Pesticides are chemicals that kill or repel insects, animals, and plants that may damage crops, invade buildings, or spread disease to humans. While pesticides are meant to deter pests and problematic plants, they can have dangerous effects on humans as well. Sometimes manufacturers provide inadequate safety warnings with their pesticides or fail to test their products adequately before putting them on the market. When individuals are injured as a result, these victims may be able to bring suit against the manufacturer or seller of the pesticides based on a theory of product liability.
People can be exposed to potentially harmful pesticides in a number of ways:
Types of Pesticides and Common Symptoms
Three types of chemicals make up the vast majority of common pesticides. Each of these chemicals has a similar but distinguishable set of health effects that can from exposure:
Product Liability and Pesticides
People who are exposed to harmful pesticides and suffer adverse health effects may be able to recover damages for their injuries under product liability law. Pesticide manufacturers must take precautions, such as properly testing their pesticides, in order to prevent users from suffering injuries through the normal use of their products. When pesticides turn out to be more harmful than expected, and consumers suffer injuries as a result, the manufacturers may be liable for negligence for not fulfilling this duty. In such cases, injured consumers may be able to recover damages related to their injuries.
Even if manufacturers know all of the health risks involved, they must give adequate warnings to consumers about how to guard against those risks when using the product. These warnings must be easy enough to understand so that average consumers can adequately protect themselves from the pesticide’s potentially harmful effects. Manufacturers that fail to properly warn consumers about the precautions needed to prevent injury can be liable for a warning defect under product liability law.
Proving a Pesticide Product Liability Case
Individuals harmed by pesticides have two hurdles to overcome in order to bring a product liability lawsuit. First, they must identify the specific chemical that caused their injuries. This can be especially difficult for victims who may have been exposed to multiple pesticides or other chemicals, such as farmers who use different forms of pest control or factory workers who manufacture several types of chemicals.
Second, the injured parties must show a connection between the chemical in question and the specific health issues they are experiencing. This is difficult because severe complications, such as cancer, can have multiple possible causes. Additionally, serious health effects caused by long-term exposure to pesticides may not show up until years after the exposure occurred, further complicating a pesticide product liability case.
If you’ve suffered adverse health effects from exposure to pesticides, contact a product liability lawyer to determine your legal options. A lawyer can also help determine if you may have other legal claims in addition to a product liability claim, such as a claim for nuisance or trespass for pesticides drifting onto your property from somewhere else.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.