Proving a Toxic Case
Toxic tort cases are usually quite difficult to prove, because the connection between exposure to a toxic chemical and a resulting injury or disease is often hard to pin down. For example, some cancers may first develop 25 years or more after exposure to a cancer-causing chemical. Key facts that determine the success of toxic tort actions lay hidden right before your eyes in technical reports, analytical data, air modeling inputs and outputs, boring logs, ecological studies, mechanical integrity records, engineering specifications or technical drawings. In order to interpret the affect of a chemical in the body correctly, toxic tort cases often require consultation with several doctors with specialties in the diagnosis and treatment of persons injured by toxins, toxicologists, and certified industrial hygienists. Once it is determined that a given chemical is in fact the cause of the victim’s injury or death, the services of an expert in pharmacokinetics may be required.
Pharmacokinetics studies the way we absorb, distribute, metabolize, and eliminate a chemical. While the field of toxicology measures the effect of a chemical on an animal, pharmacokinetics attempts to measure the effect of the animal on the chemical. Pharmacokinetic studies also determine how much chemical is in the body when an animal is exposed repeatedly or continuously to a chemical, similar to a workplace exposure. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, pharmacokinetic data on the rate of elimination in humans, coupled with accurate analytical measurements and knowledge of the time of exposure, allows the calculation of the dose actually received by an exposed victim. An important part of a successful toxic tort case must measure the difference between exposure and dose. Exposure is the amount of chemical the body contacts externally. Dose is the amount of chemical that actually penetrates into the body, and the effective dose ultimately determines toxicity.
A plaintiff who proves that he or she was exposed to a toxic substance because of the negligence or carelessness of another is entitled to be compensated with money for all of the consequences of that exposure, including:
The cost of past and future medical care
The cost of necessary rehabilitation
Loss of past and future wages
Loss of earning capacity and related fringe benefits
Loss of enjoyment of life
Pain and suffering associated with the toxic exposure
Embarrassment, humiliation, and inconvenience
In all Toxic Tort cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the incident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of injury caused by a toxic substance.