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Can I sue my employer for having faulty equipment that is endangering my life and hurting my health?

Quincy, IL |

I have painted for this employer for three years now. Over the the past three years the quality of the paint booths me and other employees paint in have declined drastically. Due to the amount of paint and over spray that are outside of the paint booths I have no question in my mind that I am breathing paint in even when Im not painting. Keep in mind when we are paint when have helmets on that filter the air. I am most certain the paint getting outside of the booths has effected my health some and could get worse if not addressed. My bosses and hire up bosses have been told about and notified about these problems but nothing has been done. Is there anything I can do to composite for what has been done to my health or for what has put my health at risk?

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Attorney answers 5


Unfortunately, a personal injury lawsuit is filed for actual damages incurred not potential damages. However, your concerns seem quite valid about worker safety at your workplace. You may wish to lodge a complaint with OSHA. Here's a link to help you know more:

Best of luck.

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So if there was proof that my health was effected I would have a case? But other wise its more of an OSHA matter?

Zaheer A Shah

Zaheer A Shah




If you can prove that you have sustained personal injury and deteriorating health on the job, you should have a worker's compensation claim, and you should immediately consult with an Illinois worker comp attorney.

OSHA is a complex area of the law that does not provide a private right of action, in layman's language a right to file suit. However, should an employer retaliate against employee based on OSHA complaint such evidence could potentially be used in wrongful discharge case, which is a separate claim than worker compensation. You would need to consult with a lawyer that deals with OSHA/wrongful discharge case to see if you had a claim under Illinois law.

Avvo provides great resources to find a good worker comp lawyer.


Without a demonstrable actual injury, you have no personal injury case. Since it is your employer, the ONLY option you have is workers' compensation, but without an injury or illness, it doesn't fall under either WC or the Occupational Disease Act.

Now, is it worth dropping a dime on OSHA and telling them? Well, if they find violations, you probably are out of a job, especially if they figure out who caused the sudden inspection of the plant.

I suggest you either look for other employment, find a doctor who diagnoses an actual injury, or report it to OSHA.

This answer posted on Avvo is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship created or formed and you should not rely on this as legal advice. The suggestion is made that if you wish to protect your rights, you consult with an attorney immediately.


If your health has been harmed, you need a physician's opinion that supports your theory. Only then could you file a Work Comp claim. Under NO circumstances can YOU compel your employer to modify their equipment.

If the booths are non-compliant with OSHA regulations, contact OSHA.

If this information has been helpful, please indicate by providing feedback that the answer was either "helpful" or "best answer" as appropriate. Legal Disclaimer: Mr. Candiano is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Indiana. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question.


For any such claim you will need expert or treating Dr.'s to express on opinion nod only that you were over exposed but also that is what is causing your complaints. At that point you need a Good work com p lawyer to present the claim. This is not something you can handle yourself.

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