Toxic substances are all around us. Even in products and materials that are considered to be safe, many of them still contain chemicals and hazardous substances to a certain degree. But what happens when a severe injury occurs because of these toxic substances? To help you get a better understanding, let’s look into the basics surrounding toxic tort litigation.
What is a Toxic Tort?
While the name may sound a little bizarre, the definition of a toxic tort is actually pretty simple. A toxic tort is a legal claim that is associated with exposure to toxic substances. Individuals who have been exposed to and injured by dangerous substances such as chemicals, pesticides, or pharmaceutical drugs have the opportunity to file toxic tort legal claims.
How Does Exposure to These Toxic Substances Happen?
You may be wondering – if these types of substances are so dangerous, then how is it possible for so many individuals to be exposed to them? With all of the technological advances that have been made in today’s society, from the ways our food is grown to the medicines we take on a regular basis, we are constantly being exposed to new products, substances, and chemicals. Unfortunately, these are the exact things that can sometimes make us sick. Even when new products have been tested for their safety, the possibility of problems or side effects almost always exist. In other instances, these dangerous substances accidentally leak into the groundwater or air.
The majority of toxic tort injuries occur through one of the following methods:
- Consumer Products: Individuals may use products that cause unintended illnesses. These can range from everything like breast implants to pesticides.
- Pharmaceuticals: Even though pharmaceutical drugs are tested before becoming available to the general public, sometimes these medications cause unintended side effects. Prozac and Zoloft are just two pharmaceutical drugs that have faced toxic tort litigation.
- Home Exposure: This can occur when individuals come in contact with dangerous substances that are present in their homes, such as mold and formaldehyde-treated flooring.
- Environmental Exposure: Individuals can unknowingly be exposed to toxic substances when they are leaked into the groundwater or air.
- Occupational Exposure: This occur in the workplace when individuals come in contact with harmful substances like benzene, beryllium, and silica. Exposure to asbestos that leads to the development of mesothelioma is one of the most widely known types of toxic tort cases.
Do I Need a Toxic Tort Attorney for My Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you think that you or a loved one suffered injuries because of exposure to harmful substances, the very first step you should take is to consult with a toxic tort attorney. The fact of the matter is that toxic tort cases can get a little tricky.
First, it must be possible to prove causation. Since exposure to dangerous substances typically happens unintentionally, it can be difficult to trace the exact source of the chemical that caused the injury. Additionally, since many side effects and injuries do not manifest until years after the initial exposure, coming up with strong evidence becomes more difficult. Individuals encounter many substances throughout the years, so it can be challenging to trace an injury back to a specific substance.
Another special issue that requires professional assistance from a toxic tort attorney is determining who the personal injury lawsuit should be filed against. If a patient develops a serious health issue after taking a pharmaceutical drug, is it possible to determine exactly who manufactured the medication? If an industrial worker was exposed to asbestos several times throughout his or her career, how can you determine which employer should be held accountable? If an individual becomes extremely ill from drinking contaminated water, is it possible to figure out where and how the contaminants were leaked?
With such complex legal matters, toxic tort cases will typically sue all individuals and organizations that could have any association with the hazardous substance. This could include manufacturers, distributors, owners of locations where individuals were exposed, companies/locations in charge of storing the chemicals, and more.
If exposure to harmful substances or chemicals have cause severe injuries to you or a loved one, contact the experienced toxic tort attorneys at Ross Feller Casey for a free evaluation.