Most Americans don’t think twice about their daily routines and what they might be exposed to during their everyday tasks. Little thought is given to stepping outside to go to work or school or to entering that place of employment or education.
We rarely given a second thought to drinking that glass of tap water or walking through that hallway where workers are sanding, painting, or doing any sort of repairs.
Yet, all of those scenarios could expose us to environmental toxins. That’s not to say, of course, that we should stop living our lives to the fullest and become frightened of what’s around every corner, but we should be aware that if we have suffered some sort of injury due to toxins, we may have a right to file suit against those who caused our injuries. These are referred to as environmental toxic tort cases.
Quite simply, a “tort” is a wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to civil legal liability. In other words, this civil wrong can be redressed by awarding damages. Adding the word “environmental” means that the wrong is caused by perhaps toxins in the air or in our drinking water. Asbestos falls into the category of environmental toxins and, hence, an asbestos-related lawsuit is known as an environmental toxic tort case.
Statistics show that, throughout the 21st century, there has been a marked increase in the filing of environmental toxic tort cases, including those that are asbestos-related. In particular, a study by the Rand Institute for Civil Justice noted that in the early years of the new millennium, there were “sharp increases in the number of asbestos claims filed annually, the number and types of firms named as defendants, and the costs of the litigation to these defendants.”
Asbestos injuries are unique. That’s because asbestos is unique. When an individual is exposed to any sort of asbestos material and that exposure causes the inhalation of sharp fibers, which can allow tumors to form, it can take literally decades for those tumors – and any sort of symptoms – to develop. Indeed, attorneys who specialize in asbestos suits often meet with plaintiffs who worked with asbestos products 30, 40, or even 50 years ago!
Therefore, because asbestos was used mostly from the 1940s through the late 1970s, those who were exposed during the latter part of that era are just now discovering that they have been affected by that exposure. Hence, the increase in cases. Furthermore, by the time the discovery is made, many asbestos victims are gravely ill, diagnosed with cancer that has reached Stage 3 or 4, and are seeking help for themselves or their families.
In most instances, the exposure occurred on-the-job, so victims who’ve developed asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and asbestosis may be able to forge legal action against their employer(s) or the companies that manufactured the asbestos-containing materials that caused their disease.
The best way to ensure that you gather the most accurate information on toxic tort suits and that you file a successful suit is to consult with an attorney that is well-versed in environmental-related torts. Look for one that has long been involved in this type of litigation, ensuring that your suit will follow a time-tested track that can lead to receiving the compensation you are due.