Toxic exposure occurs when an individual comes in contact with a substance which is harmful to the human body. Radiation exposure is one type of toxic exposure. Radiation is energy which is released from atoms from small particle matter or waves.
Radiation exposure can occur quite easily in modern society as many chemicals and tasks can expose you to harmful radiation. Excessive exposure to radiation can cause illness and injury. You may have a claim for damages if you have been exposed to radiation.
How Does Radiation Exposure Take Place?
One major source of exposure to radiation is through diagnostic tests. Diagnostic tests have been increasingly popular and because of this, more individuals are exposed to radiation compared to the past.
A typical individual’s exposure to medical radiation has increased seven-fold in the last thirty years. Ionizing radiation is used in imaging exams and it increases the patient’s lifetime cancer risk and can also lead to skin burns, hair loss and cataracts.
Also, radiation injuries may occur over the course of receiving medical treatment. For example, a patient may be radiated in the wrong spot or may receive too much radiation in one spot. Patients of varying ages and with different ailments have had these injuries and radiation injuries can occur in healthcare facilities for different reasons such as:
- Inadequate staffing and training;
- Failure to follow a good quality-assurance plan;
- Inaccurate calculations;
- Software glitches;
- Improper manufacturing of equipment;
- An unnecessary need to get clearer images; and/or
- Exposure to a high dose of radiation at one time.
What is Radiation Poisoning and What are the Symptoms of Radiation Exposure?
Radiation poisoning, which is also called Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) is a medical condition caused by excessive exposure. This exposure is caused by high levels of ionized radiation and the radiation permanently affects the cells in the body.
Symptoms of radiation exposure can vary depending on the amount of radiation present at the time of exposure and also on the length of the exposure. Also, the symptoms may not appear all at once but may become apparent over time and this is particularly true in cases where there is repeated exposure to the radiation. Symptoms of radiation exposure can include:
- Hair Loss;
- Spontaneous bleeding;
- Ulcers; and/or
- Bacterial, fungal and/or viral infections.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Radiation Exposure?
Certain parties can be liable for toxic exposure injuries, include those related to radiation. These include:
- Employers: If the employer exposed the employee to harmful levels of radiation by requiring the employee to perform certain tasks and procedures, then the employer can be liable.
- Manufacturers of Products: Individuals can be exposed to harmful radiation through the use of certain devices and technologies, particularly in a healthcare setting. If so, then the manufacturers of these products can be liable.
- Suppliers: Even though a supplier does not manufacture a particular product, the supplier can still be held liable if they did not exercise reasonable care to make sure that the equipment was safe to use.
- Contractors: Contractors can be held responsible if they improperly installed or improperly administered equipment which led to harmful radiation exposure.
- Property Owners: Building owners have a legal duty to maintain a safe building and they can be liable to tenants or visitors if they do not remove toxic substances from the building.
- If there is use of radiation in the building for business or other reasons, then the owner can liable for any harmful exposure to the radiation.
What are Class Action Lawsuits?
If a particular type of radiation exposure has led to injuries for a number of individuals, you may consider a class action lawsuit. A class action lawsuit is a legal claim brought by a group of individuals called plaintiffs. All of the plaintiffs are suing the same defendant because they have all suffered either the same or a similar injury caused by that defendant’s conduct.
However, there are certain requirements which must be met in order to bring a class action lawsuit. A court will consider the following factors before certifying a class action lawsuit. These include:
- Whether there are more than just a few individuals who are bringing the suit;
- Whether the plaintiffs adequately represent the interests of the whole class, whether they are competent and if there are no conflicts of interest;
- Whether the claims of the representatives are similar and represent the entire class; and
- Whether the question of fact comes from one act or a pattern of conduct by the defendant.
Should I Contact a Lawyer?
Radiation exposure has become more common in some ways because of the use of certain technologies but exposure to harmful levels of radiation can be quite detrimental to your health.
If you feel that you have suffered an injury because of excessive exposure to radiation, it is important to consult with an experienced and local personal injury attorney who can help you recover compensation and represent you in court if necessary.