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New Study Shows Miners at Significant Risk for Lung Cancer from Diesel Fumes

We all have the right to a safe and healthful workplace, and special laws are in place to protect the rights of workers if they are harmed on the job, or as a result of their workplace environment.

Bearing this in mind, our Chicago personal injury lawyers were especially concerned to read about the results of a 20-year study from the National Cancer Institute showing new evidence that exposure to exhaust from diesel engines at work significantly increases employees’ risk of lung cancer.

A report this week published by MSNBC detailed the results of the investigation; although diesel exhaust has long been classified as a probable carcinogen, the extent of the danger was not fully understood. The analysis of more than 12,000 workers in different kinds of mines (facilities that mined for potash, lime and other nonmetals) were found to have three times the risk of death from lung cancer from having breathed exhaust from diesel-powered equipment at work, compared to workers with lower levels of exposure to diesel exhaust. Nevertheless, even mine employees with lower levels of exposure had a 50% increased risk of death from lung cancer, as compared to the general population.

Under Illinois law, wrongful death is the legal concept that arises when a person’s death has been caused by the fault or negligence of another person. In cases of wrongful death, such as this one, family members can file claims to potentially make the wrongdoer pay damages for things such as the loss of companionship, monetary damages to cover the earnings the deceased person would have provided, and expenses associated with the death such as funeral and burial costs, as well as having to experience grief and sorrow as a result of losing a loved one.

As it applies in this case, if it is found that the corporations who own or manage the mining workplaces at which the diesel-inhalation occurred were negligent in ensuring that the workplace was safe and free from carcinogens, those companies may be held liable for the diesel fumes’ hazardous effects, and may be made to answer to an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit.

Certainly, and as stated in MSNBC‘s report, the study looked back at mines using decades-old equipment, and there is far less pollution from diesel engines today, but there are currently 1.4 million American workers being exposed to diesel exhaust at work every day, not to mention urban populations worldwide who also breathe diesel fumes.

Our Chicago wrongful death attorneys have handled a number of workplace injury cases, including having won a $5.7 million settlement for a 27-year-old roofer in a workplace injury case who was paralyzed when he fell from a roof as a result of the general contractor’s failure to provide appropriate safety devices.

Though a lawsuit can never bring a loved one back to life, it is a step in the right direction, both for achieving justice, and making those at fault pay for their careless actions. Contact an attorney if you have been injured at work; you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering.