Although we may not realize it, we come into contact with multiple potentially toxic chemicals on a daily basis – from household cleaning products to prescription medication. Fortunately, federal regulations stipulate that handlers and distributers of such chemicals cannot legally expose the public to a degree that will put them under significant risk of harm. If anyone under this obligation fails their duty to the public resulting in the injury of others, they can be held liable for the damages through a toxic tort claim.
A toxic tort claim is a particular type of legal claim reserved for damage caused by exposure to harmful toxins. Toxic tort claims can involve anything from mold exposure in the house, chemical leaks at a work place and even defective prescription medications. Damaging exposure to chemicals can occur two different ways. A person may suffer injuries from slow constant exposure to small amounts of the chemical or they may be affected immediately by acute exposure to one big dose of the chemical.
The type of exposure suffered by the victim determines the types of injuries they stand to sustain. Gradual exposure, known as chronic exposure, to toxic chemicals may occur without the victim even realizing it. The process includes development of respiratory complications, brain damage and even complications in fetal development, if the mother is exposed to the chemical. Workers who have chronic exposure to harmful substances in the industrial field have been known to contract serious disease including mesothelioma and other forms of throat, stomach and lung cancer.
Acute exposure is usually experienced due to a sudden leak or explosion of the chemical. This can not only produce the same harmful effects as chronic exposure, but heavy doses of chemical toxins can cause chemical burns and blast injuries from explosions. When acute exposure occurs on a larger scale, it can also cause the same injuries as chronic exposure to those surrounding the area of the accident. The chemicals released remain in the air and contaminate the natural resources of the community, putting those living in that area at risk.
One of the most complex aspects of toxic tort is determining liability. Depending on the size of the exposure and how many people sustained injuries, tracing the damage back to the actual culprit can prove difficult. However, there are several main entities that are often associated with chemical exposure and who can be held liable for such injuries.
The question of liability finds the foundation of its answer in the circumstances of the exposure. If the injuries from toxic exposure were sustained at a workplace, it is a great possibility that either the employer or landowner of the premises was at fault for failing to maintain safe environments for the workers. This is especially true for workers on construction sites and industrial plants but can also apply to other types of work which take place in buildings that may contain harmful chemicals.
Another common type of toxic claim arises out of the pharmaceutical industry. When drugs have unintended side-effects that were either unforeseen by the manufacturer or were not warned of properly in the marking of the product, the pharmaceutical company can be held liable for any injuries that result from the dangerous drug.
Chemical exposure can also occur within the safety of a home. Asbestos and carbon monoxide have been known to cause severe injuries such as respiratory disease and even cancer from within a private residence. When this occurs, it is important to investigate the origin of the toxin to determine who failed in their duty to protect others from harm. Most times, the exposure originated out of harmful products that were used in the construction of the home, shoddy plumbing and maintenance and even an outside source that leaked chemicals which effected surrounding communities. Exposure in the home can affect adults, children and even unborn children. Therefore, it is extremely important that any suspicion on toxic contact be investigated promptly and thoroughly.
If you suspect that you may have been exposed to a toxic chemical or if an accident led to injuries from acute exposure, you should contact a personal injury attorney in Santa Clarita immediately. At The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus, we investigate claims of toxic exposure thoroughly in order to reveal the culprit of the injuries. Our attorneys will then represent our clients against the party responsible for the chemical exposure in order to recover the damages that they deserve. To learn more about how we can help you file a toxic tort claim against the person responsible for your injuries, call our office and speak with Santa Clarita personal injury lawyer today.