Accidental poisonings or exposure to toxic substances can occur in the workplace or on any public or private property where the owner is negligent in keeping the premises reasonable safe for visitors.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury or developed an illness because of a toxic substance an employer or property owner knew was dangerous, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses. We at Buttafuoco & Associates are sorry for your struggles. We know the best way we can help you is by protecting your right to compensation and filing a personal injury claim or joining a class action lawsuit on your behalf. Call us today at 1-800-NOW-HURT to schedule a free consultation with a New York toxic substance attorney.
What types of toxic substances are basis for an injury claim?
While mold and lead are two of the most common types of toxic materials, there are other substances that can inflict harm on your body. While not exhaustive, the following list provides more information on the kinds of hazardous substances that when used, improperly disposed of or not safeguarded from unauthorized personnel or the general public by the owner of the premises, could be the basis of a personal injury claim should the substance cause you harm:
Toxic Substance: Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that causes respiratory distress and, if too much is inhaled, can result in death. CO is found in combustion engine emissions (vehicles, generators, etc.), gas-powered furnaces and boilers, and even in tobacco products.
Basis for Claim: Harmful exposure can occur when gas-heated furnaces malfunction or when a garage is not properly ventilated. New York’s Amanda’s Law, which requires CO detectors in all residences with at least one CO source, was named in memory of Amanda Hansen, who died in her sleep from exposure to CO due to a defective boiler while sleeping over at a friend’s house.
Toxic Substance: Lead Paint
Lead was common in household paint until it was banned in the 1970s. For decades before that, it was a common cause of juvenile lead poisoning. Children would eat paint chips that flaked off from the walls or put their mouth on toys covered in lead paint. High lead levels in children can cause neurological and behavioral problems.
Basis for Claim: The City of New York Local Law No. 1 requires landlords to remediate lead-based paint in apartments in which children under the age of six live. Landlords who violate this requirement may be liable for damages related to lead poisoning. To hold a landlord liable, tenants must prove the landlord knew the lead paint was present and was in a state of peeling, and knew a child under six was living there.
Toxic Substance: Caustic Substances
Caustic substances are those that can damage organic tissue. They include strong acids and bases, such as sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, and more. Household cleaners (e.g., drain cleaners), pool chemicals, and industrial solvents may contain caustic substances. Exposure to these chemicals may cause respiratory distress, poisoning, chemical burns, and cancer risk.
Basis for Claim: Exposure to these substances is common in certain occupations. Only authorized, trained professionals should handle dangerous chemicals. For example, an employer who doesn’t provide or require proper training could be liable if an untrained employee mishandles caustic chemicals, burning themselves, co-workers, or others.
Other potentially harmful substances:
- Toxic mold (“black mold”)
- Pesticides and herbicides (dioxin)
What kinds of injuries or illness can I develop from a toxic substance?
Exposure to toxic or hazardous substances like those listed above can cause many health conditions such as:
- Chemical burns
- Respiratory disease/distress
- Lead poisoning
Who is responsible for the injury or illness caused by the toxic substance?
The basis of liability for these damages rests upon whether or not the owner of the property where you encountered the substance was aware of the hazard before your accident. Additionally, the building owner or manager must have had adequate time to remedy the hazard.
For a toxic mold claim to be valid, the mold must be medically and scientifically determined as the cause of your damages. Many toxic mold cases in New York fail because of inadequate proof that mold was the definite cause of the victim’s illnesses. Evidence in toxic mold cases should include identification of the mold type and quantify the victim’s exposure to the mold.
In cases of exposure to toxic chemicals or gasses, you must establish that the substances were uncontrolled in the area you encountered them, and you came in contact with them through no fault of your own. If the exposure occurred because of a mechanical failure such as a damaged gas furnace, the building owner owed his residents a duty of care to have carbon monoxide detectors functioning in their units.
How can a New York toxic substances lawyer help me?
When you file an injury claim for exposure to a toxic or hazardous substance, you must prove the extent of your damages. To do so, you may need expert testimony to support the extent of your injury/illness and how it will impact your income, quality of life, and long-term prognosis.
Evidence for your claim should include the following:
- Photographs or video of the area of exposure
- Witness statements
- Medical records connecting your injury to the exposure
- Proof of when the hazard originated and that the building’s owner was aware of the hazard
Speak with a Toxic Substances Attorney in New York
Collecting evidence and establishing negligence are difficult tasks when you are recovering from toxic exposure. Consider working with an attorney at Buttafuoco & Associates who can thoroughly investigate your claim, gather necessary evidence, and fight for maximum compensation. Call1-800-NOW-HURT to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.