You may have heard people talk about toxic torts and wonder what exactly this means. The word tort is a legal term for an act or failure to act that causes injury to someone else.
Unlike criminal cases, tort claims are brought in civil court and are based on negligence. Succeeding in a tort claim requires proving negligence.
A toxic tort is a specific type of tort claim that involves injury or harm caused by dangerous chemicals or substances.
Many Texas residents work in industries where they could potentially be exposed to these types of hazardous substances, but you can encounter these substances in everyday life.
Common types of toxic substances
Examples of toxic substances include tobacco, asbestos, pesticides or any other type of substance known to cause serious health problems or death. Drugs prescribed by your doctor could also be considered toxic if they have dangerous side effects that you were not told about.
Proving negligence in a toxic tort case can potentially be tougher than in a regular tort case. One of the biggest obstacles is determining who to sue.
The proper party to sue may be a property owner, the company who makes the dangerous substance or the manufacturer of the substance. In dangerous drug cases, the party could be the doctor, nurse or hospital.
You must also prove that you were exposed to the toxic substance because the party failed in their legal obligation to shield you from it and that exposure caused your harm.
The challenge of proving causation
Proving causation can be the most difficult piece of making your case for negligence. Some health problems do not appear for years after exposure, so it can be hard to prove that the problems were not caused by something else more recent. Expert testimony on how the harm was caused by the exposure might be necessary.
Being harmed by a toxic tort can be devastating, leaving you with health problems you will never recover from. Legal action could help you recover compensation for some of what you have lost.