How Does Liability Work for Toxic Torts?
Under California law, a tort is a legal wrongdoing that causes financial, physical, or other harm to someone, giving the victim the right to seek damages for the losses that result. There are many types of torts, including traffic crashes, slip and falls, and medical malpractice, as well as a specific class termed toxic torts. The definition of a toxic tort is a case where the victim claims that exposure to a dangerous chemical, substance, or other materials caused a medical condition.
There are certain requirements you must meet to prevail in a toxic torts case, and they vary based upon the theory of liability that applies in your case. Liability is a legal term that describes why a party should be held accountable for their actions. You can count on your Oakland toxic tort lawyer to determine an appropriate strategy based upon the facts of your case. Plus, some information on liability for toxic torts is helpful.
Strict Liability: Many toxic tort claims rely on this theory because you do not need to prove that a party did not meet a legal duty of care or engage in other misconduct. Instead of proving fault, you must show that you were exposed to a dangerous substance, and it was the direct cause of your medical condition.
Negligence: A company can also be held liable under the same theory of liability that applies in most personal injury cases. To prove a toxic tort based upon negligence, you must have evidence showing that:
- The at-fault party had a legal duty with respect to managing a hazardous substance;
- That party breached the duty of care, thereby exposing people to illness or disease;
- The breach of duty was the cause of your medical condition; and,
- You suffered losses because of the exposure.
Fraud: This theory of liability for a toxic tort involves serious misconduct by the party whose actions led you to be exposed to harmful chemicals. At the core of fraud cases is that the party knew about the hazards and had a duty to disclose them, but failed to do so. The most infamous toxic torts for fraud include such acts as:
- Concealing hazards from labeling;
- Promoting and marketing a hazardous product; and,
- Not including appropriate warnings about known hazards of exposure.
How Liability Affects Damages: In personal injury cases, you can recover compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and many other losses. However, with a toxic tort case based on fraud, you might be entitled to punitive or exemplary damages. These are amounts to punish the at-fault party, and they could increase the amount of your damages.
Discuss Remedies with an Oakland Toxic Torts Attorney
It is helpful to know the basics about liability in these cases, but you can trust our team at Venardi Zurada, LLP to handle strategy and other important tasks. To learn more about your rights, please contact our firm to set up a free consultation. An experienced toxic torts lawyer can meet with at our offices in Oakland or Walnut Creek, CA.