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What are Toxic Torts?
Toxic tort litigation is an area of personal injury law. It involves injuries caused by toxic substances. Oftentimes, the injury results from the plaintiff being exposed to the substance without being aware of it, only to discover later on that they have incurred a serious medical condition.
After tracing where the condition possibly resulted from, the plaintiff may file a lawsuit to recover damages from the party responsible for the exposure. Thus, toxic tort claims are sometimes called “toxic exposure” lawsuits. Many toxic tort claims are filed as toxic exposure class action suits when many people have been injured by the same source. They are often associated with relatively high damages awards.
What Types of Injuries are Involved With Toxic Torts?
Toxic tort injuries are usually caused by exposure to some sort of dangerous chemical substance. For example, this is often the case with paints, insulation, and other sealants used in workplaces or residential areas. Another common source of toxic torts is exposure to pesticides for agricultural workers.
In general, many toxic tort injuries have to do with the way the toxin entered the body. This can happen through inhalation, skin contact, or ingestion, leading to:
- Various skin injuries, such as rashes, burns, or boils
- Lung diseases, especially those associated with asbestos or tobacco exposure
- Sensory injuries, such as injuries to the eyes, ears, or nose
- Various internal injuries due to ingesting or swallowing toxic substances through food or water.
- Leakage from surgically implanted medical devices is somewhat common
The type of injury resulting from toxic exposure will also vary depending on the type of toxin involved, and how long the person was exposed to the chemical or substance.
What Should I Do if I’ve Been Subject to Toxic Exposure?
There are several steps you should take if you believe you may be involved in a toxic tort situation. First, you should seek immediate medical attention for any injuries you may have. It’s also a good idea to get checked if other people around you are showing the same kinds of symptoms (such as coughing, rashes, difficulty breathing, etc.).
After you receive medical treatment, it’s a good idea to take steps to begin documenting your claim, such as:
- Making a file containing all your medical expenses, hospital bills, and medicine fees
- Create a written account of the events leading up to your injury or injuries (for example, if new paint was used at your work, or if you noticed different smells in the area, etc.)
- Obtain contact information from any witnesses, and from other people who may have been injured from the same toxic source
- Keep records of any work you have missed due to the injuries, along with the corresponding lost wages
Taking such steps will make things much easier if you do decide to file a claim or lawsuit with the court. These informational items may be used as evidence in court, depending on the nature of the claim, and the information you have recorded. There are also many toxic tort defenses, which should be studied in the event that a lawsuit needs to be filed.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Toxic Torts Claim?
Toxic torts claims can be very complex types of litigation, often involving many different plaintiffs and defendants. In such cases, it’s usually necessary to work very closely with a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer can assist you with various tasks associated with filing such claims, such as researching state and federal laws, organizing legal arguments, and analyzing information for evidence. Many personal injury lawyers specialize solely on mass toxic tort litigation.
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Last Modified: 06-09-2014 04:18 PM PDT
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