Q: What is a tort?
A: A tort is a civil wrong. Toxic tort cases are lawsuits filed by injured individuals against the people or entities responsible for the toxic exposure that injured them.
Q: What are common types of toxic torts?
A: Common types of toxic torts include dangerous pharmaceuticals, hazardous wastes, pesticides, consumer products and industrial building materials that contain harmful substances like asbestos. More information regarding toxic tort class actions is here.
Q: What compensation is available in a toxic tort case?
A: Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to medical expenses, lost wages and compensation for pain and suffering. Punitive damages may be available for situations where a person or entity engaged in deliberate or malicious wrongdoing. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish this bad behavior and deter similar wrongdoing in the future.
Q: How do I know if I have been exposed to a toxic substance?
A: It can be difficult to figure out if your illness or injury was caused by a toxic substance. Symptoms of toxic exposure can mimic more benign illnesses and often go undiagnosed for years. You can work with your attorney and medical experts to determine whether you have suffered from toxic exposure. Telling your doctor that you suspect toxic exposure may help lead to a diagnosis. There are also some rare diseases such as mesothelioma that are almost always caused by particular types of toxic exposure.
Q: What should I do if I have suffered toxic exposure?
A: The first step after experiencing toxic exposure is to seek medical attention. If the toxic exposure occurred at work, inform your employer and assert your right to a safe work environment. Consider filing a complaint with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) if your employer refuses to remedy the situation.
If you suffered from toxic exposure at home, remove the toxic substance to prevent further exposure. Contact an expert before taking action, however, as professional cleaning crews may be needed.
Finally, it is important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. There are deadlines that apply both to workers' compensation and toxic tort claims. Waiting too long may compromise your rights to compensation.
Q: What if I can't afford a lawyer?
A: Many larger personal injury firms such as Humphrey, Farrington & McClain, P.C., work on a contingency fee basis. This means that we cover the costs of litigation until our clients receive compensation for their injuries.
Q: What if I was exposed to a toxic substance a long time ago?
A: It is not uncommon to develop cancer or other illnesses long after exposure to toxic substances. The time clock to file a claim often starts running from the time a person knows or has reason to know that he or she has suffered a toxic tort injury. Consult with an attorney to determine whether your case is still viable.
Q: I received workers' compensation for my toxic exposure. Can I still sue?
A: Worker's compensation usually precludes a lawsuit against your employer, but not against third parties such as the manufacturer of the toxic substance. Some jurisdictions also allow subsequent lawsuits against employers that behaved maliciously or recklessly toward their employees.
Q: What if I don't want to sue my employer?
A: It is not uncommon to be hesitant to sue your employer after a toxic tort case. The purpose of our civil litigation system is to provide compensation for individuals after they have been injured by others. Exercising your right to compensation is often the most prudent thing to do, but it is important to remember that third-party claims against the manufacturers and sellers of the toxic substance are possible. Speak with an attorney to go over your rights and to determine the appropriate parties to any potential toxic tort lawsuit.
Q: What is a class action lawsuit?
A: Class action lawsuits are cases in which multiple claims are combined for the purposes of judicial efficiency. Class actions are appropriate when individuals have substantially similar claims against roughly the same group of defendants. Class action lawsuits are often more efficient because evidence and witness testimony do not have to be rehashed in multiple venues. The costs of litigation for both sides are also less due to the pooling of resources and streamlining of the litigation.
Q: What is your firm's experience handling toxic torts?
A: The attorneys at Humphrey, Farrington & McClain, P.C., have participated in many toxic tort class actions around the country. One of the biggest toxic tort class actions handled by our firm involved approximately 650 Joplin, Missouri, residents who were sickened after a manufacturer improperly disposed of trichloroethane.
The settlement in that case was around $12 million. Our firm has also handled many individual toxic exposure cases across the country. If you have been injured by a toxic substance, contact us online or call 888-353-0491 to speak with one of Humphrey Farrington's toxic tort attorneys.