CHICAGO TOXIC TORTS ATTORNEYS
Helping victims of toxic exposure across Illinois.
Exposure to dangerous substances such as pesticides, chemicals or environmental toxins can cause lasting and potentially fatal health defects. Toxic tort litigation can compensate consumers and residents who were impacted by faulty products or negligent practices and policies.
Toxic torts often appear in the form of environmental hazards such as contaminated air and water supplies. People who live and work near industrial sites or toxic landfills have been found to be more likely to develop certain types of cancer or illness. Many torts stem from occupational or home exposure to toxins like asbestos, benzene, lead paint and dry cleaning solvents. Common consumer products — including pesticides, insecticides and household cleaners — can also have adverse health consequences. Patients who experience unintended side effects of pharmaceutical drugs may have grounds for toxic tort litigation.
From 1984 to 2019, Sterigenics used ethylene oxide — a known carcinogen — to sterilize medical equipment at its 24-hour plant in Willowbrook, Ill. The public remained in the dark until 2018 when two federal reports revealed the extent of ethylene oxide (EtO) exposure caused by the southwest suburban facility. Tens of thousands of people who lived in Cook and DuPage counties had been exposed to dangerously high levels of an invisible, cancer-causing toxin for more than three decades.
Sterigenics never pursued safer alternatives to ethylene oxide or adequately studied or tested air quality. Though the plant was shut down in 2019 following public protests and intervention by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), people who lived or worked near the facility continue to suffer lasting health effects. Acute exposure to ethylene oxide can lead to vomiting, neurological disorders, bronchitis, pulmonary edema and emphysema. Chronic exposure can cause cancer, birth defects, reproductive and developmental impairments and damage to brain and nervous systems. [Read more [link to journal]]
Though Sterigenics’ Willowbrook facility was shuttered in 2019, facilities across the U.S. continue to use ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen. In Illinois, Medline Industries uses the cancerous gas at its Waukegan plant, while Vantage Specialty Chemicals utilizes it in Gurnee. As public outcry against the use of ethylene oxide grows louder, it is likely that state and federal legislation will curtain emissions in the future. But people who live and work near many facilities are not guaranteed legislative action and cannot escape years — if not decades — of ethylene oxide exposure. Mass tort litigation has the potential not only to provide financial support to those who have suffered but also to push companies toward safer policies and practices.
About Cavanagh Law Group
Cavanagh Law Group has obtained more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements in Illinois and across the United States. Our veteran trial attorneys are aggressive advocates who practice every facet of personal injury law and take on cases of all sizes. We operate on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay anything unless we win. At Cavanagh Law Group, we pride ourselves on attentive customer service and being there for families in their times of need. Our well respected, award-winning attorneys are available 24/7 for your questions and concerns. To schedule a free case evaluation, call 312-425-1900.
Frequently Asked Questions
Call the police immediately and file a police report. Even if the damage was minor, it is essential to document what happened with a law enforcement agency. Take photos at the scene.
Never admit fault. Your testimony could be used against you at a later date. While you are required to speak to police, there is no obligation to talk to another person’s attorney or insurance company. Avoid providing written or oral statements.
Report the accident to your own insurance company as soon as possible — but don’t admit fault. Many insurance companies have rules requiring policyholders to report crashes within a certain timeframe. Check your policy to ensure you don’t miss any deadlines.
Visit a doctor as soon as possible after the crash. Whether you’re filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, it is imperative that a medical professional documents your injuries.
Hire an attorney. Cavanagh Law Group’s team of veteran trial attorneys will help you obtain maximum benefits through meticulous research, proven strategy and expert testimony.
Yes. Illinois has comparative negligence laws, which allow injured parties to have some degree of fault in an accident and still recover reduced damages. The amount of money recovered may be proportional to the degree to which a person is at fault. Insurance companies make determinations following interviews with witnesses and involved parties and a thorough review of the accident report.
Under Illinois law, people have two years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit in civil court. That timeframe drops to one year if the claim is against a municipal government, such as a city or county.