Toxic exposure is a type of injury caused by coming into contact with a harmful substance such as asbestos, lead, formaldehyde, radiation, arsenic, or ammonia. Harmful exposure to certain chemicals and other dangerous substances can lead to a variety of problems, such as respiratory issues, cancer, severe burns, and more. Toxic exposure can occur over a long period of time (such as regularly working with asbestos in the construction industry for decades) or due to a sudden accident.
Examples of toxic exposure include:
- Defective cleaning products that cause users harm
- Lead paint and asbestos in old houses
- Dangerous chemicals found in drinking water
- Accidents involving dangerous chemicals at workplaces such as factories
Fortunately, those who have suffered from toxic exposure at work can file a workers’ compensation claim to receive medical benefits to treat the injury or illness that resulted. However, to have a personal injury claim for toxic exposure, you must be able to determine who was responsible for your accident.
Determining Liability in a Toxic Exposure Case
It is often obvious who is liable for a victim’s injury in personal injury cases involving common accidents such as car crashes. For instance, if you are driving and obeying all the rules of the road and suddenly a car strikes you from behind, the other driver will be liable for your injuries. Not all car accidents are this clear cut, of course, but between the prevalence of camera phones, surveillance cameras, and other drivers who can act as witnesses, usually there is enough evidence to quickly prove who is responsible for a motor vehicle collision.
In toxic exposure cases, however, determining responsibility can be far more complex. There could be a number of potential defendants (individuals or companies who are responsible) who may be legally liable for your injuries and finding out who or what it is can be a challenge.
Here are several examples of defendants who may be held liable for toxic exposure injuries:
- Manufacturer of the toxic chemical: You can file a strict liability lawsuit against the creators (designers or manufacturers) of a product by proving the product was unreasonably hazardous—as opposed to proving that a manufacturer was negligent. The manufacturer can be sued for negligence, breach of warranty, or even wrongful conduct.
- Distributor of a toxic product: The supplier has a “duty of care” to prevent and protect you from harmful toxins. This duty of care can mean providing proper warnings and instructions on safety, as well as not selling the product if it's too dangerous.
- Property owners: Owners of buildings are legally responsible for maintaining a safe space. Property owners may be responsible for harming tenants and visitors which are caused by the owner’s negligence, such as failure to remove asbestos or toxic mold found in insulation.
- Contractors: Contractors may expose you to toxic substances such as one who exposes you to asbestos when removing insulation from your home.
- Employers: If you are injured due to toxic exposure at the workplace, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
If you are unsure of who is responsible for you or your loved one’s toxic exposure, consulting with a lawyer can help. An experienced toxic exposure attorney understands who to investigate such accidents to determine liability.
If you have suffered an injury caused by the negligence of another party in Southern California, request a free consultation with our Pasadena toxic exposure lawyers today. Contact us here to get started.