A man who was diagnosed with mesothelioma had his mesothelioma claim denied by the Illinois Supreme Court. The reason? The diagnosis was made 16 years after the statute of limitations had expired under the Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act.

The claim was filed by a woman who is the special administrator of the man’s estate. His exposure to asbestos reportedly occurred from 1966 to 1970, when he worked as a product tester and shipping clerk. However, it would 41 years before he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. One month after the diagnosis, the lawsuit was filed, which named 15 defendants and sought to recover damages.

According to the Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act, compensation must be claimed within 25 years of the asbestos exposure. Ferro Engineering, where the man worked, argued that the “exclusive remedy provisions” of the Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act barred the plaintiff’s claims. However, the plaintiff maintained that because the man didn’t know that his disease had manifested until 41 years later, the claims “fell outside the exclusive remedy provisions.”

The court’s reasoning behind the ruling is so that there is no possibility of liability once a specific period of time has passed. This was a reversal of the appellate court’s ruling.

One attorney says that asbestos litigation has pushed some businesses to the brink of bankruptcy and that if people were allowed to file suit no matter how long it took for the disease to appear, some employers would have gone over into bankruptcy.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a workers’ compensation illness, such as mesothelioma, it’s important to seek legal advice as quickly as possible. An attorney can provide you with your legal options.