Toxins are not just encountered in factories where dangerous chemicals are used on a daily basis. They can also be encountered in our normal routines, and exposure is inevitable.
Unfortunately, people who are constantly exposed to these harmful substances are at greater risk of becoming injured or contracting a disease.
What are Toxic Torts?
A toxic tort is a type of personal injury claim filed by a plaintiff who has been exposed to a toxic substance. Unlike other kinds of personal injury claims, toxic tort cases usually happen over a period of time since injuries, disabilities, and diseases take time to develop.
The exposure could be due to the nature of the occupation, or due to a toxin contained within a pharmaceutical drug or any other consumer product. Although Americans are exposed to many toxic substances daily, these exposures are usually too small to matter.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who are constantly exposed to and threatened by these chemicals, and they are at the greater risk of developing diseases later on in their lives.
How to Prove a Toxic Tort Claim
People who have been disabled or who have contracted a disease due to exposure from a toxic substance can file for a personal injury lawsuit in order to receive damages.
If a worker is injured by a toxin in the workplace, he or she can file a workers’ compensation claim; this is not going to be covered by the civil tort system.
However, if a worker was exposed to a toxic substance like asbestos and benzene, due the the latency period in diseases caused by those toxins, the worker may be able to file a tort claim against their employer.
Always, however, if the injury was caused by a third party, then it will be considered as a civil tort lawsuit. The claim must be made within the statute of limitations.
Since many diseases and injuries are discovered years after the exposure took place, a discovery rule is set in place for a toxic tort case, where the statute starts only after the injury has been discovered, and not after the exposure took place.
To successfully file a toxic tort case, you need to prove that the defendant owes you a legal duty. You also need to prove that the defendant has been negligent of said legal duty.
Lastly, you also need to prove that you were harmed by the breach of said legal duty and you need to provide the extent of harm done to your person.
Toxic Tort Claims
There are many kinds of toxic torts claims, but the most common are the following:
Occupational exposure – Occupational exposure is when a worker is exposed to a dangerous substance while performing job responsibilities.
Pharmaceutical exposure – Pharmaceutical exposure is when a person experiences the unintended side effect of a drug. A toxic tort case can be filed if a manufacturing pharmaceutical company did not sufficiently test a drug or warn the public of its side effects. A case can also be filed against distributors of the drug and the prescribing physician.
Hazardous waste exposure – A lot of factories and facilities do not properly dispose of their wastes, which leads to contamination of the environment as well as the people living in or near it. Hazardous waste exposure happens when a person comes into contact with wastes that have not been properly disposed of and gets sick or becomes disabled because of it.
Consumer products exposure – There are a lot of consumer products that contain toxic substances such as cigarettes, food, lipstick, children’s toys, paint, and pesticides. Consumer products exposure occurs when the consumer gets sick or disabled due to the content of a particular consumer product.
Toxic Tort Substances
Some of the most common toxic substances that are linked to toxic tort cases are the following:
Asbestos – causes mesothelioma and asbestosis
Lead – causes lead poisoning
Manganese – a form of metal used in industrial products which causes manganism
Benzene – used in household cleaning products and increases cancer and leukemia risk
Beryllium – used as a building material in the electronics and aerospace industries, but can also cause a scarring of the lung tissue and lung cancer
Silica – Industrial silica is widely used in construction but can cause lung cancer
PCB – limits the neurological development of children
Things to Know When Hiring a Toxic Tort Attorney
When hiring a toxic tort attorney, make sure that the lawyer or the law firm you hire is well- versed in this area and has had many years of experience in practicing environmental and tort law.
It is also a good idea to ask for references and call previous clients of the law firm to gauge their qualifications.
We Can Help
Landry & Swarr is a law firm that specializes in toxic tort cases, especially when it comes to asbestos cases. Our firm has years of experience dealing with negotiations, out-of-court settlements, and court cases. Rest assured that when you choose to hire Landry & Swarr, our attorneys will firmly negotiate on your behalf so that you get the best offer from the other side.
If you are confused on what to do with your disease or disability, contact our offices today for expert legal advice.