Hazardous exposure is exposure to any kind of hazardous chemical or substance, especially if it causes injury or some kind of medical condition. In some cases, the injury will be obvious immediately while in other cases of hazardous exposure they will only develop much later. Most hazardous exposure happens on the job.
Anyone who was exposed to a hazardous substance and suffered injury has a potential lawsuit against the company that allowed it to happen. However, since it’s most common in job sites where employees work around hazardous substances in the first place, it’s often an issue for the worker’s compensation system — which guarantees benefits to the injured worker. If this happened to you, you should speak to a worker’s compensation lawyer.
What Counts As Hazardous Exposure?
Hazardous exposure may occur through ingestion, inhaling a substance, skin contact, or getting a substance in the eye, among other methods. The most common causes are a spill, leakage from containers, or insufficient ventilation in the work area.
The substances involved may be:
- Acidic or caustic
- Carcinogenic (cancer-causing)
- Poisonous or toxic if swallowed/inhaled
- Dangerous when inhaled, such as many types of dust
- Or any other chemical that has detrimental health effects when humans are exposed to it
For substances with known health risks, OSHA has detailed regulations about how exposure is allowed. For many substances, there is a “safe limit” and exposure below that limit is considered acceptable. Exposure above that limit becomes unsafe and is illegal.
If in doubt, however, any contact with such substances can count as hazardous exposure if it causes harm. A lawyer can help you decide if you have a valid claim.
What Happens if I Suffered a Toxic Exposure at Work?
Employers have a legal duty to exercise care with the wellbeing of their employees/workers, as well as to follow all safety and health laws. Even if an employer didn’t actually break the law, however, they may still be liable if they were careless or didn’t have good oversight of how the substances were used. This can include providing insufficient safety equipment, or having lax standards for safety training and enforcement of safety rules.
But, if you were injured on the job, you may not have to prove liability at all. Workers compensation laws allow you to recover damages for most workplace injuries without a lawsuit (although it still helps to have a lawyer).
What if the Toxic Exposure Was Not Work-related?
Sometimes, pollution and chemical spills — whether accidental or intentional — cause damages that affect many more people than just the workers. The effects can be sudden or can take years to develop. If you believe this has happened to you or your community, you may have a major lawsuit with the potential to recover money for all of the victims.
No matter what kind of toxic exposure you suffered, the attorneys of John Foy & Associates are ready to help. We have over 20 years of experience taking on employers, big corporations, and even government departments when needed. Let us give you a FREE consultation. Call 404-400-4000, or complete the form to your free consultation today.