Toxic Torts FAQ

What is a toxic tort?

A toxic tort is a legal claim for harm caused by exposure to a dangerous substance -- such as a pharmaceutical drug, pesticide, or chemical. If an individual or a group of people has been exposed to and injured by a dangerous substance, either may be able to bring a toxic tort lawsuit.

Most toxic tort injuries arise in one of the following ways:

  • occupational exposure - when industrial workers are exposed to toxins on the job (examples include asbestos, benzene, beryllium, and silica)
  • pharmaceutical drugs - when prescribed drugs cause unintended side effects (to learn more about lawsuits involving pharmaceutical drugs, see Nolo's article Product Liability Claims Involving Pharmaceutical Drugs)
  • exposure in the home - when people breathe or ingest harmful substances in their home, such as mold (to learn more about mold, see Nolo's article Toxic Mold Basics), and
  • consumer products - when people use products (like pesticides) that cause unintended injuries.

To learn more about what constitutes a toxic tort, and for tips on special issues in toxic tort litigation, see Nolo's article Toxic Torts Overview.

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