What is Toxic Tort?
Simply put, toxic tort is litigation arising from the exposure to chemicals in any environment and claiming injury to your person, as a result. It can come from exposure to pharmaceuticals or materials or, likewise, from within the home or at work.
The targets of such specialized lawsuits are typically product manufacturers and the dollar value of the claim is almost always very significant and can include multiple defendants. Such litigation has cost industries and insurance carriers billions and put large and small companies alike out of business. Much of the toxic chemicals known today were not “toxic” as recently as a few decades ago (eg asbestos) and, therefore, can still be found in use throughout the Country.
Challenges unique to Toxic Tort investigations
- Not always a singular goal of ‘disproving exposure’
- Investigation can span the entire 20th Century to present or more
- Exposure (injury) likely did not occur at one specific point in time, but over a period and often could have been decades ago, with no ‘recent’ exposure to the chemical
- Very often insureds are out of business, merged, acquired, etc, multiple times over and principles/officers deceased
- Multiple defendants with a wide variety of expectations and investigation needs
Fighting Toxic Tort in the 21st Century
Over the past few decades more and more has been learned about chemical exposure, mold, pesticides, etc. As in the days of the “ambulance chasers,” we see commercial after commercial, billboard after billboard, and newspaper ad after newspaper ad actively seeking out plaintiffs for Toxic and Mass Torts. It has developed into an industry unto itself supplying plaintiff attorneys, the medical field, and other professionals with newfound careers (investigators excluded, of course).
Case in point, “Erin Brockovich,” the famous true story of a town unknowingly consuming hexavalent chromium in their groundwater from the nearby power plant, was released in 2000 with the lead role played by Julia Roberts. That movie grossed worldwide $256,271,286 (citation IMDB, ‘Box Office’). According to Masry and Vititoe, the law firm Erin Brockovich worked with on the matter, that suit resulted in a $333 million settlement for the Hinckley residents. In fact, the firm boasts it has “been involved in settlements or verdicts that have resulted in more than One Billion Dollars.”
The links between certain chemicals and certain diseases have long since been established over the years. The good news is the information is out there to defend these cases…if you know where to look.
Professional Claims Services has established successful plans of action allowing defense firms and groups to aggressively fight these company-crippling suits. Our experience in the industry is combined with access to unique databases and an understanding, accessibility, and professionalism you get with no other firm. Unlike any other investigation company, we have an entire division dedicated to Toxic Tort Investigation and Defense Consultation with the necessary resources and contacts nationwide.
Sample Investigation Menu
- Character Background
- Plaintiff Profile
- Alternate Exposure Investigation
- Residence Inspection
- Employment Identification
- Permit Retrieval
- Renovation/Construction History
- Co-Worker History (with interviews)
- Superfund Locator
- Toxic Abatement Determination
- Environmental Neighborhood Interviews
- Medical History Identification