Hazardous Materials Accidents
Your home and workplace may contain hazardous substances you know little about. Dangerous materials do not always come with brightly colored warning signs. Nor do their containers always clearly identify the substances or how to remain safe while handling them. Hazardous materials accidents are very dangerous.
Exposure to hazardous chemicals and other substances can lead to immediate and long-term health consequences. Some of these consequences, such as mesothelioma, do not appear until years after exposure to the dangerous material.
Whether immediate or delayed, the health complications of hazardous material exposure can lead to doctor’s visits, hospital stays, and a decreased quality of life. You deserve to know about hazardous materials in your workspace and in your home.
Negligent failures to warn you — and in some cases, protect you — can leave you and your loved ones exposed to danger. When this happens, you may have the right to seek compensation for the physical, emotional, and other losses you experience. To ensure negligent parties are held responsible, contact The Joel Bieber Firm today.
Common Hazardous Materials Accidents
There are numerous ways you can be hurt by hazardous materials, both at work and at home. In some cases, you can work with a reputable lawyer to reclaim compensation for your injuries.
Some examples of hazardous materials accidents include:
Exposure to Toxic Fumes or Dust
Some materials emit harmful fumes or particles that can make you sick. For example, if you disturb asbestos, you spread fine particulates into the air. Over time, breathing these small particles can lead to scarring of your lung tissue and even mesothelioma.
Similarly, failing to properly secure the lid of a toxic substance can allow fumes and vapors to escape. These gasses can cause you to experience headaches, dizziness, or nausea. Some vapors, if inhaled, can be deadly.
Burns from Contact with Skin
Solvents and cleaners often have corrosive chemicals to eat through grease and other tough spills. If these materials come into contact with bare skin, severe and painful chemical burns can follow.
Depending on the substance, you could require skin grafts or other surgical procedures to repair damaged skin.
Slips and Falls
Even common household cleaners like floor wax or mopping solution may not pose any danger in and of themselves. However, if they spill or are left out on the floor, they can lead to a slip and fall accident.
Slips and falls are especially dangerous for older individuals. But people of any age can experience serious harm from a slip and fall, such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Injuries to your back and spinal cord
- Broken bones and broken hips
- Knee injuries
- Strains and sprains
The risk of a slip and fall is greater when you cannot easily see the spill, or someone has not marked it off with warning signs.
Who Is Responsible for Hazardous Materials Accidents?
Liability for hazardous material accidents belongs to the person or company that causes your injuries. Therefore, understanding your injuries and how they typically occur is the first step in identifying who is responsible. Once you identify the negligible party, you can partner with a talented attorney to recover compensation for your losses.
In some hazardous materials accidents, there can be multiple people who are responsible and whose negligence combined to produce your injury accident.
Responsible parties can include:
The Manufacturer of the Chemical or Substance
The company that manufactured the chemical may be liable for damages if it allowed a defective product onto the market.
A defective product is not just one that does not work as intended. It can also be a hazardous chemical without a proper warning that alerts consumers of the dangers it poses.
A defect also exists if the chemical’s container is not adequate to safely contain the substance and prevent it from accidentally spilling or leaking.
A Store Employee or Property Owner
If you are a customer of a business or if a property owner invited you onto their property, they legally owe a duty of care to you.
This includes making sure they clean up and properly store any dangerous chemicals or cleansers. The business owner or their employees must make regular inspections of the business to make sure that any spills get attention.
There are also times when a worker or property owner cannot quickly clean a hazard. In these cases, the responsible party must take steps to warn customers or guests and keep them away from the dangerous substance.
If you work around hazardous chemicals, your employer must provide you with informational sheets that tell you about these substances.
These sheets also inform you about how to handle the chemicals safely and what to do in the event of accidental contact or consumption. If these sheets are missing or purposefully hidden, you may have a cause of action against your employer.
Similarly, if you handle dangerous substances, your employer must give you appropriate safety equipment. Failing to do so is a violation of your worker’s rights and can lead to you receiving compensation.
In most cases, if your employer or a fellow employee is responsible for your injuries, you would file a workers’ compensation claim. In extreme cases where your employer acted intentionally or with extreme indifference, you might file a lawsuit.
A Third Party
Lastly, if another private person caused a spill or exposure, that person could owe you compensation.
For example, suppose another shopper carelessly knocked over a slippery cleaner onto the floor. Instead of telling management, the shopper goes on without informing anyone. If you slip and fall on this spill and thereby hurt yourself, you might have a case against this person.
Protect Your Rights with The Joel Bieber Firm
If you believe you suffered injuries because of exposure to a toxic chemical, turn to the seasoned team at The Joel Bieber Firm. Our personal injury lawyers can assist victims of all manner of hazardous materials accidents. We can investigate every detail of your case and fight to secure the compensation you deserve.
Call The Joel Bieber Firm today to schedule a consultation.