A toxic tort is a type of personal injury where an injured party is exposed to chemicals. The types of chemicals can vary widely, from more familiar asbestos and lead poisoning, to more obscure chemicals like magnetic fields, pesticides, and chemical exposure from work or home. Depending on where the exposure takes place will determine the remedy. If the exposure happens at work, then the injured party needs to get their remedy through the workers’ compensation process. Most other injured parties can go through the traditional court process.
Toxic tort cases can be extremely difficult to establish because in many cases the exposure has been going on for years. Typically the exposure is very low level and, after many years, will finally start displaying characteristics of injury. Because of the low exposure levels, those responsible for monitoring such toxins, like a landlord, may not have appropriate notice to remedy the situation until it gets extremely dangerous. An injured party may need to establish a history of injury over a period of time that is sufficient for the case. In most cases, however, the initial symptoms can be indicative of a variety of illnesses, such as headaches, muscle fatigue or soreness, and lethargy. Initially, parties may be diagnosed with other illnesses and may not make the connection until they decide to file suit.
The establishment of an injury is primary to the toxic tort case. In most cases, especially the bigger ones, a medical doctor is needed. Sometimes the medical records are sufficient but in more complex cases a doctor may need to testify. Sometimes, like in cases with magnetic field exposure, there may be a history of lawsuits or press highlighting the incidence of injury in a particular area. This can help immensely to establish causation when the medical file is not robust.
Toxic tort cases are different from the standard personal injury cases. One difference is with the statute of limitation. In most cases, the injury is apparent fairly quickly so the statute of limitation begins running almost immediately unless an exception applies. With toxic tort actions, in many instances the plaintiff is not aware for many years of the injury. The statute of limitation does not begin until the plaintiff is fully aware of the injury. By fully aware the plaintiff must also believe that the cause of the injury was the result of the actions of the alleged defendant.
In situations where many people have been injured by one defendant, it is best if it is handled as a class action. In many instances, courts will certify a class action when they observe the list of plaintiffs is substantial. Sometimes, being a part of a class action is the only way to ensure that damages will be available.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. In considering the statute of limitation this firm is not giving an opinion on when the statute of limitation expires. The statute of limitation requires a claimant to file a lawsuit by a certain date. Failure to file a lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitation bars a claimant from filing a claim and from being compensated. Hiring an attorney immediately will protect your rights. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured by a recalled product please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.