A toxic substance is something harmful to the human body. Toxic exposure transpires when the human body comes into contact with a toxic substance.

Toxic Exposure Award

There is no strict guideline on estimating damages for toxic exposure to hazardous chemicals and products. Award amounts vary widely depending on several factors, including:

  • The severity of the injury: Minor breathing problems or severe trauma;
  • Hospital charges: Medical monitoring, therapy

Knowledge of the offending party of the presence of toxic materials is also considered in toxic exposure awards.

What Are Some Illustrations of Toxic Exposure?

Toxic exposure can occur in many different environments and in many different ways. Examples of toxic exposure include:

  • Exposure to chemicals in your workplace;
  • Exposure to dangerous types of black mold;
  • Exposure to Asbestos;
  • Exposure to lead paint;
  • The inhalation of toxic fumes as a result of welding;
  • Defective medicines or drugs containing hazardous chemicals;
  • Contamination of the environment caused by the release of certain gasses or toxins;
  • Contamination of soil or groundwater due to the dumping of wastes and chemicals.

What Are Toxic Torts?

Personal injury law deals with situations where another harms one party. Toxic torts refer to personal injury cases where the plaintiff alleges harm because of exposure to some toxin or chemical. The factors in establishing a toxic tort case are similar to those you must prove in a typical negligence case.

You will have to prove that:

  • The Defendant Owed You a Legal Duty: This is often clear in toxic torts cases.
    • For example, in cases involving environmental contamination, you can demonstrate that a company had a duty to the residents of the locality not to dump any chemicals that would contaminate the soil or groundwater.
  • The Legal Duty was Breached: Duty is determined based on the reasonable person standard, which looks at how a reasonable party would act in the same situation.
    • For instance, in environmental contamination cases, you can demonstrate that another company in a similar situation would have exercised more care to avoid dumping toxic chemicals and that another company would have complied more precisely with the applicable environmental regulations.
  • The Breach of Duty Caused You Harm: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the breach of legal duty was the direct or proximate cause of the harm.
    • This can be difficult, especially if more than one party is potentially involved. For instance, an owner of a property with toxic chemicals can claim that the builder is responsible. In contrast, the builder can argue that the owner did not adequately inspect or maintain the property.
  • You Suffered a Particular Harm: This involves proving that you suffered particular harm because of the defendant’s actions. You can use different types of evidence, such as medical bills or missed workdays, to verify this.

What Are Other Causes of Action?

Personal injury lawsuits are not the only method someone affected by toxic exposure can recover compensation. For instance, work-related injuries are not handled through a typical personal injury lawsuit, even if the employer was directly responsible for the exposure.

Instead, these injuries are handled through the worker’s compensation system, which all the fifty states have enacted. A worker’s compensation claim is usually the only remedy for injuries on the job.

However, suppose the worker was injured by a substance such as asbestos which a third party manufactured. In that case, the employee may be able to bring a claim against the manufacturer of the substance in a standard civil lawsuit. Also, cases that involve defective medicines/drugs may be brought as a product liability case rather than a toxic tort case.

What Are Class Action Lawsuits?

If a toxic substance affects many individuals, a plaintiff may not bring an individual claim but rather a collective one. A class-action lawsuit is a legal claim brought by a group of people who all suffered the same or a similar injury because of the same defendant’s conduct.

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations sets the time limit when a particular claim can be brought against a defendant. It is essential to keep this in mind because damages claims must be brought within a set period. It is usually two or three years after the incident for personal injury cases, although it can be longer or shorter in some states.

This can be difficult for toxic exposure cases. This is because exposure may not appear immediately but may appear several years later as a severe medical condition. Many states have a “discovery rule” to deal with this problem. In states with the discovery rule, the statute of limitations does not start ticking until the injury is known or reasonably should have been known.

What Are Toxic Exposure Lawsuits?

Toxic exposure lawsuits are legal claims involving injuries due to toxic substances. These cases are quite routine when it comes to work-related injuries. They are often filed concerning the property and home living conditions. Some instances of toxic exposure lawsuits include cases where asbestos or toxic mold is an issue.

Toxic exposure lawsuits often result in a monetary damages award issued to the plaintiff. Other measures may be required in some circumstances, such as clearing the toxic conditions or providing alternate work/living spaces.

What Are Some Toxic Exposure Defenses?

In some circumstances, a plaintiff may be prevented from recovering damages. This can occur if the defendant has certain defenses that apply to the claim.

Some defenses to toxic exposure claims include:

  • No causation – The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions caused their injuries. For example, no liability can be claimed for toxic substances released through natural causes.
  • Assumption of risk – is often a defense if the plaintiff knew of the risks yet persisted with their conduct near the toxic materials or handling them.
  • Filing deadline expired – Each state has various deadlines within which the plaintiff needs to file their claim. For example, the plaintiff might need to file their claim within one year after discovering their injury. This may vary by state law.
  • Previous injuries – If the injury is merely a recurrence of an earlier condition or injury, it might not be an actionable claim. Again, the defendant needs to have directly caused the injury.

Various other defenses may be available, such as contributory negligence or intoxication. Such defenses may hinge on the facts in each claim and the laws and regulations in that particular jurisdiction.

Examples of Past Toxic Exposure Awards

While the awards listed below might not be relevant to your particular case, they are examples of what has been awarded. Depending on the severity of the injury, the intention of the parties, and the toxic material, your case may differ from those listed below:

  • An asbestos case in which the employee developed mesothelioma after 35 years of exposure and was expected to die within a month of his verdict was awarded $271,000.
  • A case involving asbestos in which an oil worker won $1.6 million under the legal theory of negligence and defective products
  • Despite knowing the dangers of asbestos, the employer failed to warn its employees. A worker was awarded $34 million
  • A Texas jury awarded $7 million to the injured as a result of groundwater contamination from an oil refinery
  • The injured party was awarded 104 million for injuries related to cyanide-laced debris that was buried at a landfill by a gas company
  • A spilled drain cleaner that caused severe burns on a small child’s legs and abdomen led to a judgment of $750,000

Seeking Legal Help

Toxic exposure is a severe hazard and can cause many different medical conditions. You should contact an experienced class action lawyer for assistance if you have been injured from toxic exposure. After identifying any possible defendants, your lawyer will help you achieve the greatest damages award for your case.