Toxic Tort Lawyer: How They Can Help With Your Case

Last Updated:
June 25, 2023
Kay Nicole

toxic tort lawyer

Toxic tort litigation is a form of personal injury law that deals with toxic exposure and the adverse effects that result from it. These cases often involve environmental pollution as well as pharmaceutical and industrial products. Illness caused by chemicals or other pollutants often doesn't manifest until years after exposure. It makes proving causation difficult.


Toxic tort cases are incredibly complex and require lawyers with extensive current and historical case law knowledge. They also deeply understand the science behind their clients' claims. It is crucial to prove that exposure to toxins or chemicals causes illness or injury. To qualify as a toxic tort lawyer, an attorney must have at least a bachelor's degree and pass the bar exam. Typically, a lawyer will spend three years at law school and participate in externships to gain practical experience. They will also take a comprehensive course on the law of torts.

The main responsibility of a toxic tort attorney is to act as their client's advocate. They must thoroughly research their client's claim, review medical records, interview witnesses and analyze the evidence presented. They must also be able to communicate with the defendant's legal team and negotiate settlements. Defendants in toxic tort cases include companies that manufacture or distribute hazardous chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs with unintended side effects, builders and contractors who use unsafe construction materials, manufacturers of consumer products and pesticides. Often, these lawsuits involve several individuals who have suffered from the same injury or illness. A toxic torts lawyer can help people recover monetary damages for their losses. It includes medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.


A toxic tort case may involve a single plaintiff or multiple affected people. It may also affect several defendants – for example, when pharmaceutical drugs have unintended side effects or chemicals leak into the environment and cause illness in nearby people. Toxic tort cases often require expert testimony to prove causation. They can also be complicated because it's not always easy to determine who a particular defendant is. For example, residents who allege airborne contaminants from nearby industrial facilities harmed them may not know which company's products are to blame.

Lawyers for toxic torts can assist plaintiffs in obtaining financial compensation for their medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This type of litigation holds manufacturers, distributors and retailers responsible for harm caused by their exposure to harmful substances. These include dangerous pharmaceutical drugs like Vioxx, DES and Rezulin, toxic chemicals used in manufacturing such as solvents, asbestos and carcinogens found in paint and dry cleaning agents, and even contaminated water from chemical companies improperly disposing of their waste.

In some instances, the plaintiff cannot sue their employer if they were exposed to a harmful substance through their work. They can, however, sue third parties who were negligent in exposing them to the toxic substance. For instance, the case against Roundup herbicides that caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma involved a design defect in the product, as the herbicide was found to have a high risk of this type of cancer in users.

Expert Witnesses

A toxic tort lawyer needs many experts to prepare a case. These experts can include environmental engineers, process chemical engineers, epidemiologists and chemists. They may also need economic experts to examine records and calculate monetary damages for the plaintiff. Toxic tort cases can be very complicated. The lawsuits often allege that a person was harmed by chemicals or dangerous substances manufactured and sold by a corporation. These substances can include pesticides, lead paint, dry cleaning solvents, pharmaceutical drugs and even beryllium dust, which strengthens metal alloys in mining, metal manufacturing and aerospace.

In some cases, the toxic tort lawsuits claim that the company didn't adequately warn about the dangers associated with their products. It can be difficult to prove that a chemical caused an injury, especially when the person's exposure occurred years and often decades ago. Documents related to the initial exposure may be hard to find, witnesses may have died or moved away, and memories can fade. A good toxic tort lawyer can use the latest scientific research to build a strong case. For example, a recent study that shows a certain drug causes unintended side effects can make or break a toxic tort lawsuit. The same applies to studies that link certain work-related chemicals to health conditions such as mesothelioma.

Multidistrict Litigation

As advancements in manufacturing, medicine, and technology bring thousands of new products into the world each year, many of these substances may cause unintended harm to consumers. When this happens, harmed individuals can sue the wrongdoers through legal claims called toxic torts. These cases can be complicated because it is often difficult to prove the connection between a dangerous chemical or substance and the injuries or illnesses that result from it. Plaintiffs also must be able to prove that they were exposed to the toxic substance in a way that caused damages, which can be challenging when the effects of exposure can sometimes take months or even years to manifest. Proving causation is crucial in toxic tort cases is one reason why contacting a qualified toxic tort lawyer is important early on.

A competent lawyer can examine medical documents, counsel clients throughout the legal process, and fight for their interests while negotiating with corporate defendants. Aside from the complicated issues related to proofing causation, other common challenges in toxic tort cases involve expert witnesses. Defendants will often dispute the credibility of a plaintiff's expert witness by questioning their qualifications and arguing that their testimony is not based on sufficient scientific evidence. This is why having a knowledgeable toxic tort attorney at your side is so important.

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