Asbestos is a term for a group of silicate minerals. Silicate is naturally occurring and has been used for decades in insulation and other construction materials to resist heat and its strength.
Asbestos can be relatively benign, and studies have shown ingestion hasn’t produced injuries. Nevertheless, once Asbestos fibers are disturbed, such as during construction, they become airborne and are easily inhaled by anyone around them, often causing lung injury.
What Is Toxic Exposure? What Are Toxic Torts?
A toxic substance is something that is deemed to be dangerous to the human body, especially in specific quantities. As such, toxic exposure happens when the human body comes into contact with a toxic substance.
There are many different types of toxic exposure, which can occur in many different environments. Some examples of toxic exposure include, but may not be limited to:
- Exposure to chemicals in the workplace;
- Exposure to mold, especially dangerous types of black mold;
- Exposure to Asbestos;
- Exposure to lead paint;
- Exposure to toxic fumes from various activities such as welding;
- Dangerous chemicals in defective medications or drugs;
- Environmental contamination resulting from the release of certain gasses or toxins; and
- Soil or groundwater contamination resulting from the dumping of wastes and chemicals.
What Types of Injuries Are Common?
Because asbestos is a crystal, it easily tears into the lungs, causing scarring and making it hard for the lungs to process air. Typical injuries are:
- Mesothelioma, a specific type of lung cancer from asbestos
- Breathing difficulties
- Lung diseases, including cancers
Who Regulates Asbestos Removal?
The federal government, mainly through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has many regulations related to removing asbestos. Violating these regulations is a crime.
Many states also have regulations relating to asbestos removal.
Asbestos Removal Regulations
Federal regulations and many state laws require that all asbestos be adequately removed from buildings before being demolished to minimize the amount of asbestos entering the air.
It is a crime to violate these regulations. In most states, asbestos must be removed by a licensed professional. They must follow stringent technical procedures to stop asbestos fibers from entering the atmosphere.
What Is the “Wet Removal” Process?
Under many regulatory systems, asbestos must be removed using the “wet removal” process. This involves spraying the asbestos with water before moving it. This stops most of it from turning to dust and entering the air.
Infringements of these state and federal laws often carry weighty fines (often in the tens of thousands of dollars) and sometimes jail sentences lasting several months.
Asbestos Removal and Worker Safety
Many laws protect workers from being exposed to dangerous asbestos during the removal process. These include limiting the time and amount of exposure, forming regulated areas, providing employees with respiratory masks, and medical examinations.
What Problems Can I Expect?
Long-term asbestos exposure is typical for injury victims. Asbestos inhalation can take 10-40 years to develop into an injury. With that long latency period, issues such as statutes of limitation and finding the responsible individuals are familiar with asbestos-related claims.
Another issue is that your state’s laws may limit how long you can wait to make a claim. Statutes of limitations set the time limit in which a particular claim can be brought against a defendant. It is crucial to keep these statutes in mind, mainly because claims for damages must be brought within a set time. This time frame is typically two or three years after the incident happened for personal injury cases. Nevertheless, this can be longer or shorter in some states.
Are There Other Causes Of Action For Toxic Exposure?
Personal injury law addresses cases in which 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 necessary to prove in a toxic tort case are similar to those in a typical negligence case.
As such, you will need to prove:
- That the Defendant Owed You a Legal Duty: This is typically straightforward in toxic torts cases;
- The Legal Duty was Breached: Duty is determined based on the reasonable person standard, which considers how a reasonable party would act in the same situation;
- That the Breach of Duty Caused You Harm: The breach of a legal duty must have been the direct or proximate cause of the harm. Proving this can be largely complicated, especially if more than one party is potentially involved; and
- That You Actually Suffered a Particular Harm: This involves demonstrating that you suffered particular harm because of the defendant’s actions. To establish this, you will need to use different types of evidence, such as medical bills or evidence of missed workdays.
Personal injury lawsuits are not the only way someone who was affected by toxic exposure can recover compensation. An example of this would be how work-related injuries are not addressed through a typical personal injury lawsuit, even if the employer was directly responsible for the exposure.
Instead, these injuries are addressed through the workers’ compensation system, which all fifty states have enacted. A workers’ compensation claim is typically the sole remedy for injuries on the job.
Nonetheless, suppose the employee was injured by a substance such as asbestos which a third party manufactured. In that case, they may be able to bring a claim against the manufacturer of the substance in a standard civil lawsuit.
Class Action Lawyers
If you have a legal claim and you are worried you don’t have the financial resources to proceed, your best option may be to contact class action attorneys for assistance. Attorneys specializing in class action lawsuits can bring together a group of people with comparable legal problems and help them pursue a lawsuit.
Class action lawsuit attorneys can collectively represent groups of people, and filing a case can save you effort, time, and money.
What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?
A class-action lawsuit is also referred to as representative action or class suit. This type of lawsuit is common in the United States and happens when a particular number of plaintiffs sue one or more defendants on behalf of a group, class, or absent party.
Class actions were created to protect the rights of many people harmed or damaged, usually by a company or corporation. This fosters more awareness that wealthy entities can be sued.
Doing so means joining forces with other individuals to increase the possibility of gaining success in pursuing legal action. Another purpose of class action lawsuits is to bring widespread awareness and publicity to the underlying issues of the litigation.
Though standards may differ amongst states, this type of lawsuit is generally used to address allegations involving a large group of individuals. A class-action lawsuit can resolve all claims made by each class member, with or without knowing the extent of harm done to each member, as perpetrated by the same defendant. Carefully chosen class action lawyers carry out the effort.
Should I Consult an Attorney?
Asbestos injuries can be challenging to identify and offer unique legal challenges. To reiterate, toxic exposure is a severe hazard that can cause many different medical conditions.
An experienced class action lawyer can help you determine what rights you have under your state’s laws. A personal injury attorney can also represent you in court and file any necessary paperwork.