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Toxic Torts: Chemical Exposure on Construction

What is a Toxic Tort?

A toxic tort is a lawsuit that involves someone being harmed by exposure to dangerous chemicals or substances. Even though the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has guidelines to keep workers protected from chemical exposure, chemical hazards are still one of the top dangers on construction sites. Here’s what every construction site worker should know.

Why Construction Workers are More Prone to Toxic Exposure

Every day construction workers in California must work with materials that pose chemical exposure risks. These chemicals, compounds, and toxic substances can cause life-threatening illnesses or injuries.

Toxins are absorbed through either direct contact or inhalation of toxic fumes and dust and can cause many illnesses, injuries, and life-long medical problems such as:

  • Skin irritation
  • Burns
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Neurological damage
  • Respiratory illnesses and damage
  • Cancer
  • Lung disease

Some of the most common chemicals found on construction sites that can cause harm are:

  • Asbestos
  • Asphalt
  • Formaldehyde
  • Fuels
  • Solvents
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Mold
  • Pesticides
  • Harmful metals such as mercury and lead
  • Paint
  • Polyurethane
  • Silica

Who Can Be Sued in A Toxic Tort Case?

It can be complicated to determine who can be held responsible for toxic exposure. Having a seasoned personal injury lawyer on your side can help to determine the people and entities that can be named in toxic tort litigations. The following are examples of who could be liable for construction workers’ chemical exposure:

  • Manufacturer or distributors of chemicals
  • Manufacturers or distributors of machines that expose workers to chemicals
  • Property owners or lessors of the premises where the worker was exposed to toxic chemicals
  • Manufacturers of equipment that failed to keep the worker safe from chemical exposure
  • Companies that stored the substances leading to exposure

Each toxic tort case is unique, and depending on the type of toxin, how the construction worker was exposed to the chemical, and the injuries or illnesses that he or she sustained as a result, can have the following exceptional circumstances that are common in toxic tort cases:

  • Proving causation - Tracing the source of the chemical or substance can be difficult, and in many cases, illnesses caused by toxin exposure can take years to develop. It will be necessary to weed out that the injured worker did not have exposure to other chemicals to prove that the illness or injury was caused by the chemical manufactured or distributed by the defendant.
  • Stale evidence - When toxic tort lawsuits are filed years after initial exposure, evidence may be difficult to obtain. For example, documents relating to toxin exposure may have been purged, or there may be obstacles in contacting witnesses to the injury.
  • Scientific evidence - Toxic tort litigation highly depends on scientific factors. Studies that link chemical substances to health issues can help your case; however, if new scientific developments are found, and the link to health issues is not as strong, it could negatively impact your case.

Were You Exposed to Toxic Chemicals? We Can Help.

Construction workers have one of the most dangerous jobs, and ff toxic chemicals harmed you or a loved one on a construction site, our San Francisco personal injury lawyers are here to help you seek justice.

Toxic torts are complicated, so it’s essential that skilled lawyers handle them. At }, our attorneys have extensive experience in protecting victims' rights who have been harmed in the workplace by toxic substances and will fight for your right to receive compensation against large corporations. When you need compensation for medical treatments or lost wages, you want to have attorneys on your side who will work for your best interests.

Contact Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn today at (415) 940-7176 to schedule a free consultation and learn your rights.

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