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Toxic tort

A toxic tort is a special type of personal injury lawsuit in which the plaintiff claims that exposure to a chemical caused the plaintiff's toxic injury or disease.


Different types

Toxic torts arise in different contexts. People are typically exposed to toxic chemicals from pharmaceuticals, from consumer products, from the environment, in the home, and at work. Most toxic tort cases have arisen either from exposure to pharmaceutical drugs or occupational exposures. Most pharmaceutical toxic injury cases are mass tort cases, because drugs are consumed by thousands of Americans, many of whom become ill from a toxic drug. There have also been many occupational toxic tort cases, because industrial and other workers are often chronically exposed to toxic chemicals - more so than consumers and residents. Most of the law in this area arises from asbestos exposure, but thousands of toxic chemicals are used in industry and American workers suffer a variety of toxic injuries from different industrial chemicals including injuries to the felopian tubes. Unlike the general population, which is exposed to trace amounts of thousands of different chemicals in the environment, industrial workers are regularly exposed to much higher levels of chemicals and therefore have a greater risk of developing disease from particular chemical exposures than the general population. The home has recently become the subject of toxic tort litigation, mostly due to mold contamination, but also due to toxic construction materials such as formaldehyde-treated wood and carpet. Toxic tort cases also arise when people are exposed to toxic consumer products such as pesticides and suffer injury. Lastly, people can also be injured from environmental toxins in the air we breathe or the water we drink. In recent years, ambitious lawyers have increasingly filed environmental toxic tort cases.

Differences from other types of toxic litigation

Pharmaceutical toxic tort cases are often litigated against drug manufacturers and distributors, as well as prescribing physicians. However, pharmaceutical toxic tort cases differ from medical malpractice actions because they are essentially product liability cases, the defective product being the drug. Occupational toxic tort cases arise from work but differ from workers' compensation claims, because workers' compensation claims are made against the worker's employer, while an occupational toxic tort case usually must be brought against "third parties," i.e., people or entities other than the employer - usually manufacturers or distributors of toxic chemicals or the machines or devices that expose the worker to the chemicals, and the owners and lessors of premises where the worker is exposed to the toxic chemicals. Some people also consider lawsuits claiming damage to real property to be toxic torts cases. However, real property contamination cases are qualitatively quite different from cases alleging toxic injuries to persons.

Common chemicals in toxic tort cases

•Dioxin/Agent Orange

Common diseases in toxic tort cases

See also

External links

  • Environmental Law at the Open Directory Project
  • Toxic tort at the Open Directory Project
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Toxic_tort". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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