Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law

Environmental Exposure

Key Takeaways:

  • Environmental exposure over a long period of time can cause serious injuries and wrongful deaths.
  • Chemical companies and producers of toxic materials can be legally responsible for exposure injuries.
  • Environmental exposure class-action lawsuits can help injury victims take on big chemical companies.

If you are in a car accident, you can file a personal injury claim against the other driver who caused the injury. However, injuries caused by long-term exposure to dangerous chemicals can be more complicated. It may be more difficult to prove your injuries were caused by toxic chemicals in the air, groundwater, or in the workplace.

Environmental exposure can cause severe injuries, including cancer, neurological conditions, and birth defects. If you think your injuries were caused by exposure to hazardous pollutants, talk to an environmental exposure personal injury attorney for advice about your personal injury claim.

What Are Environmental and Toxic Torts?

A tort is a legal term for a civil wrong. Torts can be intentional or negligent. For example, if someone punched you, you could file an intentional tort claim for assault and battery. If a driver was texting and driving and caused an accident, you could file a tort claim for negligent driving.

A toxic tort involves injuries caused by environmental exposure to toxic materials, hazardous waste, or water contamination. Your injuries could be the result of exposure over a long period of time, or immediate injuries from a hazardous substance.

Examples of substances that may cause toxic exposure injuries include:

  • Asbestos
  • Silica
  • Pesticides like Roundup
  • Lead
  • Benzene

Chemical exposure to these toxic substances can lead to health problems including:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Leukemia
  • Lung cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Asbestosis
  • Silicosis
  • Brain damage

Environmental Exposure Laws

Environmental exposure is a huge area of personal injury law, ranging from pollution of rivers and water supplies, toxic waste spills, lead paint poisoning, and asbestos-related illnesses.

Pharmaceutical and chemical companies put a lot of money into lobbying the local, state, and federal governments to protect them from toxic tort litigation. The chemical companies have a team of tort lawyers ready to blame your illness and suffering on anything but the hazardous waste these companies put out into the environment.

Both state and federal laws address environmental exposure. Depending on the state, federal laws can be more strict than state laws in protecting the community against environmental exposure. The primary federal agency that monitors and regulates environmental waste and clean-up is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

What Types of Claims Do Environmental Exposure Attorneys Handle?

Toxic tort attorneys will identify who was responsible for your injuries. Environmental exposure attorneys will get expert opinions and determine whether your claim should be settled out of court or sent to a jury. After consulting with an environmental exposure attorney, they will decide whether to litigate, arbitrate, or mediate your loved one’s wrongful death or your personal injury case.

When there are a number of injury victims, your attorney may recommend a class-action lawsuit. A class action claim allows injury victims to use the power of the group to hold the chemical companies responsible for their pollution.

Proving Your Environmental Exposure Case

The burden of proof in environmental exposure cases is on the person harmed by the exposure. You have to show all the elements by a preponderance (meaning more likely than not) of the evidence. To win an environmental exposure case, you have to prove:

  • You were exposed to a hazardous material
  • That hazardous material caused an injury, illness, or birth defect
  • The alleged polluter is liable for that chemical exposure
  • You suffered damages as a result of your exposure, such as needing to undergo medical treatments

Proving causation is often difficult. You have to show that your injury or illness was caused by exposure to the specific chemicals from the defendant’s company.

Reasonable Environmental Exposure Damages

Damages in a toxic tort case are the losses caused by environmental exposure. This can include both economic and non-economic damages. Examples of environmental exposure damages can include:

  • Medical expenses for recent and future care
  • Pain, anguish, and mental distress
  • Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity
  • Loss of companionship if a loved one dies
  • Punitive damages

How Can an Environmental Exposure Injury Lawyer Help?

Taking on a large chemical or manufacturing company with an army of well-paid lawyers is extremely daunting on your own. But you have rights, and a personal injury lawyer experienced in environmental exposure claims is your best weapon for leveling the playing field.

Your lawyer can consult with medical experts and conduct their own investigation. They can also negotiate a fair settlement that addresses your needs or represent you in court if that fails.

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