August 18, 2010

lllinois Popcorn Lung Lawsuit: Jury Awards Disabled Worker $30 Million Against BASF Corp.

A jury has awarded $30.4 million to an Illinois worker that says he became disabled after he was exposed to the buttering flavor ingredient diacetyl while on the job. Gerardo Solis developed bronchiolitis obliterans, a disease also known as popcorn lung, after working at a Flavorchem Corp. plant between 1998 and 2006.

The defendant of this Chicago injury lawsuit is BASF Corp., the largest chemical company in the world and a supplier of diacetyl. It is expected that in the next 10 years, Solis, who now has 25% normal lung capacity, will have to undergo a lung transplant.

Popcorn Lung
The only cure for Popcorn lung is a transplant. The disease can inflame the small airways in the lungs, leading to scarring while eliminating air flow. It can also cause fatalities.

Popcorn plant workers are among those at risk of suffering from this condition. The National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health discovered the connection between popcorn factory workers and bronchiolitis obliterans in 2003 and 2004. Hundreds of workers have been affected, and a number have filed civil suits.

One worker was awarded $20 million. Other ex-Jasper Popcorn Co. plant workers were also awarded injury compensation, including two $15 million popcorn lung awards and a $2.7 million award. Butter flavoring suppliers International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. and Bush Boake Allen Inc. were the defendants.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation and Third Party Lawsuits
Remember that as an injured employee, not only are you likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation from your employer but there also may be liable third parties that you should receive Illinois personal injury compensation or wrongful death recovery from.

llinois worker wins $30 million verdict in diacetyl popcorn chemical lawsuit, The Joplin Globe, August 16, 2010

Jury Awards Popcorn Lung Victim $30 Million
, NewsInferno, August 17, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Popcorn May Cause Lung Disease, ABC News, September 6, 2007

Preventing Lung Disease in Workers Who Use or Make Flavorings, NIOSH

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August 11, 2010

Many Ex-Blockson Chemical Employees Still Haven’t Received Worker Compensation for Radiation Exposure at Joliet, Illinois Chemical Plant

Fifty years after they were exposed to radiation while working as a Blockson Chemical employee in Joliet, Illinois, many of the former workers and their survivors have yet to receive payment from the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program. The fund that was created to compensate those who, without adequate protection, were exposed to high levels of radiation while on the job.

Fund recipients are supposed to $150,000 plus medical benefits. If the afflicted worker is no longer alive, then their surviving family members are entitled to get compensation.

Blockson employees that are eligible to get work injury compensation from this fund developed cancer because they helped construct atomic weapons between March 1951 and June 1960. Yet Department of Labor statistics reveal that of the 363 claims filed by former Blockson workers and relatives, only 102 have been paid. Many have not even been apprised of the status of their claims. Also, of 5,170 claims filed by former employees from 29 eligible Illinois facilities, the fund has paid only 1,250 of them.

Hopefully, this situation will soon change. Federal officials are expected to rule on a special petition filed on behalf of the former employees and surviving family members. The petition seeks to eliminate the requirement that a claimant must prove that his/her cancer was caused by the radiation. A claim would still, however, have to provide a physician’s verification that the former worker was afflicted with one of several kinds of cancer.

It can be devastating to find out that you now have a life-threatening illness or disease because of the hazards that you were exposed to at work.

Former Joliet chemical workers wait for radiation funds, Chicago Breaking News, August 2, 2010

Facilities Eligible for Funds, Chicago Tribune

Related Web Resources:
Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program

Continue reading "Many Ex-Blockson Chemical Employees Still Haven’t Received Worker Compensation for Radiation Exposure at Joliet, Illinois Chemical Plant" »

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July 27, 2010

Ex-Motorola Workers’ Cook County Injury Lawsuit Claims Their Children’s Birth Defects were Caused by Toxic Substances Used to Make Products

71 plaintiffs have filed a Cook County, Illinois injury lawsuit seeking damages from former employer Motorola for their children’s birth defects. They are claiming that because they worked with toxic substances during the manufacture of certain Motorola products, their children were born with serious defects.

The former employees contend that the Schaumburg-based company knew that the chemicals used to manufacture computer chips and semiconductors were toxic and could cause people who were exposed to them to have babies with birth defects. The children of the plaintiffs are suffering from different conditions, including spina bifida, cerebral palsy, brain malformations, autism, sterility, skeletal deformities, and physical deformities. Two of the children were missing an ear when they were born. Some of the workers’ kids are now adults.

