What Is a Toxic Tort Case?

December 4, 2020

A toxic tort can refer to several types of personal injury claims that share one common characteristic: injury due to chemical or toxin exposure. Depending on the severity of the exposure and the type of dangerous substance involved, you can face significant hardship, including physical pain, financial loss, and emotional trauma. However, toxic tort claims provide a reprieve, allowing victims to claim compensation to aid in their recovery.

Types of Toxic Tort Claims

Exposure to a chemical or toxin can lead to serious complications. You may experience respiratory issues, develop certain forms of cancer, or suffer chemical burns, depending on the type of substance involved.
Common types of toxic tort claims include the following.

  • Workplace exposure: Construction and industrial workers may come into contact with toxins while performing their job duties, either at high levels for a short period of time or at low levels over a longer period. In these cases, you can file lawsuits against your employer or a third-party company, or file a workers’ compensation claim.
  • Consumer products: You may purchase a product that exposes you to a dangerous chemical. You can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor, and other entities along the chain of distribution. Pesticides, detergents, and herbicides are some examples of consumer products found in toxic tort claims.
  • Pharmaceutical drugs: Prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause unintended, painful side effects due to dangerous toxins and chemical reactions. You can typically hold the drug’s manufacturer liable for your injuries.
  • Home exposure: Toxic substances, such as mold, may be in the environment around your home, causing serious health issues when ingested or breathed in. Depending on the situation, you can file a homeowner’s insurance claim, or hold a third-party entity or landlord liable in a lawsuit.

How to Prove a Toxic Tort Claim

When filing a toxic tort claim, you must show that he or she experienced an exposure to a dangerous substance that caused an injury or illness. In lawsuits, you will usually need to prove that the at-fault party directly caused your exposure and subsequent injury in some way. In some claims, such as workers’ comp or homeowner’s insurance, you do not have to prove negligence to secure compensation.
Many toxic tort claims take the form of mass torts, or multi-plaintiff lawsuits against the same entity alleging injuries due to the same cause. In a mass toxic tort claim, you can collect compensatory damages for your individual injuries while joining a group of people who have suffered the same dangerous effects. This can provide several benefits, such as access to scientific evidence and expert witnesses to prove your claim.
However, toxic tort claims are complex. Since the effects may not arise until years later, proving that your injuries are the result of an exposure and identifying the cause of your injury can be difficult. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney with experience handling toxic tort claims, or who is currently working on mass toxic tort litigation you may qualify for, can help.
Your lawyer can utilize his or her resources and experience to identify the cause of your injury or illness and gather necessary evidence to prove your claim in court. Your attorney will also have access to expert witnesses who can provide testimony on your behalf. As soon as you believe you may be the victim of toxic exposure, contact a toxic tort lawyer to discuss your case.