People exposed to hazardous substances and pollutants may develop severe health complications, such as uterine cancers, heart and lung diseases, asthma attacks, neurological disorders, and congenital disabilities. When an individual’s exposure to toxic substances results in harm or injury, they can file a personal injury case, otherwise known as a toxic tort.
You may be entitled to monetary compensation if you or your loved one are victims of toxic contamination. This guide will provide a thorough overview of toxic torts, damage liability, and the process of filing a lawsuit.
What Is Toxic Tort?
A toxic tort is a subcategory of a personal injury lawsuit. It involves cases wherein claimants seek compensation for physical harm, illness, or death caused by exposure to dangerous substances. These include:
- Beauty products like hair dye, hair sprays, and other hair treatments
- Industrial chemicals like benzene, asbestos, lead paint, and landfill waste
- Medical components like talcum powder, opioids, and other regulated drugs
- Household cleaning supplies like pesticides, disinfectants, and solvents
- Environmental pollutants like air pollution, water contamination, and radiation
These substances can lead to severe side effects if misused, exposed, or in contact without proper protection. Unquestionably, victims can pursue a claim for negligence, strict liability, and intentional torts if the involved parties are proven at fault.
Liability In Toxic Torts
Toxic torts may involve multiple parties. Depending on the circumstances of the case, any of these entities may be held liable for one’s suffering.
- Manufacturers who produce hazardous products
- Cosmetic companies use unsafe or unapproved ingredients in their products
- Retailers that distribute harmful products to consumers
- Employers who fail to provide sufficient safety equipment or training
- Industrial facilities that emit toxins into the environment
- Property owners who allow toxins to enter the environment
- Government agencies that fail to protect citizens from dangerous chemicals
- Medical and pharmaceutical organizations that develop and distribute drugs and devices with harmful side effects
In some cases, two or more entities may be liable for damages. For example, if you developed adverse health effects from using a particular hair product, you may file a hair products lawsuit against the manufacturer. That said, hiring a law expert should be the first step in determining all the parties involved in the case.
Filing A Toxic Tort Lawsuit
Dealing with the aftermath of a toxic tort can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go through this process alone. The following steps will guide you through the legal lawsuit process.
- Consult a toxic tort lawyer: An experienced attorney assesses the merits of your claim and provides helpful advice and support.
- Gather evidence: To prove that a toxic tort occurred, you must provide evidence of exposure to the toxin, how it impacted your health or well-being, and who is responsible for the harm. Your legal advocate may assist you in obtaining medical records, witness statements, and other pertinent documents.
- File a complaint: Once you have the evidence to support your case, your lawyer drafts a complaint and files it in court.
- Negotiate: The defendants may offer an out-of-court settlement. This approach is an agreement between the parties to resolve the dispute without going through a trial.
- Attend court proceedings: Toxic tort cases may require attending a trial, especially if the plaintiff doesn’t want to settle. Your legal team represents you in court and presents the evidence to prove your claim.
- Receive compensation: If your case is successful, you may receive financial compensation for damages incurred. Lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering are some compensable damages.
Filing a toxic tort lawsuit is a complex endeavor. But with the guidance of a qualified attorney and solid evidence, you can get justice for the harm inflicted upon you.
Arbitration And Settlements In Toxic Tort Cases
As mentioned, settling a toxic tort case outside of court is possible. The defendant and the plaintiff can agree to arbitration or a settlement. Either of these processes is much faster and less expensive than a trial.
Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process that involves an impartial third party called an arbitrator. Defendant and plaintiff must present their evidence and argue their case before the arbitrator. The independent third-party professional listens to both sides of the story, evaluates the evidence, and makes a binding decision.
A settlement is an agreement between the parties voluntarily agreeing to resolve their dispute without going to court. Typically, the injured party decides to end their pursuit of litigation in exchange for an agreed-upon payment. A legal counsel can help you negotiate a fair and just settlement. So, consult with a knowledgeable attorney before signing any agreement.
It’s also worth noting that settling a toxic tort case doesn’t protect the defendant from future litigation. If other victims come forward with similar claims, they can pursue their cases. This means that seeking justice and restitution can extend far beyond your case.
Regardless of how you decide to proceed, whether to settle or go to court, the goal is to hold negligent parties accountable for their actions.
Toxic torts are complex matters that require the assistance of an experienced attorney. Don’t hesitate to consult a lawyer if you or a loved one has suffered harm from exposure to hazardous substances. With the right law advocate, you can protect your rights, obtain justice, and be compensated fairly for your losses.