Toxic Torts: How to find the Right Legal Representation
Toxic tort cases can be long and drawn out, sometimes taking years to resolve. Because of the amount of time that passes, it can be hard to determine what caused the injury.
Asbestos plaintiffs find it especially hard because the exposure to asbestos was many years ago and they can’t prove with certainty what caused their injury.
You can end up dealing with conflicting expert testimony and scientific uncertainty in toxic torts cases, all of which can feel like a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo. This is where the right legal representation can make all the difference. Keep on reading for a full guide to exactly how you can find the right lawyer for your toxic torts claim.
What Are Toxic Torts?
Before we go any further, let’s discuss what a toxic tort claim is. As the name suggests, toxic torts deal with injury caused by toxic substances like pesticides, chemicals, and asbestos. When corporations don’t address these hazardous materials properly, they can leech into air, soil, or groundwater.
When people are exposed to these toxic substances, they can get various diseases or injuries as a result. In cases of toxic tort claims, many other people in the same circumstances can get similar injuries. These people, known as plaintiffs, come together in a toxic tort claim.
Plaintiffs will start a claim for financial compensation so that they are put in the same place as they were before the toxic tort.
Examples of Toxic Tort Cases
There are many different types of toxic substances that can result in toxic torts. Plaintiffs can get exposed at work, at home, or through consumer products or pharmaceutical drugs. Some examples of toxic torts include:
- Breast implants that leak silicone into the body
- Lead paint that causes brain damage
- Pesticides that can result in birth injuries
- Toxic landfill waste that causes leukemia or other terminal diseases
- Nuclear radiation leak from a power plant causing cancer
Asbestos is another toxic material. It’s a naturally occurring substance used in construction. However, long-term exposure to asbestos was found to cause respiratory diseases like mesothelioma. You can file a personal injury case against a company to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses.
Companies that use insecticides and herbicides can also result in toxic torts. A herbicide used by Bayer AG has been linked with Parkinson’s disease. As of June 2021, 116 lawsuits were filed, with the first trial in November 2022.
Environmental law or toxic torts cases can get very complicated and long-term. They can end up involving a lot of plaintiffs. That’s why the right toxic torts lawyer is essential to successful and smooth litigation.
What to Look For in a Toxic Torts Lawyer?
There are many lawyers and law firms dedicated to environmental law or personal injury cases.
It can be hard to navigate through them to find the right legal representation. To help you with your decision, keep on reading for certain characteristics and skillsets you should be looking for in your legal representation.
You want to find the right lawyer that treats you with respect and care. This is probably one of the most important elements of your litigation experience. Toxic torts are long-drawn-out battles that can take years to resolve.
You want to make sure that you’re comfortable with your legal representation. They need to provide a high level of customer service to take your needs into account. Without the right customer service, you can end up getting frustrated and tired of the process.
It’s already a difficult process. You don’t want your legal representative to be part of the problem. They should be the ones providing the solution and making your life easier.
The most important element in a toxic torts case is technical expertise. Yes, your lawyer must understand the legal side of things. But, they should also be aware of the technical elements of your case. This can include understanding exposure analysis or behavior patterns.
To be successful in a toxic tort claim, the plaintiff needs to show that there was a negligent release of a toxic substance and that’s what caused the damage. Proving that the company’s activities released toxic substances is not a difficult task. The problem comes in showing that the toxic substance caused the injuries.
This is where having the technical expertise can make a huge difference. As the defendant throws experts and technical terms at the plaintiff, the right legal representative can understand what is accurate and what is evasion.
Having some background in science or engineers can help them understand the nuances of toxic torts. They need to understand how chemicals can get dispersed, toxicology, and risk assessment. Keeping up to date on new technology and new methods of analysis can make them better assets.
Network of Experts
Even if they don’t have a technical background, they should have a network of experts to call upon. They will need to rebut the defendant’s claim by having their own experts testify on behalf of the plaintiff. Having a solid network of experts can make this task easier.
Having epidemiologists, scientists, or medical experts can help when you go to trial. Experts in the particular industry your particular toxic tort deals with will also be useful.
Record of Success
This is not always a sign of good legal representation, but you want to ask if they have had prior successes in toxic tort. Remember to take this with a grain of salt as the law firm may have successes but the lawyers that were part of the successes may not be with the law firm any longer.
The success and failure of a toxic tort claim are dependent on the facts and circumstances of each particular case. Your experience will depend on the particular lawyer who can help makes your life easier. Asking about the prior record of success can help give you some knowledge about their experience in the area.
Knowing whether they have experience on the plaintiff’s or defendant’s side can also let you know more about the lawyer’s expertise. Any experience, whether on plaintiff or defendant, can be an asset for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get more insight into their experience.
Your legal representative should be creative. Creativity can go a long way in addressing some of the complexities of toxic torts. Where scientific and technical expertise plays an important role, the goal of a toxic torts lawyer is to convince the jury.
Where a lawyer can think out of the box and come up with unique arguments, they have an advantage and stand out from other lawyers.
Strong Negotiation Skills
A lot of the work in a toxic torts claim takes place before going to court. This is during the settlement and negotiation phase. You want a lawyer with strong negotiation skills to help you avoid the hassle of going to court.
You want to make sure your lawyer is confident in their abilities. They will be going up against large companies with unlimited budgets. The negotiation and advocacy skills of your legal representation will help you make the best case and get you the best settlement possible.
No False Promises
You want a lawyer who doesn’t make false promises. Because of the time between when the injury took place and when it was discovered, years can go by before you start a claim. That’s why it’s hard to predict how a court or jury would see the toxic torts claim.
Winning is not guaranteed. Your lawyer should set out the expectations clearly, so you are not blindsided. You should avoid anyone who makes false promises or over-exaggerated claims of success.
Organized and Available
Toxic torts can take years and involve a lot of paperwork and other plaintiffs. Your lawyer should be organized in dealing with all the paperwork and deadlines. They should be available for the long-term and treat your case with priority.
Consider the legal fees and what options are available to you. You will be in court for years without receiving a penny, so your lawyer should offer different cost options to help you with your lawsuit fees.
At the end of the day, all of these factors revolve around the expertise of legal representation.
If you find someone with the right expertise like Courtney Lanier Sarofim, they can help you navigate through the complexities of a toxic tort claim. They can look over your situation to see if you have a case, and what the odds are of a successful settlement.
Interested In More Interesting Articles?
Now you know exactly how to find the right legal representation for toxic torts. You need someone with the right experience who is committed to your case. You also need someone for the long term who is organized and capable of dealing with the complexities of your case.
Check out our blog for more fun and informative articles. We have a whole section dedicated to legal articles for your benefit and interest.