Toxic Tort

How Does Toxic Exposure Occur?

Most commonly, exposure and resulting injuries occur when a worker inhales chemical fumes or absorbs chemicals through the skin.

While a single incident of exposure is usually non-threatening, prolonged exposure to chemicals can cause serious injuries.

Exposure is not limited to the workplace.

Individuals can also be exposed to dangerous chemicals in their own neighborhood or even at their homes without even knowing.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have been exposed to a dangerous chemical and suffered any injuries, you should contact an experienced toxic tort lawyer immediately.

If you wait too long, the statute of limitations on your claim may expire.

The typical statute of limitations lasts two years after you were first exposed to the chemical but can vary.

Chemical exposure lawsuits usually take two different forms: either as a workers compensation lawsuit or a personal injury lawsuit.

A toxic tort lawsuit can assist with medical bills and other damages.

Mass tort lawsuits are essentially the same as individual lawsuits, but allow all cases to be grouped together so that the attorneys and judge can address any common procedural issues initially – cutting time and costs for everyone.

Toxic tort lawyers help people who have been exposed to harmful chemicals.

They aim to educate workers regarding the hazardous conditions they may be working under.

In turn, they help them build solid toxic tort lawsuits to receive compensation for their personal injuries and other damages.

Table of Contents

Common Types of Chemical Exposure

At TorHoerman Law, we handle a wide variety of toxic exposure cases.

While we are not limited to these, our most common cases include:

Asbestos

The use of asbestos dates back more than 4,000 years ago but became more prevalent when manufacturers discovered its heat resistance and strength at the end of the 19th century.

Asbestos use grew through most of the 20th century until the growing concern of asbestos-related diseases forced asbestos to be restricted and phased out.

Prolonged inhalation of asbestos can cause serious and fatal diseases including:

  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestosis

According to the Environmental Working Group Action Fund - 10,000 people die each year from Asbestos-caused diseases in the United States.

Asbestos litigation continues to be filed on behalf of individuals who worked with asbestos and were not protected from the known risk of lung disease.

Pesticides and Herbicides

Chemicals used to kill weeds in our crops and insects in our homes and on our food products have been linked to serious side effects such as cancer and neurodevelopment in children.

The terms pesticide, herbicide, and insecticide are often used interchangeably but have distinct functions and meanings specific to the target that they aim to control or kill.

Insecticides are a type of pesticide that is used to prevent or kill insect infestations that destroy crops and plants.

Herbicides are a type of pesticide used to eliminate plants and weeds.

Herbicides can be:

  • Selective:  Destroying only specific types of plants.
  • Nonselective:  Destroying any plant that they come into contact with.

Currently, lawsuits are being filed against Monsanto for cancers believed to be caused by Roundup, their top-selling herbicide that is made with glyphosate.

Every year, farmers spray, on average, almost a pound of Roundup on every acre of cropland in the United States.

Roundup Lawsuits claim that Monsanto has known for more than 30 years that there is a link between the use of Roundup and cancer, yet failed to warn the public of the dangers.

A lawsuit has also been filed against the producers of a Paraquat, a deadly herbicide that has been linked to the development of Parkinson's disease.

If you believe you may qualify for a Paraquat lawsuit, our firm can help.

Diacetyl and Dangerous Flavoring Chemicals

Chemicals such as Diacetyl and other substitutes are used to produce butter-like flavoring in foods and have been the subject of "popcorn lung" lawsuits for years.

Diacetyl is a highly toxic chemical compound that is very dangerous to the people who work with it on a job site.

Diacetyl exposure can cause a permanent, servers and potentially lethal lung disease referred to as "popcorn lung" after the widely reported diseases found in workers in the popcorn industry.

This highly toxic chemical is used as a buttery flavored additive and can cause lung disease.

Diacetly can be found in:

  • Coffee roasting plants
  • Bakeries
  • Animal feed plants
  • Tortilla factories
  • Candy factories
  • Chewing gum manufacturing plants
  • Other flavoring manufacturing plants

Diacetyl lawsuits continue to be filed on behalf of factory workers diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, or diacetyl-induced lung disease.

