While advances in technology have undoubtedly made our lives easier over the years, in some cases, the products, chemicals, medications, and pesticides we create can come with harmful consequences and cause serious illnesses in humans. In certain situations, however, individuals who become ill after being exposed to a dangerous substance may have grounds to pursue legal action against those responsible for their suffering. Known as “toxic torts,” these claims often come in the form of class action lawsuits filed on behalf of a large group of affected people in pursuit of varying damages, including lost wages, present and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life.
While toxic tort claims can stem from the use of pharmaceutical drugs or dangerous consumer products, a considerable amount of these claims are in relation to toxic exposure in the workplace. Employers have a legal responsibility to cover the cost of whatever accident or illness an employee should suffer in connection with their occupational duties under workers’ compensation. Additionally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to maintain a safe level of exposure for toxins and chemicals in the workplace. Failure to adhere to these regulations can harm employees and expose employers to serious legal issues.
Some of the most common workplace toxic exposure claims include:
- Asbestos: While the dangers of asbestos have been known for several decades, it is still used as an insulator in many buildings and in certain industries in the United States under regulations. Shipbuilders, insulators, plumbers, construction workers, janitorial staff, and even office workers can be exposed to asbestos, developing various forms of lung cancer that can sometimes be fatal.
- Benzene: Benzene is a colorless liquid that is a natural by-product produced during the manufacture of numerous different material goods, such as crude oil, resins, plastics, insulation, and pesticides. A known carcinogen, long-term exposure to benzene can cause serious medical issues, including lymphoma and leukemia.
- Lead: Lead is one of the most toxic metals known to man and can cause permanent damage to nearly all body systems. Since lead poisoning can have delayed symptoms, in many cases, workers have been known to endure long-term exposure without being aware that it has made them ill.
- Silica: Also referred to as “quartz dust,” silica is a naturally forming mineral that is found in nearly every type of stone on the planet. When ground into a powder, usually through drilling, grinding, or chipping, silica can accumulate in a worker’s lungs and wreak havoc on their respiratory system. Silica exposure is common in industries that use granite, rock, or any other type of stone.
- Talc: Research has shown that exposure to talc, the main ingredient used in baby powder, has been known to dramatically increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer or cancer of the fallopian tubes.
Orange County Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have become ill due to being exposed to a toxic substance at work, contact the Orange County workers compensation lawyers at Alvandi Law Group, P.C. today. We have recovered more than $300 million on behalf of ill workers and can fight to ensure your rights are protected. To find out more about what our decade of legal experience can do for you, call us at (800) 980-6905 or schedule a complimentary case review today.