Toxic Torts: The Legalities Behind Exposure to Harmful Substances
If you have been exposed to a harmful substance, such as a chemical or pesticide, because of the negligence of another party or another party’s failure to disclose the risks involved in dealing with a given substance, you likely have a legal claim. Toxic torts are a complex and growing legal field that have helped many people get the compensation they deserve due to hazardous substances.
What Are Toxic Torts?
A toxic tort is a legal claim in which a person sues a company/another party, alleging that exposure to a dangerous substance has caused an injury or illness to occur. Oftentimes, toxic tort claims are risen by multiple people in what forms a class action lawsuit.
Usually, a toxic tort claim will come about after studies come out linking a product or certain ingredients within it to a certain injury or illness, such as cancer. With this evidence, users of the product who have suffered a specific injury/illness will be able to make the connection in the event that they believe the product led to or contributed to their declining health.
Unfortunately, toxic tort claims are extremely common. In recent years, toxic tort claims have risen for gardening products, personal hygiene products, and even certain food products where studies have linked consumption, usage, or exposure to the item (or its ingredients) to negative health side effects.
Recent Toxic Torts
One of the most recent noteworthy toxic tort cases is the Monsanto lawsuit, which is still on-going. Court documents detail a man’s claim that long-term exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller can be linked to his development of Lymphoma. Jurors in San Francisco have awarded him more than $289 million as a result.
This case was truly groundbreaking and it came after the plaintiff was able to present multiple studies that have linked ingredients in Roundup weedkiller to increased risk of Lymphoma and other cancers. Following this ruling, a class action lawsuit was formed against Monsanto comprised of other individuals who felt they too have been put at increased risk of cancer due to exposure to the product.
Of course, not all toxic tort claims occur on such a large scale. For instance, an employee of a small business could seek compensation for a toxic tort claim if they feel the workplace has exposed them to a harmful substance that has harmed their health or put them at a higher risk of experiencing health issues.
Toxic tort cases range in size and caliber, but if you believe you may have grounds for a toxic tort claim, you should reach out to a professional for assistance.
What Are The Steps for Legal Compensation?
Getting legal compensation begins with filing a claim against the alleged guilty party. This could be a company, product manufacturer, employer, or another entity who you feel has put your health at risk due to exposure to a certain product or substance.
Generally, in order to have a toxic tort claim, you will need to be able to prove two things. First, that you have suffered negative health effects. Second, that those negative health effects were the result of exposure to a certain substance or that exposure to that substance worsened and/or contributed to the effects.
The latter is usually the hardest part to prove because the link is often not obvious at first glance, especially in cases where the negative effects occurred after repeated and long-term exposure to the product. For instance, it will be more difficult to prove the link if the health effects have happened over the course of months or years compared to one single event of exposure that you are able to pinpoint.
With that said, it is by no means impossible to get compensation for injuries caused by long-term and repeated exposure so long as there is evidence to back it up. In fact, this was the exact case that Dewayne Johnson found himself in when fighting the Monsanto corporation in the aforementioned lawsuit.
If you feel that you have a toxic tort claim, do not wait to seek guidance. At Smiley Injury Law, we can help you get the compensation you deserve for your illness and/or injuries. Reach out to us today and see what we can do to help.
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