Toxic torts are forms of personal injury cases that involve exposure to a toxin or chemical that results in health problems or medical injury. Here is what you need to about toxic torts. Toxic Tort Law by HG.org has the details.
“Toxic Torts Law refers to the issues associated with and caused by exposure to toxic substances, such as industrial chemicals, pesticides, lead-based paint, pharmaceutical drugs, and environmental toxins. It is a subset of Personal Injury law and often results in Mass Torts.
Toxic tort claims are brought by individuals and/or groups who have been exposed to dangerous substances and suffered injuries and damages due to this exposure. For a successful cause of action in most toxic tort claims, the plaintiff must prove the following elements:
- The substance was harmful/dangerous/toxic;
- The plaintiff was exposed to this substance; and
- The substance caused harm/damage to the plaintiff.”
Toxic Torts: Injuries Caused By Toxic or Chemical Exposure
Personal injury is an extremely broad area of law that includes numerous situations where a party is injured by another. Occasionally, it is easy to determine just how the injury took place. For instance, when a vehicle accident occurs and a vehicle crashes into another, a link can be made between the collision impact as well as the injuries that arise instantly afterward.
However, in other cases, many things become more complex as injuries might not occur quite so clearly or might not happen immediately.
What’s a Toxic Tort?
The term “toxic tort” typically refers to the various forms of tort cases that have similar in common: the victim alleges harm because of exposure to some type of chemical or toxin. A few certain instances where a victim could be exposed to a toxic include:
- Contamination of soil or groundwater because of dumping of chemicals and wastes
- Contamination of environment or air because of release of toxins or noxious gases
- Chemical exposure within the workplace
- Exposure to mold (particularly dangerous species of black mold)
- Lead paint exposure
- Asbestos exposure
- Dangerous chemicals or toxins in defective drugs or medications (frequently dealt with as a product liability claim)
These are just some examples of cases where an individual could suffer severe health problems from toxic exposure.
Who’s Liable for the Toxic Torts?
A toxic tort claim may be brought against numerous potential defendants, such as a company that deposited the pollutants or toxins in the groundwater, an asbestos manufacturer, a landlord who did not properly ensure an apartment was mold-free or lead paint-free, or a dangerous drug manufacturer.
Justia’s Toxic Torts also has a few important details that you ought to know. Here’s an excerpt:
“Causation and Toxic Tort Litigation
The most difficult element to prove in toxic tort litigation is causation. Many illnesses caused by exposure to a toxic substance manifest years after exposure. One prominent example is mesothelioma, which takes decades to develop, by which time crucial pieces of evidence may be lost and the defendant company may be out of business. A defendant may argue that the plaintiff was exposed to other intervening chemicals that caused the harm.
Generally, plaintiffs must sue any entity that could have a possible link to their injuries. This includes manufacturers, distributors, property owners, and companies that store chemicals. For example, a plaintiff may not know what entity actually manufactured the asbestos that he or she was exposed to at different job sites that caused his or her mesothelioma. Plaintiffs usually need to bring all of them into the lawsuit to investigate and sort out causation.”
How to Make a Case Against the Liable Party
People affected by the toxic torts can typically recover damages via a personal injury case. The main exemption to the ability to get through a civil case is when an employee is harmed by a toxin or chemical at work.
Though their employer could’ve been directly liable for the chemical exposure that took place, work-related injuries aren’t handled via the tort system. Instead, the 50 U.S. states have passed legislation that creates a sole remedy via the workers’ comp system.
While a workers’ comp claim is frequently the exclusive remedy for work-related injuries, if an employee was harmed by something such as asbestos, which was made by a third party, the employee could make a case against the manufacturer in a civil lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations
Claims for damages in a personal injury case generally should be made within a time limit following an incident or injury has happened. This is typically a two- or three-period, though, in a few states, it can be shorter or longer. The law that established this deadline is known as the “statute of limitations.”
One major issue that emerges in toxic tort claims is that the injury will not show up instantly. For example, somebody could be exposed to contaminated groundwater, and they could develop cancer, yet not until years following the first exposure occurred.
To handle this issue, numerous states have a “discovery rule.” In essence, under this regulation, the time limit clock doesn’t begin ticking until the personal injury is discovered or reasonably should’ve been known.
Now that you know the basics of toxic torts let us now continue with a few other important details about toxic torts. Injuries Caused By Chemical Exposure: Toxic Torts by AllLaw has the information.
“Who is Responsible for Toxic Torts?
A toxic tort case could be brought against a number of potential defendants, including a company that dumped the pollutants in the groundwater, a manufacturer of asbestos, a landlord who didn’t properly make sure an apartment was free from mold or lead paint, or the manufacturer of a dangerous drug.
How to Make a Claim Against the Responsible Party
Those who are affected by toxic torts can usually recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit. The major exception to the ability to recover through a civil lawsuit is when a worker is injured by a toxin at work. Although his or her employer may have been directly responsible for the exposure that occurred, work-related injuries are not handled through the civil tort system. Instead, all of the 50 states in the US have passed legislation that creates an exclusive remedy through the workers’ compensation system.
While a workers compensation claim is usually the sole remedy for on-the-job injuries, if a worker was injured by something like asbestos, which was manufactured by a third party, then the worker may be able to make a claim against the asbestos manufacturer in a standard civil lawsuit.”
Learn about toxic torts and its elements by clicking on the article above.