Toxic Tort Litigation in Florida
Environmental activism has been a major part of recent political platforms, news stories, and even legal issues in recent years. The United States had its first wave of toxic tort litigation in the 1970s when researchers learned of the negative effects of asbestos, leading to mesothelioma. Since then, concerns about chemicals from factories, groundwater contamination, and noxious substances have become commonplace in the courts, often between large companies and/or the citizens that are affected by the toxic substances. Prolonged exposure to certain chemicals may cause permanent injury—something that may be compensable under the law.
What is a “Toxic Tort”?
A “tort” is a civil wrong. The “civil” part means a dispute has arisen between private parties. The “wrong” means that as a result of one of the party’s conduct, the other party has been adversely affected in some way. This may mean a monetary loss, physical injury, or other measurable losses such as lost business. Toxic tort litigation arises when one party thinks the other should be held responsible for the wrong. For example, if Company A has a big factory upstream from Community B, and Company A starts dumping chemicals into the water that contaminate the drinking supply in Community B making the citizens ill, Community B may bring a toxic tort lawsuit against Company A.
In this scenario, what is Community B hoping to accomplish? In civil litigation, the objective is to make the injured party “whole.” However, loss can be very difficult to measure when it involves one’s life or health. Community B may not simply be looking to make sure its citizens are compensated for their health care costs that were inflicted by Company A’s wrongdoing, but in the bigger picture, may file suit to cause Company A to change their future behavior. The Court may award punitive, or “exemplary” damages to Community B—that is, the Court may make Company A pay large sums of money to make an example to show other companies that if they participate in similar practices, the consequences will be severe. This type of litigation occurs not just between companies and private parties, but also between companies themselves.
Miami, Florida Toxic Tort Litigation Attorneys
Toxic tort litigation is a niche area of the law that requires particular skill, knowledge, and experience. The injuries in toxic tort cases are often severe and the amount of money at stake can be substantial. Environmental concerns are among some of the greatest in the court system at this time, with new information always being discovered about the long-term effects of exposure to certain chemicals. With this in mind, if you or anyone you know has been exposed to a toxic chemical, mold, radon, asbestos, or other contaminant, it is critical to understand your legal rights. Companies and private citizens alike have an obligation to their community to meet certain environmental standards. Failure to do so may result in substantial consequences. At Alan Goldfarb, P.A., our experienced toxic tort litigation attorneys know how to navigate these complex claims in court and advocate on your behalf. Contact our Miami office to learn more about your legal rights today.