If you suffered an injury or illness from exposure to toxic chemicals, you might be entitled to compensation. The Florida personal injury lawyers of Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. could represent you and provide the legal services you need to hold the negligent party liable for their actions. You should not be forced to pay for the expenses you incurred if your actions didn’t contribute to the dangerous incident.
Toxic chemicals can cause significant medical issues to anyone exposed to them. They’re a health hazard and pose a risk of injury and illness. Unfortunately, most people don’t immediately realize the consequences of being around these harmful substances. Signs of exposure might not be apparent, and it could take years for someone to develop any symptoms.
At Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A., our Florida toxic exposure lawyers understand the trauma you experienced and the painful recovery ahead. You might need hospitalization, prescription drugs, and other forms of treatment to heal your injury or manage your medical condition. The costs can reach thousands of dollars and lead to massive debt. We are ready to fight by your side for the justice and compensation you deserve.
Call Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. at 561.689.8180 for a free consultation to discuss the incident and learn how we can help.
People at a Higher Risk of Toxic Exposure
Specific individuals are at an increased risk of being exposed to toxic chemicals than others. Mainly, people encountering these dangerous substances work in certain job industries.
The most common people at risk of toxic exposure include:
- Sanitation workers
- Construction workers
- Oil rig workers
- Medical providers
- Refinery employees
- Manufacturing staff
- Commercial painters
- Maritime employees
- Auto repair employees
Other groups of people can also come in contact with toxic substances and sustain an injury or illness. If you were exposed to a dangerous chemical and now require medical treatment, you should contact Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. immediately to learn about your legal options.
Common Injuries and Conditions Caused by Toxic Exposure
Exposure to toxic chemicals, whether through ingestion, inhalation, or skin contact, can result in a range of illnesses, injuries, cancers, and other medical problems. The most common include:
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Damage to lungs and other organs
- Lung-related diseases
- Lead poisoning
- Kidney cancer
- Chemical burns
- Brain damage
- Vision loss
- Asthma and other respiratory issues
- Kidney failure
- Throat injuries
- Nerve damage
- Birth defects
- Female reproductive problems
Any complications from exposure to toxic chemicals can have long-term consequences. Some people become disabled from their injuries or suffer ongoing symptoms. Others recover entirely from their physical injuries but end up with psychological trauma from the incident. Depression and anxiety are also common after scenarios involving toxic exposure.
Common Types of Toxic Exposure
Harmful substances typically involved in exposure injuries and diseases are:
- Hydrogen sulfide
- Carbon monoxide
- Welding fumes
Hydrogen Sulfide Exposure
Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas with a strong, pungent odor. It can become a hazard in high concentrations. It’s a naturally occurring gas found in volcanoes, well water, manure pits, sewers, and gas wells, but it can also be found in various occupations. Hydrogen sulfide commonly exists at industrial plants, oil rigs, and other areas where gas and oil refinery occurs.
Prolonged exposure can lead to a range of symptoms, such as:
- Eye irritation
- Respiratory problems
Working in confined spaces, such as tunnels or manholes, or an area with poor ventilation can cause this gas to build up in high concentrations.
Toluene is a colorless liquid with a sweet odor that vaporizes upon exposure to room temperature air. This chemical can be found in everyday products used at home or work. Examples include:
- Nail polish
- Printing ink
- Metal cleaner
Exposure often occurs on construction sites, in auto repair shops, and in woodworking facilities. The skin could absorb the chemical, or you could accidentally ingest or inhale it.
Symptoms vary depending on how much you are exposed to toluene. The warning signs of short-term exposure include:
- Cracked or dry skin
- Nose, throat, and eye irritation
- Anxiety or confusion
The warning signs of long-term exposure are:
- Trouble sleeping
- Slow reaction
- Feet or hand numbness
- Pregnancy loss
- Damage to a female’s reproductive system
Workers in cement, construction, and textile industries typically use asbestos while performing their job-related tasks. When the microscopic particles that form from these minerals are inhaled, they pose the risk of causing damage to the lungs, cancer as well as other related conditions.
Benzene is a colorless and sweet-smelling liquid used in manufacturing and industrial processes. It’s often found in refineries and petrochemical plants in large quantities, and commonly used by companies while manufacturing dyes, plastics, rubber, and pesticides.
