Toxic Tort Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Toxic Tort, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Toxic Tort?

“Injury to a person by a toxic substance that another individual or company is responsible for and may be sued. For example: if someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma (cancer caused by asbestos), he/she could sue the company who is responsible for their lengthy exposure to asbestos.

History and Meaning of Toxic Tort

Toxic Tort is a legal term used to describe personal injury or loss caused by exposure to toxic substances. In the past, it was challenging to recover damages for injuries caused by toxic substances as there was no specific law in place. It wasn't until the mid-20th century that courts began to recognize and acknowledge individual rights to file lawsuits for injuries caused by exposure to harmful substances. The term "Toxic Tort" was coined to describe these types of legal claims.

In today's legal system, a plaintiff can file a toxic tort claim against an individual or company who manufactured or exposed them to a harmful substance. To prove a Toxic Tort claim, the plaintiff must establish that they suffered injury or loss as a result of the defendant's negligence or intentional misconduct.

Examples of Toxic Tort

  • A worker exposed to asbestos develops lung cancer and sues the manufacturing company responsible for producing the asbestos-containing products.
  • An individual who lives near a toxic waste dump experiences health problems and sues the company that owns and operates the landfill.
  • A homeowner is exposed to toxic mold due to a landlord's failure to address water damage and sues the landlord for the resulting health issues.

Legal Terms Similar to Toxic Tort

  • Product Liability: This term refers to holding manufacturers and sellers liable for any harm caused by their products.
  • Negligence: A legal theory in which an individual or company breaches a duty of care owed to another person, resulting in injury or loss.
  • Personal Injury: A legal claim that involves an individual being harmed physically or emotionally by the negligence or intentional wrongdoing of another person or company.