hazardous materials

Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Dismissal of Toxic Tort Lawsuit Brought by Children of Fathers Exposed to Harmful Chemicals

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One of the most dangerous types of injuries that an individual can face is a toxic tort. These involve exposure to harmful chemicals or substances. Because of the complexity involved in these types of cases, it is critical to consult an attorney who has experience handling cases involving dangerous substances. Our seasoned Illinois personal injury lawyers have the experience and tenacity it takes to help you and your family cope after this traumatic injury.In a recent Illinois appellate opinion, the plaintiffs were children who were born with birth defects that they asserted were caused in utero as a result of their fathers’ exposure to dangerous substances while they worked for a major auto manufacturer.  The children filed complaints against the carmaker, alleging multiple causes of action, including negligence, breach of assumed duty, strict liability, willful and wanton conduct, and loss of consortium relating to their birth defects and the resulting impairment to the parent-child relationship. The defendant moved to dismiss the action on the basis that they failed to show that they would be entitled to relief on any set of facts, and the trial court granted the motion.

The plaintiffs appealed, alleging that the lower court made a number of reversible errors. First, they alleged that the lower court was wrong in finding that workers’ compensation was the exclusive remedy for their stated harms. They also alleged that the court was wrong in finding that the defendant did not owe a duty to a not-yet-conceived baby, and in finding that the plaintiffs could not establish proximate causation because the fathers did not suffer an injury.

In reviewing the plaintiff’s assignments of error, the appellate court reversed the lower court’s grant of the defendant’s motion to dismiss. First, the court disagreed with the lower court’s finding regarding the workers’ compensation exclusivity rule. According to the appellate court, the children were seeking injuries that they sustained directly rather than via their fathers’ occupational duties. Additionally, the court found that there was a cognizable duty that the defendants owed to the unborn children based on the notion that the injury occurred regardless of when the children were conceived.

Regarding proximate cause, the appellate court found that the plaintiffs pled that the fathers worked in close proximity to the toxic chemicals that the company knew were harmful, and the company had a program of monitoring the employees’ health and reproductive capabilities as a result. The appellate court addressed the plaintiffs’ remaining arguments and ultimately reversed the lower court’s finding and remanded the matter for additional proceedings.

If you were injured in a toxic chemical incident, you may be entitled to compensation. At Therman Law Offices, our seasoned personal injury lawyers have assisted Chicago residents with a wide variety of legal matters. Our team of legal professionals will ensure that you receive the personalized and committed legal counsel that you deserve at every step of the legal process. To schedule your free consultation, call us now at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.

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