Berylliosis is a lung condition caused by exposure to beryllium. It is often classified as an allergy-like response but may ultimately develop into a chronic lung disease after repeated or prolonged exposure. It is often involved in many toxic tort cases.

Symptoms of berylliosis include cough, shortness of breath, weight loss, fever, chest pain, and joint aches. Upon exposure to beryllium or its compounds, the person’s lungs can become hypersensitive, which causes granulomas (small inflamed nodules in the lungs). This can lead to decreased lung capacity.

Berylliosis is often confused or misdiagnosed with other diseases like tuberculosis involving granulomas. Berylliosis is sometimes called chronic beryllium disease (CBD).

When Does Beryllium Exposure Occur?

Exposure to beryllium often happens with workers handling materials that contain beryllium. These are generally manufacturing or production jobs where the individual directly handles or works with such materials. As a result, berylliosis is often classified as an occupational disease associated with such trades as:

  • Beryllium mining
  • Aerospace manufacturing
  • Manufacturing and production of fluorescent light bulbs, as these once contained certain beryllium materials within their coatings.
  • Various other industries which use beryllium in their materials

What If I Need to File a Legal Claim for Berylliosis?

Berylliosis can often result in several legal issues. For example, a worker may need to file for disability or workers’ compensation if they have been injured due to beryllium. In some circumstances, widespread cases of berylliosis can indicate negligence or a health and safety code violation on the employer’s part.

This may result in a class action toxic exposure lawsuit. Legal remedies for such claims may involve damages awards intended to cover costs from medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses.

What Is an Occupational Disease?

An occupational disease or an “industrial disease” is an injury, disease, or medical condition that a worker gets by working at a specific job or in a particular industry. Generally, a large group of employees from the same job or industry will all share comparable illness symptoms or injuries or will be diagnosed with the same work-related disease. Occupational illnesses are often a result of working in unsafe working conditions.

Workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits are often filed due to a worker suffering from an occupational disease. Work-related disease laws and occupational exposure laws exist to protect workers.

Regardless of their line of work, every worker has a right to a safe working environment. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration may help workers to understand their legal rights and options better if they think they might have an occupational disease claim.

What Is Toxic Exposure? What Are Toxic Torts?

A toxic substance is something that is considered to be harmful to the human body, particularly in specific quantities. As such, toxic exposure happens when the human body comes into contact with a toxic substance.

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 establish a toxic tort case are comparable 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. You could verify that another company would have complied more strictly with relevant regulations;
  • 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. Establishing this can be considerably complex, especially if more than one party is potentially involved, and;
  • That You Actually Suffered a Particular Harm: This involves proving 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 proof of missed workdays.

What Is A Class Action Lawsuit?

A class action is a lawsuit that one or more individuals generally bring on behalf of a group of others who are in a similar situation. Everyone must share similar legal issues, and there must be enough people involved that it would not make sense to bring separate lawsuits.

Further, the court must certify the class to bring an action. The court will consider the following before certification:

  • The plaintiffs must adequately represent the interests of the whole class;
  • There must be no conflicts of interest between the plaintiffs;
  • The plaintiffs must be competent;
  • The claims of the representatives must be similar and represent the entire class; and
  • The question of fact must come from one act or a pattern of conduct by the defendant.

Initially, a person or group will bring a putative class-action lawsuit against the defendant. The court will then decide whether to certify the lawsuit as a class action; when certified, the original group will represent the entire class action group and move forward as a class-action lawsuit.

Should the court refuse to certify the class, they will generally give their reason why. This would most likely be because they do not believe the class is complete, meaning that more potential plaintiffs could join the class to strengthen the case.

Any individual who may be affected by the class action lawsuit is entitled to receive notice of it being initiated. Included in the notice must be a description of the claim and information that they can opt-out of the class action if they wish to do so. If they do opt out, they must be aware that they will not be able to bring forth their claim in the future.

Because many class actions are considerably large, notices of class actions can be put in newspapers, TV commercials, or mailing lists. Depending on the circumstances, it is possible for a potential class member who did not join the class to bring forward their suit if they had no idea that there was a class action.

Are There Other Causes Of Action For Toxic Exposure?

Personal injury lawsuits are not the only way someone affected by berylliosis 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 generally the sole remedy for injuries on the job.

When a toxic substance affects many individuals, a plaintiff may not bring an individual claim but rather a class action lawsuit, as was previously discussed.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Unlike some other industrial diseases, berylliosis is caused by particular conditions and factors. Nevertheless, proving liability for berylliosis often requires the assistance of an attorney.

You may wish to hire an experienced class action lawyer if you need to file a legal claim for berylliosis injuries. Your lawyer can provide you with valuable legal advice and can guide you through the process of filing and litigating a legal claim.