What is a Toxic Tort?

A toxic tort is a particular type of personal injury lawsuit in which the injured person claims that his or her exposure to a chemical caused their injury or disease. People are typically exposed to a chemical substance from either pharmaceuticals, consumer products, from toxic substances in the environment or the home, or from chemical exposure at work. While there are different types of toxic tort claims, most toxic tort cases arise from exposure to either dangerous pharmaceutical drugs or from occupational exposure.

At Hartley Law Group, PLLC, we have handled a variety of different toxic tort claims, many of which have to do with our client’s occupation. Over the years we have handled countless occupational toxic tort cases merely because industrial and other workers are chronically exposed to toxic chemicals, and this is typically more so than consumers and residents. While a significant percentage of toxic tort cases arise from asbestos exposure which can result in mesothelioma, there are thousands of toxic substances used in industry, and workers can experience a wide variety of toxic injuries.

Industrial workers are unique from the general population because unlike the average consumer who is only exposed to trace amounts of different chemicals in the environment, industrial workers are exposed to much higher concentrations of chemicals and are therefore at a greater risk of developing a disease such as lung or blood cancer from exposure to particular chemicals as compared to the general population.

Workers’ Compensation vs. Toxic Torts

Toxic torts are not to be confused with workers’ compensation claims. Workers’ compensation claims are made against a worker’s employer, whereas toxic tort claims are brought against “third parties,” and these are people or entities other than the worker’s employer such as the chemical manufacturer or distributer of the chemicals or of the machines or devices that exposed the worker to chemicals. Toxic tort claims can also be brought against the owner or the lessor of the premises where the worker was exposed to the toxic chemicals.

Common chemicals in toxic tort cases include: asbestos, benzene, beryllium, dioxins, manganese, PCBs, pesticides and silica. Some of the diseases in toxic tort cases include mesothelioma, Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, lymphoma and many more. If you or someone you love has suffered injury or illness due to chemical exposure, we urge you to contact a West Virginia personal injury attorney from our firm to schedule a free case evaluation.

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