A toxic chemical or material is any chemical or material, that through its chemical action on someone’s body, can cause death, temporary incapacitation, or permanent harm to humans or animals. Chemical exposure is exposure to the toxic chemical.
Individuals who have been exposed to toxic chemicals and materials may be entitled to benefits and compensation. If they are injured outside of the scope of their work, then they are potentially entitled to personal injury damages such as pain and suffering, lost income, and medical expenses. It is important for individuals to contact experienced liability lawyers when they believe they have been exposed. Toronto toxic chemicals and materials lawyers can help them argue their need for damages when necessary.
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Common Effects and Injuries
People may be exposed to dangerous toxins through purchasing a house that has toxic materials in it, at work, or through exposure to environmental hazards or environmental dumps that were not disclosed, such as chemical materials or toxins that were dumped on land unwittingly to the injured person.
Common chemicals or materials that can cause personal injuries include:
- Commercial cleaning materials
- Lead or construction materials found on the ground or in the water
- Toxic fumes or other chemicals that are inhaled
Simply stated, toxic chemicals and materials include anything that can cause harm to humans through contact. People may suffer acute injuries such as burns to the body or poisoning. They may also suffer long-term effects such as cancers or other diseases through long-term exposure to these materials.
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All economic losses caused by injuries from toxic chemical exposure are compensable so long as someone is able to bring forward enough evidence to establish that they will, or have actually lost that money. For example, if someone has to retire early, they are entitled to lost income they would have otherwise received, if someone has to work less then they are entitled to compensation for the hours of work lost, if someone is made less competitively employable then they are entitled to damages for loss of income earning capacity to reflect that they are less able in a competitive marketplace to go out and earn income. Essentially, whatever losses somebody sustains as a result of their injuries they are entitled to receive as compensation. The key principle is putting them in a position they would have been in, had they not have this injury and ensuring that they will receive all money they would have received had they not had the injury.
People are entitled to pain and suffering damages in a proportionate amount for the losses that they have suffered. The court or jury will look at the seriousness of the injury, how long the injury lasts and what impact the injury has on a person’s life – personally, financially and socially. The greater the impact and the worse the injury, the greater their pain and suffering damages. However, there is a cap, just over $360,000, for pain and suffering damages in Canada which is reserved for only the most serious of injuries.
There is no cap on economic loss for toxic exposure cases. The cap on non-pecuniary damages, otherwise known as pain and suffering damages, is roughly at just over $360,000 as adjusted for inflation. Caps exist in order to ensure that there is predictability with pain and suffering awards as well as to ensure that too great a burden is not put on insurance companies and the people who paid premiums for insurance companies in relation to personal injury awards.
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Punitive damages exist to deter people from breaching their standard of care or breaching contracts with vulnerable members of society. In cases of chemical or toxic exposure, punitive damages may be awarded to deter large companies from continuing to harm people through their practices. Punitive damages are calculated by taking into consideration a fair amount that would actually deter a company from continuing to breach the standard of care or harm people. The larger the company, the larger the damages will have to be in order to act as an effective deterrence.
Generally speaking, punitive damages will not exceed $1 million in Canada. Their key purpose, is punishment, deterrence, and denunciation of a wrongful act, but there is no artificial cap put in place for punitive damages.
Statute of Limitations
There is no limitation period for Toronto toxic chemicals and materials claims, or most kinds of environmental claims, meaning a claim based on an act or omission that contributed to or permitted the discharge of a contaminant into the natural environment that was likely to have an adverse effect, or toxic chemical, or material. Otherwise, generally speaking, there is a two-year limitation period to bring such claims, unless a person is under the age of 18 or they are not mentally competent to make their own legal decisions, in which case, it is extended.
Contacting a Toronto Toxic Chemicals and Materials Lawyer
If a person believes they have been exposed to toxic chemicals and materials, and that they have suffered an injury as a result, it is very important to preserve all evidence so that they will be able to establish a case in the future. That includes keeping whatever item has caused the injury in a safe place so that it may act as evidence for immediate or future injuries. It is important to speak to a Toronto toxic chemicals and materials lawyer to find out if a person has a claim and if so, what their claim may be worth. It is also essential to seek medical attention right away and determine the exact cause of the poisoning to prevent worsening effects.
Toxic chemical or material cases in Toronto can be very complicated and they often involve hiring specialized experts to speak to the contaminant and how it may have caused the injury. It is important to understand the law and identify if there is a claim to be made.