How to Sue for Exposure to Toxic Substances in Florida
Exposure to toxic chemical substances can lead to devastating injuries. Exposure to certain toxic substances can cause direct damage to your nervous system, your immune system, your skin, and other parts of the body. Depending on the extent of the injuries, you could suffer from life-threatening illnesses that develop over time. Miami toxic chemical exposure lawyer Prosper Shaked explains more about suing for exposure to toxic substances in Florida.
What Is a Toxic Exposure Injury?
A toxic exposure injury occurs as a result of having direct contact with a chemical substance or hazardous materials (HAZMATs). While some of these injuries happen as soon as a part of the body is exposed, others may take time to develop, and the injury will show symptoms years later.
A typical example of long-term chemical exposure is “asbestosis.” Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos particles. Normally, it takes years for the disease to develop and show symptoms.
Most of these injuries could happen at your house, at your workplace, and at other settings. These injuries can be caused by different factors, which we discuss below.
Common Causes of Hazardous Material Exposure Injuries
Toxic injuries can happen for many reasons. However, we will focus on the most prevalent causes of toxic or chemical exposure injuries.
If a defective product caused your injuries, you could be able to file a product liability claim against its manufacturer. There is a legal doctrine called “strict product liability.” Under this doctrine, a plaintiff does not need to prove the defendant was negligent. Instead, all the plaintiff needs to show is the product provided by the manufacturer was unreasonably dangerous and that it led to their injuries.
Therefore, if a defective product caused you toxic exposure injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one, you might be able to file a strict liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. You could also file a personal injury claim against the manufacturer based on gross negligence or intentional, wanton actions.
Every property owner has a duty to keep their property safe from hazard(s). If the owner knows about a hidden danger, fails to correct it, and such danger causes injuries, he or she would be liable for any damage caused. For instance, if the owner knew about a gas leak or a chemical spill but did nothing to correct it, he or she would be responsible for any injuries stemming from his or her negligence. If you were injured while on another person’s property, you can file a premises liability claim.
Chemical exposure injuries can also happen as workplace injuries. For instance, construction workers often work around heavy machinery and dangerous chemicals. The construction site supervisor and the project manager have the responsibility of adequately maintaining the construction site. Furthermore, they must provide workers with the necessary security equipment to promote safety in the workplace. If construction workers suffer toxic exposure injuries due to the negligent actions of their superiors, then workers could file lawsuits against them.
Filing a Toxic Tort Claim in Florida
Determining liability for a toxic exposure injury can be difficult. Compared to personal injury cases where the at-fault party can be easily recognized, chemical exposure cases might have more than one responsible party. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you may be able to file a lawsuit against a negligent landlord, a workplace supervisor, a manufacturer, or other parties involved in your chemical exposure injury.
Once you have identified the at-fault parties, you can sue through a toxic tort claim. A toxic tort is a legal claim based on harm caused by exposure to HAZMATs and toxic substances. Generally, toxic torts arise in the context of exposure to toxins in the workplace, exposure through pharmaceutical drugs, exposure through defective products, and other scenarios.
In a toxic tort claim, there might be different legal theories involved. For instance, there could be cases where plaintiffs file a claim based on strict product liability, while other victims file their claim based on negligence or fraud. Generally, in toxic tort lawsuits, the plaintiff must demonstrate the following elements:
- The substance was harmful and dangerous.
- The plaintiff was exposed to the hazardous substance.
- The hazardous substance caused him harm.
However, in negligence cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proving the following elements:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care.
- The defendant breached their duty of care.
- The breach of duty caused harm to the plaintiff.
- The plaintiff suffered damages.
Suing the at-fault party for your injuries in a toxic tort claim requires particular attention to detail and an exhaustive investigation. This is especially true in cases where the injuries arise years after being exposed to a toxic substance. A skilled hazardous materials exposure attorney can help you through the entire process.
Miami, Florida Personal Injury Attorney Handling Toxic Tort Claims
The injuries a person can sustain as a result of exposure to toxic substances could be devastating. However, you don’t have to face this trying time alone. Miami personal injury attorney Prosper Shaked may be able to help. To learn more about your potential claim, call The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked today at (305) 690-0244.