Breen Files Bill to Help Families Grieving Legionnaires Deaths to Quickly Navigate State Legal Process

Today, in response to the deadly outbreak of Legionnaires Disease at the Quincy Veterans Home, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) is taking steps to ensure that families grieving the loss of loved ones there are not further ensnarled in costly and slow litigation at the Illinois Court of Claims to recover the financial benefits they are entitled to.

HB 5171 would create the Veterans Home Compensation Act. Through the Act, a benefit of $100,000—the current maximum benefit available at the Illinois Court of Claims—would be expeditiously adjudicated and paid to the surviving spouse or next of kin of any person who dies of pneumonia caused by waterborne bacteria (Legionnaires Disease) while living at one of Illinois’ veterans’ homes. “This disease has been responsible for 13 deaths at the Quincy Veterans’ Home, plus severe illness in dozens of other residents there,” said Breen. “This is entirely unacceptable, and my bill ensures that families who are clearly entitled to compensation at the Court of Claims are swiftly paid.”

Breen put forward HB 5172 after reading about the continued delays and difficulties faced by families seeking compensation at the Illinois Court of Claims for the benefits they are entitled to for the deaths of their loved ones. “These folks have been through so much, the least we can do is keep them from having to go through an extended legal process to be compensated, so minimally, when the clear fault lies with the State of Illinois,” said Breen.

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