There are many different kinds of personal injury cases. Some tort claims are pretty straightforward. Take a slip and fall accident, for instance. In such a circumstance, there is an immediate consequence resulting from someone else’s negligence. A manager forgot to set up a caution sign on a slippery floor and consequently you fell on your back. Not all cases involve such an immediacy. Some tort claims involve more insidious injuries that emerge slowly over time. For example, toxins might work their way into your system via a water source or through the air and you may not even realize it’s happening until, one day, you’re sick. If you believe you’ve been exposed to injurious toxins because of another person’s (or company’s) negligence, you may want to file a toxic tort claim.
Toxic Tort Types
Toxic tort claims come in a variety of forms. You, yourself, may have been injured due to contaminated air and groundwater, mold, asbestos, toxins at work, lead paint, defective medicines or any other kind of exposure to toxic materials. Or your loved one may have passed away because of exposure to chemicals, in which case you might want to pursue a wrongful death claim against the allegedly negligent party.
It’s also quite common for toxic exposure to affect a large number of people. In Flint, Michigan, for instance, local residents were exposed to contaminated water due, in part, to the negligence of city and state officials. A class action suit filed in 2015 alleged that 14 government officials were responsible for the water contamination, which inevitably led to an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. Another related suit was filed in 2016, claiming that Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc., an engineering firm responsible for overseeing water treatment, knew about the potential for contamination but did nothing. And earlier this year, 1,700 Flint residents filed suit against the EPA for not managing the crisis appropriately, seeking over $700 million in damages. Yet another lawsuit was filed by the ACLU last year, alleging that school districts in the Flint area failed to provide services to nearly 30,000 children exposed to toxic chemicals. The variety of lawsuits described here illustrates something important: toxic tort claims can be filed against many different parties, as long as the actions or negligence of said parties have had a direct impact on the health of the plaintiff.
Who Can You Sue?
As observed above, there are a lot of potential defendants for toxic tort claims. Who you can sue depends on the details of your case. For instance, you might be exposed to toxins in your workplace. If you work around toxic chemicals and your employer has failed to properly store said chemicals, you will probably want to pursue claims against the company for which you work. Similarly, if your employer has failed to provide adequate training for handling certain chemicals and this leads to injury, you may want to seek compensation for your injuries by filing claims against your employer.
In the Home
Sadly, we are exposed to risk in our homes as well. For example, if your walls were painted with lead paint and you have not been notified of this, your landlord might be liable for any injuries incurred by their negligence. Similarly, household cleaning products might have chemicals that cause injuries over a long period of time. This doesn’t mean that every cleaning product containing dangerous chemicals is linked to a potential lawsuit. In some cases, however, it might be discovered that the manufacturer knowingly included dangerous toxins in the product’s ingredients. In this case, you might have a claim against the company for damages.
You could also be exposed to toxins when you use defective pharmaceutical products or (like Flint residents) when the actions of the government and related industries result in environmental pollution that negatively impacts your health. No matter the cause, toxic tort claims can be quite complicated because proving causation – that is, showing that another party’s negligence directly resulted in your injury – is often very difficult.
The attorneys at Smith Stag understand the complexities of toxic tort law and are available today to evaluate your claim and assess your potential for compensation.