What is a Personal Injury Toxic Tort?
So, what is toxic tort personal injury litigation? A toxic tort claim is a personal injury lawsuit where a person claims that he or she was exposed to a substance (toxicant) that has caused them injury or disease. These cases may often turn into groups of people that work together or live in a particular place who join together to attain justice for their exposures. Here each person brings their own individual claim, and these claims are joined as one large lawsuit. A Mass Tort is when a group of workers or individuals come together and make a claim that they were all exposed to the same toxicant. This can range from Lead, Mercury, Benzyne, Asbestos, Manganese, Dioxin, Radiation, Silica, and many others. Approaching toxic exposures as a group gives each person greater power in their proof and ability to demonstrate the injuries suffered. This is NOT a class action but a Mass Tort. Our goal at Joey James Law is to come together as a group and use the most advanced scientific technology to prove beyond a doubt what has harmed you or someone you love. Or, to discover and understand that poisons are not causing your problems.
Personal Injury Toxic Tort claims usually arise in one of these categories.
- Occupational exposure: Industrial workers exposed to toxins. This can be workers exposed to high levels for a short period of time or lower levels for a long period of time.
- Home or Environmental Exposure: Here you or a family member may have inhaled or ingested a harmful substance that found its way into your home, property, or environment. Many companies have released such substances and these negligent releases have occurred across this country. Typically, if it is happening in one home, it is happening in multiple homes.
How Does a Mass Tort Personal Injury Case Work?
Group of Individuals: You will be joining a group of others that contend they have been exposed and injured due to the release of toxic agents. Each person within this group will have differing interests and concerns that will need to be protected. Nevertheless, by coming together as a group, your case will be stronger.
Advantages in a Multiple Plaintiff Approach: Multiple people contending the same or similar facts as you will lend credibility to your statement as to what has happened. The more individuals with consistent fact patterns, the stronger your case will become. Multiple plaintiffs with similar complaints and injuries will lend support to your story of injury and life impact. Sharing your medical information and problems with others will lend credibility to the claim of injury by the entire group, thus, making the case stronger. Experts may be able to draw medical data opinions based upon multiple injuries. This multiple injury approach can lend added strength to the experts' opinions regarding your injury. Further, experts may be able to collect medical data of multiple individuals. This could strengthen your case.
All for One and One for All: By agreeing to a Mass Tort approach, you will join with others to use the number of individuals to increase the power of the evidence you may present.
Property Damage Toxic Tort
What is a Property Damage Toxic Tort?
For over 100 years industrial facilities in this country had no perceived or actual responsibility regarding the poisons they dumped into the air, water or soil. The result of this conduct is that there are 1000's of contaminated sites creating toxic exposures in adjoining communities. These toxins, while transferring to adjoining property create exposure hazards to those living in these and adjacent communities. In some of these communities, technologies enable us to prove exposure and injury. We have addressed these situations in the personal injury section. Nevertheless, there are exposed communities wherein exposure and injury cannot yet be proven. In these situations, Property Damage Claims should be made.
Through such legal effort's compensation for the reduction in property values can be achieved. Just as important, through these efforts' remediation measures can be sought to stop or slow the migration of the toxicant, thereby, achieving benefit for the entire community. Upon collection of data and other evidence, the site will be assessed for contamination and market value reduction. Once the market analysis has been completed a property damage gridding system will be created to implement compensation payments for the loss of value to both private and commercial property owners. These methods plans will be submitted to the Corporate Responsible Parties and demand for resolution will be made. If resolution can be achieved, a referee (Special Master) will be appointed by an appropriate court to administer the payment gridding system.
If the Responsible Parties are unwilling to reasonably resolve the matter, then a Civil Action will be filed. This Civil Action will be what is known as a Class Action Case. Representatives of the community will be selected and approved by the Court to serve as representatives of all affected. These Representatives will prosecute a case for all members of the class. Class members are defined as property owners within the affected area that choose to participate in the Civil Action. If the matter cannot be resolved, then a trial will be held wherein a jury will determine the loss of value that shall be applied to all subject property. Once a determination is made regarding the loss to property, then, the Referee appointed by the Court will administer any settlement.
How can you better help your family?
The key to helping those you love is to help figure out what is making them sick. Many individuals feel overwhelmed by their sickness or the sickness of someone they love. The following are just a few steps you may take to begin your journey to better understand what is happening.
