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​Experienced ILLINOIS Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
& CHICAGO Injury Lawyers

Illnesses Caused by Airplane Air Quality

Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Occupational Illnesses in Chicago

Airplane air quality can cause illness. Cabin air quality can result in vision problems, dizziness, upper airway issues, and even incapacitation. The poor air quality can impact passengers, but it is more likely to impact pilots, flight attendants and crewmembers who are constantly breathing in the air while working. Sometimes the air quality is the result of being exposed to dangerous contaminants from engine oils. Whatever the reason for the poor air quality, if you work on an airplane and become sick because of air quality, you may be able to obtain benefits, and our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys may be able to help.

Illnesses Caused by Airplane Air Quality

Airplane air is a mixture of recycled air and outside air called bleed air, which has been compressed by the plane’s engines. On commercial airplanes, the air is often contaminated with engine oil and other aircraft fluids. A leak of engine oil or hydraulic fluid may be pumped directly into the aircraft cabin. Even if these contaminants are present only in small quantities in the air, they can trigger significant health concerns for those exposed to it day-in and day-out for their jobs.

Workers exposed to toxins in small doses for a long period may suffer lung problems or skin problems including eczema or skin cancer. They may develop occupational asthma. Other problems that have been reported in connection with exposure to the bleed air are excessive fatigue, bowel problems, serious headaches, and vomiting. It can be particularly difficult to pursue benefits for occupational diseases of this nature because it is harder to show the relationship between the airplane’s air quality and the health problems than it is for many other work-related injuries. A knowledgeable work injury lawyer can evaluate the potential for establishing the required link between your job and your illness.

Bringing a Claim for Benefits

If you suffer from a work-related illness, you should immediately let your employer know. You have 45 days to provide notice, and it’s better if that notice is written. You should specify when and where the illness was incurred. If your employer’s insurer doesn’t pay you benefits, you may need to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

You’ll need to be able to show that you were an employee of the employer at the time you got sick and that you suffered illness during the course of your employment. If there’s a preexisting condition, you’ll need to show that your medical condition was caused or aggravated by the job. You’ll also need to show that the employer got proper notice.

If you claim has been denied, you can ask for a hearing in front of an arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. In order to petition for a hearing, you must have filed an Application for Adjustment of a Claim. After this form is filed, you will get an arbitrator. The arbitrator can hold a trial and should issue a decision within 60 days. Workers’ compensation benefits include reasonable medical care, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits. These benefits aren’t taxable. Disability benefits can be partial or total, and temporary or permanent.


It can be difficult to show that your illness was caused by airplane air quality. If you are unhappy with an arbitrator’s decision against you, you may appeal the decision. The appeal is requested by filing a petition for review within 30 days of the arbitrator’s decision. At that point it comes before a panel of commissioners who review it and hold a hearing. You will have an opportunity to present an oral argument at the appeal. The Commission is supposed to make a decision about the appeal within 60 days, and if you disagree with that decision, too, you may appeal to the Circuit Court, the Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court.

Retain an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Chicago

If you suffer from an illness caused by airplane air quality on the job in Chicago, you should consider hiring a workers’ compensation attorney. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent injured airline workers in Champaign, Aurora, Rockford, Quincy, and Springfield, as well as Winnebago, Kane, Champaign, Sangamon, Adams, and Cook Counties. Call us at 312-724-5846, or contact us online.