Benzene is a flammable, sweet-smelling chemical that is present in gasoline, parts washers, solvents such as cleaning agents and degreasers, and automotive paints. These are all products to which auto mechanics in Illinois and elsewhere are exposed every day. Furthermore, benzene is a known carcinogen and the cause of excessive medical expenses for many workers who are suffering the consequences of exposure to this dangerous chemical.
An auto mechanic who has been exposed to benzene since 1982 and developed cancer as a result recently filed a lawsuit. He named ExxonMobil, Rust-Oleum, BP, Shell and 10 other companies as defendants. The plaintiff claims he now suffers from multiple myeloma -- a cancer of the blood that originates in bone marrow. Cancerous white blood cells form in the bones after the accumulation of benzene that is absorbed by inhalation or through skin absorption.
The workers' compensation insurance program of Illinois covers employees in all industries, and injured workers are entitled to benefits that typically pay for medical expenses and lost income. However, if third parties caused the injuries or occupational illnesses, there may be grounds for pursuing personal injury claims in a civil court. These claims can be extremely complicated to navigate, and money already received from workers' comp may have to be paid back.
The services of Illinois workers' compensation attorneys are available to protect the rights of injured workers. However, some attorneys are also experienced in handling personal injury claims. Such a professional can assess the circumstances and specifics of the case to establish grounds for a civil lawsuit. The advantage is that a successful personal injury claim usually provides more compensation than the coverage of medical expenses typically provided by the workers' compensation program.
Source: dailyhornet.com, "Auto Mechanic With Cancer Files Benzene Lawsuit", Elizabeth Bradley, April 19, 2017