The children’s parents worked at different Motorola facilities between 1965 and 2007. The plaintiffs are accusing the defendant of knowing (or if not, then they should have known) that reproductive harm was a possible side effect of working with the dangerous substances. They also contend that the company did not provide protective gear for them when they were in what were supposed to be sterile “clean rooms” that ended up circulating the allegedly toxic substances through the air.

The plaintiffs say that in 1986, there was already a study by Johns Hopkins University and IBM that reported that solvents, chemicals, metals, and other compounds can have a dangerous effect on reproduction. Different chemical manufacturers, occupational safety institutes, and trade associations had also warned that working with or around certain products may prove harmful. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages from Motorola.

Employers are supposed to take all necessary steps to protect workers from injury or death while they are doing their jobs. That said, regardless of who was at fault, workers are usually entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation. Even if you are no longer working for your employer, there still may be legal options that you can pursue if you later discover that your injuries or illness occurred because of your former job. If you believe that your child or another family was injured because they were exposed through hazardous substances through you because of your job, you and/or their may have grounds for Cook County personal injury recovery.

Ex-workers' lawsuit blames Motorola for birth defects, News-Sun, July 25, 2010

Ex-workers sue Motorola over kids’ birth defects, Chicago Breaking News, July 26, 2010

Related Web Resource:
Toxic and Hazardous Substances, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Corporate Responsibility, Motorola

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February 20, 2010

Remember to File Your Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim if You are Suffering from an Occupational Disease

Every year, per American Family Physician, hundreds of thousands of workers become afflicted with occupational diseases. Tens of thousands of these workers will die as a result. It is important that you make sure that you receive all your work illness benefits that you are owed. Our Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers can help you explore your legal options.

Unfortunately, diagnosing occupational illnesses sometimes take awhile. A worker may not want to link his/her affliction to work for fear of not being able to make a living. Also, it can take years for some illnesses' symptoms to fully manifest.

Examples of some health conditions linked to occupational exposure:

• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Asthma
• Chronic encephalopathy
• Cervical strain
• Interstitial fibrosis
• Hearing loss
• Infections that are transmitted orally or fecally
• Lung cancer
• Contact dermatitis
• Spontaneous abortion
• Birth defects
• Liver cancer
• Coronary disease
• Upper air irritation

The kind of occupational disease a worker can suffer from will, of course, depend on the conditions and environment the worker is exposed to on the job.

You would be surprised at the kind of occupations that can lead to occupational injuries and illnesses. For example:

• Computer work
• Letter sorting
• Mining
• Baking
• Plating
• Farming
• Teaching
• Health care work
• Prison work
• Animal care
• Construction
• Forestry

Unfortunately, problems can arise when availing of your work injury benefits. This is where an experienced Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer can step in.

Recognizing Occupational Disease -- Taking an Effective Occupational History, American Family Physician

Related Web Resources:
Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

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April 28, 2009

Chicago Workers’ Compensation Law Firm: Workers Memorial Day Honors People Killed and Injured in the Workplace

Today is Workers Memorial Day. The day is set aside to remember workers who were injured or died in work accidents. According go the AFL-CIO, 5,657 workers died in work accidents in 2007, while over 4 million others who were injured or got sick. That breaks down to about 15 workers killed a day and 10,959 others were injured. However, considering that there are limits to the injury reporting system, this amount is likely a conservative estimate. More likely, about 8 to 12 million workers get hurt or sick each year.

As part of its observation of Workers’ Memorial Day, the AFL-CIO issues its annual report, “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.” Among its numerous findings:

• 50,000 to 60,000 workers sustain occupational disease each year.
• 5,657 worker deaths occurred because of traumatic injuries.
• $145 billion to $290 billion a year is spent directly and directly on disabling injuries. But again, these costs only take into account injuries reported to employers.
• The report also reveals that Latino workers continue to be the group most likely to risk death while working.
• 937 Latino workers died in work accidents in 2007.

The report says that the Bush Administration neglected to address a number of health problems and safety issues during its eight years and even blocked or took away certain Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and Health Administration rules.

Lawmakers are hoping to implement better laws to protect our workers. Last week, HR 2067 was introduced. The bill calls for tougher safety and health penalties, grants more workers protection by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, provides more worker safety rights, and protects whistleblowers.

April 28 is Workers Memorial Day. The date was chosen because it is also the date that OSHA was created in 1971.

Fortunately, many US workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers Memorial Day 2009, AFL-CIO

HR 2067, The Protecting America's Workers Act, Washington Watch

Related Web Resources:
Death on the Job Report, 2008

Mine Safety and Health Administration

Continue reading "Chicago Workers’ Compensation Law Firm: Workers Memorial Day Honors People Killed and Injured in the Workplace" »

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