- Become aware of those chemical compounds that are being emitted from a facility close to your home. Each state has an Environmental Agency (State EPA), and this agency has a list of the chemicals being released from every plant in the state. These are called Release Inventories. Reach out to your state agency and find out what the plants around your home are releasing. Also, many communities have environmental leaders that will have already compiled this information. See if your community has such a group. Many such groups have websites or Facebook pages. If so, you can start there. Most of your discovery work will have already been done.
- Once you understand the chemicals being emitted into your community you can learn about what they do. Research these Chemicals and try to get an understanding of what the potential adverse physical effects can be. At this point, you will need to communicate this potential exposure to your healthcare providers. Unfortunately, most community healthcare providers do not have the appropriate training or knowledge of toxicology to offer an opinion of whether this exposure has any relation to the physical problems suffered by you or your family member. Nonetheless, it is important that you provide all healthcare providers with as much information as you can. Try and find out if there are any healthcare providers that have experience with treating individuals having similar exposures. If so, try to be seen by them.
- Now that you know what potential exposures you or your loved ones may have suffered you can begin your journey of understanding what is truly happening.
Why hasn't the government prevented toxic injuries?
The simple reality is money. As science has developed, our Government has created rules regarding chemical poisoning. When science tells us something is bad, the government is slow to react, but it eventually does get around to setting rules on exposure. Even though it may set rules and regulations, this does not mean that there is enough money to monitor companies as they continue to release these chemicals. The simple reality is on many occasions releases go unmonitored for years, or even decades. These toxic exposures are occurring all over the United States and until a larger commitment is made it will be left to those who suffer to do something about their exposures.
How were companies allowed to do this?
Over the past 100 years companies have released their toxic waste into our communities. It was only until the late 1980s and 1990s that EPA and other agencies began to take an active role in investigating sites that were clearly presenting a threat to community health. Even with these efforts agencies were hampered by political and economic pressures. Only a select few of the most hazardous sites have been monitored and a “clean up” implemented to reduce community exposures. The sad reality is, little has been done to evaluate and understand the toxic exposures and injuries resulting from these corporate contaminations. It is the mission of Joey James Law to help in figuring out what is poisoning our communities and how families can be helped.
Health Science Technologies
How is technology changing the landscape of Toxic Torts?
To understand if a chemical is poisoning you, we must see evidence that the toxicant has been in your body. Just because you are exposed and you are sick does not prove that the chemical has harmed you or that the chemical is causing the health problems you are experiencing. Over the past 100 years this evaluation has been performed by toxicologists through the medical diagnosis process. This diagnostic process is very difficult and complex, much different than if you have broken your leg. After the break, the doctor takes an x-ray. He will evaluate that x-ray and determine if it is broken.
In many cases, with a toxicant you cannot look at a picture or report and see the damage. In the past the only way to prove that you were being poisoned was through the opinion of a qualified toxicologist. Now technology in medical diagnostics is exploding. With this technological growth we now have tests and methods that allow us to look inside the cell. We can now look and see deeper than ever before. With these new technologies we can begin to see and understand the effects of chemicals that are assaulting the body. Each case is different. Some we will be able to use these techniques and in others we will not. Nevertheless, science is expanding every day and improving our ability to prove toxic injury.
The Joey James Law Firm is pulling together these new technologies to create tests that will show when people are exposed and poisoned. Looking to DNA and Molecular diagnostic techniques, toxicologists can now look inside the body in ways never known before. These new methods allow us to prove poisoning where for years there were no tests that could identify what was happening. Using these technologies, this firm will bring hope to families that have been wrongfully exposed and provide vital information to healthcare providers attempting to treat those harmed. Not only is it our mission to help individuals, it is also our mission to help communities and to generally improve lives of those families within these communities.
What do advancements in Technologies mean for injured people?
With these new technologies, we can now evaluate samples at a much deeper level. We may sample the air, water, soil and household materials. In addition, we may take samples of human saliva, urine, blood, hair, nails or tissues. Applying the latest technologies our team can develop and understand chemical contamination in ways that was unimaginable only a few years ago. Using these technologies, the Joey James Law Firm can build the legal proof that is required where only years ago such proof was unavailable.