Liability for Toxic Exposure to Environmental Substances

When toxic exposure to harmful environmental substances leads to serious or life-threatening illness or injuries, the victim may be entitled to compensation by pursuing an environmental claim. One of the important elements in this type of personal injury case is establishing liability. Personal injury attorneys in Long Island can offer assistance to injured victims unsure of liability and who wish to pursue a claim. 

Liability for Injuries Caused by Toxic Exposures 

The circumstances for each case will be different when it comes to establishing fault. One example of liability could be with a manufacturer, if toxic exposure was the result of a product containing hazardous material. 

Another example is a property owner who knew (or should have known) about a toxic environmental substance on his or her premises. Those who live on or near the property and suffer injuries as a result of the toxic exposure may be able to file environmental claims. 

It could also stem from harmful exposure at work. Although a workers’ compensation claim would address illness or injuries caused by work-related circumstances, a third party claim may be filed if another party’s negligence was the cause. Third parties may include a contractor, vendor, or other parties. 

Types of Toxic Environmental Substances That May Cause Illness or Injury 

When harmful exposure is the result of a dangerous or defective product, the manufacturer or others involved in the chain of distribution (retailer, wholesaler, distributor, supplier, and/or foreign company) could potentially be named in a claim. One example would be injuries caused by lead exposure and bisphenol A (BPA). 

Some accounts have linked BPAs to: 

  • metabolic disorders;
  • prostate and breast cancer;
  • low birth weight; and
  • infertility. 

BPA is commonly found in plastics, such as bottles and containers. If used in a product in which it is not supposed to be used, those who suffer harm may have grounds for a legal claim. 

Lead is banned in children’s toys and paint, for example, and BPA is banned in baby bottles and sippy cups. Patients who suspect a product of causing serious illness regardless of whether it contains a banned material should see their doctor and may consult with an attorney to explore possible legal options. 

Another example of a toxic environmental substance that could cause harm is asbestos exposure. It is most often found in homes and buildings in insulation and roofing. 

Asbestos can also be found in everyday products such as: 

  • paints;
  • adhesives; and
  • garden products. 

This becomes especially toxic when the material is disturbed; for instance, in a construction or demolition project on a home or building. When a property owner is aware that asbestos is in a home or building and others are exposed to it, he or she could be liable. 

Asbestos has been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma (life-threatening type of cancer affecting internal organs). It can also cause asbestosis, a condition affecting the lungs. This may include a variety of disorders and symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. 

Exposure at work to a substance such as benzene is another example where a personal injury claim could be filed. In this type of case it would need to be proven that a third party—such as an independent contractor or subcontractor—was negligent in subjecting workers to a high level of toxic exposure. 

This chemical is flammable and evaporates quickly into the air, which can increase the chance of exposure. 

Certain industries use benzene to make: 

  • pesticides;
  • plastics;
  • resins;
  • dyes;
  • lubricants; and
  • rubbers. 

Injuries can include anemia and damage to the person’s immune system. The severity of harm generally depends on how long the individual was exposed, if there are pre-existing medical conditions and the amount of exposure. 

Filing an Environmental Claim after Suffering Injuries from Toxic Exposure 

It will be important to discuss this type of case with personal injury attorneys in Long Island. This will help injured victims learn if they have a viable case, who could potentially be held liable and what types of compensation may be available. 

At Gacovino, Lake, & Associates, our personal injury attorneys in Long Island can handle claims involving toxic chemicals and substances. We may be able to assist injured persons with fighting for their rights following a toxic exposure that causes injury or illness.

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