A person could ingest or inhale the chemical, or suffer exposure from direct \skin contact. Smokers may also be exposed to the chemical through cigarette smoke, though its low quantity does not suggest it to be a cause for concern. With this said, prolonged and long-term exposure to benzene is dangerous and can lead to different forms of blood cancer, such as leukemia.
Cadmium is an element found in the Earth’s crust. Its most common uses are as a pigment in coating or paints and electrode components in alkaline batteries.
Exposure can cause severe diseases, such as prostate cancer and lung cancer. Individuals likely to come in contact with cadmium include:
- Landfill workers
- Waste collectors
- Battery manufacturers
- Employees at recycling plants
Anhydrous ammonia is a colorless gas with a strong odor. Its most common use is for creating agricultural fertilizers. High concentrations can cause irritation and burns. Symptoms that indicate dangerous exposure to ammonia include:
- Throat, eye, nose, and mouth irritation
- Burn injuries to the skin
- Severe dehydration
- Difficulty breathing
If ingested, ammonia can cause corrosion of the stomach, mouth lining, or throat.
Toxic Exposure from the Environment
You don’t have to work in a high-risk industry to encounter toxic chemicals. Environmental exposure commonly causes injuries and illnesses to the general public. Water and air pollution, oil spills, and a range of other factors can lead to toxic exposure.
An explosion, fire, or catastrophic accident at an offshore oil rig can dump significant amounts of oil into the ocean. The chemicals found on these rigs can make their way into waterways used for drinking water and cause harm to those who ingest it. A person who ingests contaminated water, inhales toxic fumes from the explosion, or directly contacts the harmful substances with their body can suffer injury, disease, or death.
Various industries near a town’s water supply can contaminate drinking water with the toxic chemicals used on the job site. Dangerous substances can make their way into rivers, streams, and other bodies of water. If someone drinks water from their sink faucet, they could ingest toxins and bacteria that damage internal organs, cause debilitating symptoms, and cause cancer to develop.
Possible Compensation in a Toxic Exposure Case
If you were exposed to toxic chemicals and sustained an injury or developed an illness, you could pursue a lawsuit against the responsible party. A person, company, or multiple parties could have contributed to the incident, causing harm to you and others.
You probably suffered different losses from the exposure. The compensation you receive could cover these losses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Damage to personal property
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
If you choose to file a lawsuit, you could also seek punitive damages. This financial award is meant to punish the defendant instead of compensating the victim for their losses. You must show the jury clear and convincing evidence of the at-fault party’s gross negligence or intentional misconduct to receive punitive damages.
Deadline to File a Lawsuit in Florida
You must adhere to a specific timeframe if you want to sue the negligent party for exposing you to toxic chemicals. This timeframe is known as a statute of limitations. Every state enforces these statutes based on the type of case a plaintiff pursues.
Florida has a four-year statute of limitations for toxic tort cases. That means you would have four years from the date of the exposure to file your lawsuit.
Unfortunately, many victims don’t know they have been exposed or discover the negative effects of being exposed until years later. If you realize your cancer diagnosis or another medical problem resulted from your exposure to a harmful substance after the four-year statute passes, you might still have time to file your lawsuit under the discovery rule. Instead of the timeframe starting on the date of the incident, it would begin on the date you knew or should have known about the harm you suffered from toxic exposure.
However, using the discovery rule to extend the statute requires filing a motion with the court. This is a complicated procedure that you should allow an attorney to handle on your behalf.
For over 40 years, Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. has represented clients in toxic exposure cases and secured the compensation they need to heal. We understand the dangers you face when encountering toxic chemicals and the implications of touching, inhaling, or ingesting them. You could face long-term complications that affect your daily routine and diminish your quality of life. You should not have to suffer the consequences of someone else’s negligent actions.
If you were injured or became ill from toxic exposure due to another party’s misconduct, do not hesitate to contact Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. for a free consultation. One of our Florida toxic exposure lawyers can meet with you in our offices or a location most convenient for you to review the facts of your case and determine whether we can help. Call 561.689.8180 today.
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