Legal Responsibility for Toxic Exposure
In some personal injury cases, it's clear who is responsible for your injury. For example, if you are shopping at the supermarket and you slip and fall on a wet floor, it is likely that the supermarket will be liable for your injuries. But in toxic exposure cases, determining who is at fault for your injury can be much more complicated. The following list includes some of the common types of defendants who may be responsible for toxic exposure injuries, including manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, property owners, and more.
The Manufacturer of a Toxic Product
Because of a legal doctrine known as "strict product liability," you may be successful in bringing a claim against the manufacturer who sold a toxic product that injured you. Under the rules of strict product liability, a plaintiff doesn’t need to prove that a manufacturer was negligent, but only that the product it manufactured was unreasonably dangerous. In a toxic exposure case, even if fumes from a product cause your injury, the product itself can still be considered "defective." You can bring a strict liability action against the companies that designed, manufactured, sold or furnished the product. You can also sue the manufacturer based on negligence, breach of warranty or, sometimes, the manufacturer's intentional, wrongful conduct.
The Supplier of a Toxic Product
Even though a supplier or distributor doesn’t manufacture a particular product, the supplier can still be held responsible for your injury. As with most personal injury cases, the important question to ask is whether the supplier had a "duty of care" to prevent you from being exposed to toxins. Sometimes, this duty of care means providing adequate warnings and safety information. In other instances, it means not selling the product at all.
Contractors and Other Users
Your injury may have been caused by someone else exposing you to a toxic substance. For example, if a contractor is hired to remove insulation from your house, and the contractor negligently exposes you to asbestos in the insulation, the contractor may be responsible for any injuries you incur as a result of your exposure to the asbestos.
Building owners have a legal responsibility to maintain a safe building. If a building owner fails to do this, he or she may be liable for any injuries to tenants or visitors that result from the owner's negligence. Recently, some building owners have been sued for failing to remove toxic mold from their buildings. Building owners have also been sued for failing to remove asbestos in insulation, and lead-based paint.
In most cases, if you are injured due to toxic exposure at work, rather than filing a lawsuit against your employer, you will file a workers' compensation claim. There are exceptions to this rule, and you may still be able to recover damages against a third party, but you should contact a qualified attorney to ask specific questions about your options.
Toxic Exposure Injuries - Getting Legal Help
If you believe you’ve been injured as a result of exposure to a toxic substance, you should seek immediate medical attention. You may also wish to meet with an experienced toxic torts attorney to discuss your options and protect your right to a legal remedy for your injuries.