How Do You Prove Paraquat Exposure in Illinois?

If you believe you or a loved one suffered exposure to Paraquat and want to file a lawsuit in Illinois, you must prove Paraquat exposure to succeed with a case.

Learn more about Paraquat and how you may be able to build a case by proving exposure to this product.

What Is Paraquat?

You might wonder what you should know about Paraquat poisoning, including what it is and how it works. Also known as Paraquat dichloride, this chemical is a type of herbicide that many organizations and agencies have used all over the world for grass and weed control.

While countries like Switzerland and the European Union have banned Paraquat because of its dangerous toxic chemicals, the U.S. still allows it, albeit under “restricted use” based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) measures to limit its use. As a result, the only people who can legally buy, handle, and use Paraquat in the U.S. are licensed commercial farmers.

Paraquat has come under fire over the years because of the various health risks it poses, but it still has a presence in the U.S. despite its dangers, which has led to an increase in lawsuits seeking compensation for damages resulting from Paraquat exposure.

Symptoms of Paraquat Exposure

Paraquat contains multiple toxic chemicals that can cause harm to people, including farmers and others who come into contact with this substance. Over time, people exposed to Paraquat can develop Parkinson’s Disease, which comes with various signs and symptoms.

Specifically, people exposed to Paraquat may experience certain motor symptoms that indicate the development of Parkinson’s Disease. These symptoms may include:

  • Muscle stiffness
  • Cramps and spasms
  • Tremors
  • Freezing in place
  • Falls and dizziness
  • Slowed movement

If you experience these or other types of motor symptoms, you should see a doctor to determine if you have Parkinson’s Disease or another condition. People can also experience non-motor symptoms when suffering from Parkinson’s including anxiety, depression, psychosis, weight loss, and more.

If you receive a formal diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, you may be able to recover compensation for your illness and subsequent damages through a Paraquat claim.

Health Conditions Associated With Paraquat Exposure

In addition to Parkinson’s Disease, people may develop other conditions because of their exposure to Paraquat. For example, people who survive Paraquat poisoning could experience severe lung scarring, heart failure, kidney failure, and esophageal strictures that involve scarring of the esophagus. People with esophageal strictures may experience difficulty swallowing as a key symptom.

Proving Paraquat Exposure in Illinois

If you believe you or a loved one developed Parkinson’s Disease or another condition because of Paraquat exposure, you may be able to seek monetary compensation in a Paraquat class action lawsuit.

However, to succeed with a Paraquat claim or suit, you must be able to prove that Paraquat was the cause of your condition. Doing so will entail collecting and organizing sufficient evidence that proves your condition and that Paraquat is behind it.

The following are a couple of key pieces of evidence to use when building a Paraquat case:

Medical Records

One of the main forms of evidence you’ll want to use to prove Paraquat exposure and your illness includes medical records.

Medical records will show a formal diagnosis and detail the nature of your condition, including when it developed and the specific symptoms you suffer.

Additional medical documentation to use in these cases could include bills and receipts, which prove that you’re seeking treatment for your condition. Ultimately, this documentation can prove the severity of your illness and injuries resulting from Paraquat poisoning, which can factor into the settlement amount.

Proof of Lost Income

You should also maintain proof of lost income if you were unable to work due to the seriousness of your condition and the need to seek treatment or recover.

This evidence can help detail how your illness negatively impacted your life and ability to earn, further factoring into compensation.

Documenting the Presence of Paraquat

In addition to Parkinson’s Disease or other types of health conditions, you must show how you or a loved one suffered exposure to Paraquat. For instance, the victim could be a licensed commercial farmer with legal access to the substance, or he or she could be someone who lived on or near a property that regularly used Paraquat to kill weeds and other unwanted vegetation. Others could be landscapers or other professionals working on a farm in the presence of Paraquat.

You’ll need to find records of the purchase or use of Paraquat and potentially take photos or record video footage of the site using Paraquat, such as areas with dead vegetation following the use of the chemical or Paraquat containers.

If you need help collecting any of this evidence, a class action attorney may be able to help you build a case and gather any relevant pieces of evidence that can support your case.

Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Illinois

In the event of Paraquat exposure and you want to file a claim or lawsuit against liable individuals or entities, you’ll want to hire a class action lawyer to help handle a potential case.

An attorney with experience handling these types of cases will be able to guide you through the claims and legal process, giving you more time to focus on recovering.

Hiring an attorney can also help you get the total compensation you may be eligible to recover in a case. He or she will be able to identify all damages sustained and calculate them to determine a viable settlement to pursue. Additionally, an attorney can help raise awareness about Paraquat and the dangers it presents to people exposed to this chemical.

Types of Damages

If you want to recover compensation in a Paraquat case, you may be able to seek economic or non-economic damages. Some cases may also warrant the awarding of punitive damages if defendants engaged in gross negligence or malicious intent to contribute to exposure.

Here is a breakdown of the different types of damages involved in these cases:

  • Economic damages — You may be able to recover economic damages in Paraquat cases, which are the financial losses sustained due to Paraquat exposure and subsequent illnesses or injuries. For example, economic damages could include medical bills, lost income, lost earning capacity, physical therapy, and other expenses related to the case.
  • Non-economic damages — Another type of damage that victims could recover is non-economic. These damages are the personal suffering that people experience because of their conditions. Examples of non-economic damages in Paraquat claims could include physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium if victims are no longer capable of maintaining intimate relationships.
  • Punitive damages — While these rarely play a part in class action suits, they could if manufacturers or others are liable for gross negligence leading to exposure to Paraquat. Unlike the compensatory economic and non-economic damages mentioned above, punitive damages aim to punish defendants and deter similar behavior in the future.

Statute of Limitations

Another factor to keep in mind when building a Paraquat case is your case’s statute of limitations. This is a time limit that claimants have to file claims or lawsuits against liable parties to recover damages following exposure to Paraquat.

Generally, the statute of limitations in these cases will begin from the date of the Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis and last for anywhere from one to six years, depending on the state where the case takes place. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for Paraquat cases is two years from the time of the Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis. This means you have two years after becoming aware of your condition to file a claim or lawsuit.

If you fail to file on time before the statute passes, you may be unable to recover compensation from liable parties. This limit is why it’s so important to begin building a case as soon as possible, which will also help you get the compensation you deserve in time to help cover treatment and lost income.

Are You Eligible for a Paraquat Lawsuit?

People who suffered exposure to Paraquat in any capacity may be able to successfully file a Paraquat claim or lawsuit if they received a Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis from a medical professional and can prove Paraquat exposure.

You must be able to gather enough evidence to prove exposure and the nature of your illness, which is where an attorney can come in. A lawyer can evaluate your case in a free consultation and determine whether you have a valid case. He or she may then begin investigating your case when representing you.

With the help of medical records and other relevant evidence, you may be able to successfully prove Paraquat exposure and seek compensation from farmers, manufacturers, or other potentially liable parties in these cases. 

Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.

Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
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