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Toxic Substance

A Cook County Product Liability Lawyer Can File Toxic Tort Injury Claims

Toxic tort generally refers to a variety of personal injury cases that have a common thread. A Cook County product liability lawyer files civil claims or cases on behalf of the plaintiff, or group of plaintiffs, alleging harm from exposure to some kind of toxic substance – often a chemical. Some specific instances of toxic chemical exposure include:

  • Contaminated soil or groundwater when someone (or a business) dumps hazardous chemical wastes that leach into the surrounding environment
  • Contamination of air due to release of toxic gasses, either at a processing plant or accident involving a truck or train carrying hazardous substances
  • Chemical exposure in the workplace
  • Exposure to a variety of molds, such as dangerous black mold in a home or commercial building, for instance
  • Asbestos or lead paint exposure
  • Toxic substances or dangerous chemicals in medications or drugs

These are common ways that people can be injured by a toxic chemical or substance. In truth, there are so many ways in which these dangerous materials can cause harm.

Determining Liability for Toxic Chemicals and Substances

Injured plaintiffs can initiate toxic tort injury cases against a variety of possible defendants. Using the same examples previously cited; they can include:

  • Contaminated soil or groundwater: Negligence (or willful intent) can be claimed against the company responsible for dumping harmful substances. In some instances, it is also possible to bring a dangerous products lawsuit with the help of a Cook County product liability lawyer.
  • Contamination of air/environment: Avenues to compensation can be through a negligence claim or defective substance lawsuit against the manufacturer. If a vehicle or train accident was the cause of the release, the company transporting the substance can also be liable for injuries.
  • Chemical exposure in the workplace: A workers’ compensation claim could be the only mode of compensation for at-work injuries. But if the substance is transported to the work site, or there is asbestos in an old building, the injured worker may make a third-party injury claim against the manufacturer.
  • Mold exposure: Defendants can include a landlord who didn’t ensure an apartment or commercial property was free from mold. The civil complaint will likely be through a premises liability claim with the victim’s attorney proving negligence via the property owner’s inaction to remove the mold once duly notified.
  • Toxic substances in drugs: This is a straight defective drug case, though negligence on the part of the manufacturer for allowing toxic substances into their product will likely need to be proved.

Other Factors Governing Toxic Torts

The statute of limitations in Illinois for filing a toxic personal injury claim is generally two years [§ 735 ILCS 5/13-202]. But one of the unique properties of a toxic tort is that the injury may not be immediately discovered. Contaminated soil, groundwater or other substances such as lead or asbestos-related injuries often take many years before symptoms are known. So Illinois subscribes to the “discovery rule,” which basically states that the “clock” doesn’t start on the two-year statute until the victim knows – or should have reasonably known – he or she is injured.

Another challenge in toxic torts is the complications that can arise from many victims filing civil claims and lawsuits against the same defendant who is responsible for hundreds or thousands of injuries; usually in many states. Two “special circumstance” legal actions could govern your civil complaint. They are:

  • Mass tort – when a special administrative judge combines all identical claims into one giant lawsuit
  • Class-action lawsuit – when an attorney combines many identical cases into a single filing

Both are complicated, and you should speak with an attorney about the benefits and shortcomings of joining one or the other if either exist.

If a toxic substance injured you or a family member has been killed, Buttafuoco and Associates’ experienced toxic tort attorneys offer a free consultation. Contact us anytime by calling 1-800-NOW-HURT.