Springfield, IL – State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) said his recently passed workplace illnesses bill will provide access to legal remedies for workers hurt over extended periods.
“Previously, workers who faced dangerous conditions, like exposure to asbestos, may not have had access to workers’ compensation, since illnesses like mesothelioma may not manifest until decades after their first exposure,” Hoffman said. “This new law will help ensure that workers who have gone to work in dangerous conditions receive justice and adequate compensation.”
The bill, Senate Bill 1596, was passed in the recent legislative session and signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Hoffman was the primary sponsor. It responds to a 2015 Illinois Supreme Court case involving the declining health and eventual death of a person who was exposed to asbestos while working.
The court did not dispute the employer’s negligence in contributing to the death, but it cited statute of limitations standards that require legal action to be taken within specific time constraints that could not be met in the case.
WHAT IT DOES
The new law allows exempts victims and their survivors from that limitation in such cases. It states: “As to any such injury or death, the employee, the employee’s heirs, and any person having standing under the law to bring a civil action at law, including an action for wrongful death and an action pursuant to Section 27-6 under the Probate Act of 1975, has the non-waivable right to bring such an action against any employer or employers.”
Noted Hoffman: “Illinois workers deserve protection from employer negligence and wrongdoing in the workplace. I commend the governor for signing this legislation into law, ensuring that workers who find themselves sick after working in dangerous conditions receive the justice they deserve.”
For more information, call Hoffman’s constituent service office at (618) 416-7407 or send email to RepJayHoffman@gmail.com.