-profile asbestos lawsuits that have already been tried by mesothelioma lawyers, Judge Stack says he expects asbestos-related cases won’t hit their peak until sometime during the next two decades.

Given the grim prognosis a mesothelioma diagnosis carries, asbestos lawsuits may not be the only thing hitting their peak in years to come. The hope is that medical researchers will start to have as much success finding ways to fight the disease as mesothelioma lawyers have had fighting those whose negligence and inaction have put innocent lives at risk.

This news story was brought to you by the Chicago mesothelioma lawyers at Cooney & Conway. For more than half a century, we’ve brought relief and recovery to those injured by the negligence or harmful actions of others. In the process, we’ve litigated some of the country’s most significant asbestos lawsuits, helping victims of mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos-related diseases get answers—and justice.

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