If I Have Suffered a Chemical Injury, Am I Entitled to Compensation?

Every year, thousands of consumers are seriously injured or killed by dangerous and defective products: toxic exposure, gas leaks, soil contaminated by spills, chemical fumes on the job, etc. All of these can lead to serious health conditions. Short-term skin contact or inhalation of toxins can be dangerous enough, long-term exposure can kill.

Many of these injuries could be avoided if manufacturers, distributors, and employers who work with these products took additional steps to ensure consumer safety. When you suspect you’ve been injured or poisoned by chemical exposure, you need to speak to a tough, experienced toxic exposure attorney. The illnesses these common hazards cause are no joke. Many are terminal. The sooner you speak to us at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, the better. Call (212) 986-7353 for a free consultation with a New York attorney.

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Chemicals in the Home and on the Job

The people who build our houses have a certain obligation, and so do our employers. They must, to the best of their ability and knowledge, make sure we are safe from toxins in the air around us.

  • Asbestos: Asbestos exposure isn’t just an "on-the-job" illness. Many houses still have asbestos in the walls, ceilings, floors, or outdoor wood structures. Because asbestos is a fire-retardant, it was widely used in construction prior to the 1970s. Though New York’s building codes have restricted the use of asbestos to specific materials (insulation, roofing products, etc.), older building are still full of this dangerous mineral. Breathing in the asbestos fibers over years can result in lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. New York City’s government provides an informational page on how to check, report, and properly remove asbestos from your home. Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s already too late.
  • Herbicides: Roundup, the most popular weed-killer on the market, is under fire for its connection to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is classified as a possible carcinogen according to the World Health Organization. Despite this and other evidence, including a mounting number of lawsuits, Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, continues to insist the product does not cause cancer and refuses to issue a warning on the product’s label.
  • Contamination: Dangerous chemicals, industrial runoff, hazardous waste, improperly disposed-of toxins, and more can leach into the soil, into the groundwater, and from there, into people’s bodies through touch, breathing, eating, or drinking. In one famous 1999 scare, over 1,000 New Yorkers were affected by E. coli from a tainted well. Runoff from cow manure is believed to have caused the damage.
  • Metal poisoning: Though rarer, heavy metal poisoning can occur through contaminated food, water, medicine, industrial chemicals, and more. Lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium are the more common culprits in the United States. Symptoms include confusion, numbness in extremities, nausea, vomiting, and overall weakness and pain. Long-term workplace exposure in the United States has been linked to pneumoconiosis, cognitive disorders, and a variety of cancers.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning: Landlords, property owners, vehicle mechanics, and appliance manufacturers bear the responsibility of keeping consumers safe from carbon monoxide poisoning. Since carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas found all around us when fossil fuels are burned, it is especially dangerous. The symptoms are very subtle, and people usually pass out or die before they even know there’s a problem. However, signs may include headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, confusion, and difficulty breathing.

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Have I Been Poisoned?

Symptoms of toxic exposure can vary, depending on what part of your body is affected. Short-term exposure and long-term exposure affect the body differently. The longer the exposure, the worse the damage to your health. Extonet, a toxicology network comprised of Cornell University, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, and UC Davis, lists the following symptoms of toxicity in the human body. In general:

  • Inhalation: Irritation, coughing, choking, tightness in your chest
  • Ingestion: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, back pain, excess urination
  • Physical contact: Headache, dizziness, confusion, mood swings, seizures, tiredness, weakness, fever, rashes, itching, burning, redness, and swelling.

Long-term exposure to toxins can even lead to infertility or miscarriage. If you suspect that you, your family, or coworkers have been exposed to dangerous chemicals, even for a short while, see a doctor right away. Explain that you may have been exposed to toxins, and ask for tests. If your chemical injury is confirmed, speak to a toxic exposure attorney right away.

In New York, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is three years from the date of injury. With chemical exposure, you often don’t know you’re sick until later, so call a lawyer as soon as you possibly can.

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Filing a Toxic or Chemical Lawsuit

Why file a lawsuit against a chemical manufacturer or negligent employer? There are two reasons in particular. One, to assist with your medical bills. The deep-seated illnesses that arise after toxic exposure usually take a lot of money and medical intervention to treat, if they can be cured at all. Two, to warn the public and keep others from getting hurt the same way you did.

Though the federal government is supposed to oversee all products, chemicals, and prescription drugs made available to consumers, many dangerous things slip by, and thousands of people are seriously hurt every year; some by occupational illnesses that they won’t feel until years or decades later. When in doubt, speak to an attorney with experience in such cases.

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Why Choose a NY Chemical Accident Lawyer at WRSMH?

You have the right to be compensated if you have been injured as the result of a defective product or another party’s negligence. One of the most difficult, expensive, and important tasks in preparing and presenting a New York toxic exposure case is securing the assistance and testimony of qualified experts. Our law firm has the experience and resources required to obtain excellent expert witnesses who are qualified to testify at trial.

Many successful chemical lawsuits result in not only obtaining substantial money damages for the victim, but also have the desired social effect of encouraging manufacturers to re-design a product, suggesting legislation which establishes standards for safer products, and removing unsafe products from the market.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a chemical or dangerous drug, the NY pharmaceutical injury attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, would like to meet with you. Please call our office at (212) 986-7353 to set up an appointment to discuss your case.

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Additional Information