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Toxic Tort: When Your Health is at Stake
“Toxic tort” was brought into the public light for many by the 2001 film Erin Brockovich, a fictional telling of the very real toxic tort case in which California company PG& E was found guilty of dumping 350 million gallons of toxic waste, thus poisoning the Hinkley groundwater and causing cancer in many of the town’s residents. A medical situation such as this that’s brought on due to exposure to toxic chemicals from your environment, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, or your work/home life can be considered toxic tort.
Cases like the one in the town of Hinkley may be brought about as a class-action lawsuit where many people benefit from the same claim. However, toxic tort can also be brought as an individual case. Let’s take a look at the ways your case might be considered toxic tort.
Environmental Exposure: Your environment can be compromised when toxic chemicals invade the water or air in the area. Toxins that are leaked, spilled, inhaled, or otherwise absorbed into your body can result in an environmental claim of toxic tort. Consider that these toxins may not even need to be directly ingested as drinking water – water is used to grow crops, fill swimming pools, used in showers, and used for drinking water for animals that we then eat. We can be exposed to toxins in a number of ways through our environment.
Pharmaceuticals: People can be exposed to dangerous chemicals when they use defective prescription drugs. These cases are usually brought against the drug manufacturer, the pharmaceutical company, and even the prescribing doctor. Examples of pharmaceutical toxic tort cases are Alka Seltzer being blamed for the drug causing strokes, Vioxx allegedly causing heart attacks, and Alpha being accused of their blood factor concentrates infecting hemophiliacs with AIDS during blood transfusions.
Occupational Exposure: Many industries have been found guilty of exposing their workers to dangerous chemicals thus causing toxic injuries. Since these workers are exposed to the chemicals for long periods of time during their work weeks, and possibly throughout an entire career, they are more susceptible to injuries resulting from these chemicals. For example, lawsuits have been brought by coal miners due to exposure to coal tar, construction workers due to exposure to asbestos, and power plant workers due to exposure to uranium.
Home Injury: Your home could also be making you sick. Exposure to mold contamination, pesticides, lead paint, and chemically-treated construction materials can cause high levels of toxins to injure you and your family, causing illness and/or death.
Toxic tort cases are a serious matter and, many times, don’t only affect just you but possibly your neighbors, your co-workers, or your family members. Newton Legal Nurse Consultants are specialists in the area of toxic tort and can assist you by recognizing this type of case, providing research materials to back up your claim, and working with your lawyer to present the base evidence for your case.