Most recently, Juul and other e-cigarettes have come under fire for producing products with dangerous side effects and marketing to children.

The e-cigarettes have been accused of creating a Juuling epidemic that could put your child at risk.

And, Juul and other e-cigarettes have also come under fire for dangerous side effects, such as cancer or "popcorn lung".

If you believe you have been injured from the use of an e-cigarette, contact our firm to learn more about a Juul lawsuit.

Water, Air, and Soil Contamination

Unfortunately, most people are exposed to at least some level of water, air, or soil contamination in or around their homes or neighborhood.

There are a number of different reasons why these contaminations occur.

It could be anything from:

  • Self-inflicted exposure (not properly storing chemicals, etc.)
  • A lack of local infrastructure (bad public water filtration systems, lack of landfills, etc.)
  • Private business negligence (dumping the trash, releasing toxic fumes, etc.)

In St. Louis, a prominent creek called Coldwater Creek was contaminated with dangerous chemicals, causing cancer in the many people who lived around and/or played in the creek.

Common effects of water, soil, and air contamination include:

Metal Poisoning

Also referred to as “heavy metal toxicity”, serious side effects can result from exposure to metals like:

  • Lead (e.g. paint chips)
  • Mercury (e.g. Amalgam Fillings)
  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Manganese

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Generally, carbon monoxide poisoning happens at home and it is a common occurrence.

Exposure typically comes from:

  • Kerosene space heaters
  • Charcoal grills
  • Gas water heaters
  • Propane heaters and stoves
  • Boats
  • Spray paint
  • Solvents
  • Paint removers

A tenant who has been injured by carbon monoxide poisoning may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against his or her landlord in some instances.

Personal injury lawsuits against landlords are dependent upon state law.

Carbon monoxide poisoning lawsuits against apartment complexes and management companies that don’t care for old furnaces can result in large civil judgments.

What is a Chemical Exposure Lawsuit?

A person who suffers a personal injury as a result of being exposed to a harmful chemical may file a toxic tort or chemical exposure lawsuit seeking compensation.

Chemical exposure lawsuits usually take two (2) different forms:

  1. A worker's compensation lawsuit
  2. A personal injury lawsuit

More than likely, you will not be the only person injured by this chemical exposure.

In order to prove that the chemicals did, in fact, cause your injuries, you will need to prove that other individuals suffered similar injuries.

When a group of people suffers similar injuries from the same source, they usually file a mass tort lawsuit against the same defendant.

So, if you file a claim for chemical exposure, you will most likely be asked to join a mass tort.

Mass tort lawsuits are essentially the same as individual lawsuits, but allow all cases to be grouped together so that the attorneys and judge can address any common procedural issues initially - cutting time and costs for everyone involved.

What Information Do I Need to File a Chemical Exposure Lawsuit?

You should be sure to keep as much information as possible for your toxic exposure lawyer to formulate a strong case for you.

For a full description of evidentiary materials, refer to our evidence outline.

How Do I Choose a Chemical Exposure Lawyer?

A Chemical exposure lawsuit is a complex case that requires experience and extensive resources.

It is less important that your chemical exposure lawyer lives near you as it is important that your lawyer has experience in this area of law and the resources to represent you properly.

Generally, these lawsuits are filed against large corporations that have access to highly paid defense attorneys that will make sure the corporation is well represented.

You need an equal team working on your side.

And, similar to every lawsuit, you need to be sure that your chemical exposure lawyer is easy to contact and keeps you up to date on the on-goings of your case.

Consider asking potential representatives the following questions before making any final decisions:

  • How much will your services cost?
  • How will I pay? Are there any upfront costs?
  • Do you offer contingency fees?
  • Are you experienced in chemical exposure lawsuits?
  • Will you be available to contact me at my convenience?

Preferably, you want to find a chemical exposure lawyer who works on a contingency fee arrangement.

A contingency fee arrangement means that your lawyer finances the case out of their own pocket.

You only pay for their services after you have been awarded compensation for your injuries in a chemical exposure lawsuit.

Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

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