Toxic Tort Law
Toxic Torts Law refers to the issues associated with and caused by exposure to toxic substances, such as industrial chemicals, pesticides, lead-based paint, pharmaceutical drugs, and environmental toxins. It is a subset of Personal Injury law and often results in Mass Torts.
Toxic tort claims are brought by individuals and/or groups who have been exposed to dangerous substances and suffered injuries and damages due to this exposure. For a successful cause of action in most toxic tort claims, the plaintiff must prove the following elements:
- The substance was harmful/dangerous/toxic;
- The plaintiff was exposed to this substance; and
- The substance caused harm/damage to the plaintiff.
It is essential to show causation in a toxic tort claim, which can prove difficult due to the nature of these types of injuries. Often the damage caused by exposure to dangerous substances isn't evident for several years following the exposure. (See Asbestos and Mesothelioma Law) Moreover, it can be extremely challenging to prove that the substance in question is the causing factor. Therefore, these types of lawsuits depend heavily on science and medical records and studies.
There are generally five different types of toxic exposure claims:
1. Workplace or Occupational Exposure, where workers are exposed to dangerous toxins in their workplace.
2. Home exposure, where individuals are in contact with these substances in their places of residence, such as mold, mildew or fungus and formaldehyde-treated wood and carpet.
3. Environmental exposure, where people ingest harmful toxins in their drinking water or air.
4. Pharmaceutical drugs, where persons prescribed medication suffer from unintended side-effects which cause severe damage (See pharmaceutical law).
5. Consumer products, where consumers are injured or damaged by products with hazardous materials, such as breast implants, or tobacco.
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