Premises Liability for Hazardous Substances and Toxic Exposures
Under premises liability law, property owners are required to take reasonable steps to identify and address potential hazards on their premises. If an individual is harmed as a result of exposure to a hazardous substance on the property, they may be able to seek compensation from the property owner.
When Property Owners are Liable for Hazardous Substances and Toxic Exposures
Property owners can generally be held liable for hazardous substances and toxic exposure if they knew or should have known about the danger on their property and failed to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of harm. However, liability may also depend on factors such as the level of exposure, the type of substance, the extent of damage caused, and the foreseeability of harm.
How to Hold a Property Owner Liable for Hazardous Substances and Toxic Exposures
Here are the steps on how to hold a property owner liable for hazardous substances and toxic exposures:
- Determine the source of the toxins. Identify the hazardous substance that caused the exposure and its origin (e.g., chemicals from nearby industries, lead paint in the building, and asbestos in the insulation).
- Establish knowledge. Gather proof that the property owner knew or should have known about the existence of the hazardous substance on their property. This can be done, for instance, through documentation, inspection reports, or witness testimony.
- Demonstrate negligence. You must be able to show that the property owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent or mitigate exposure to the hazardous substance, such as failing to remove it or failing to warn tenants or visitors.
- Prove causation. There must be a link between the exposure and your harm, which can be done by presenting medical evidence or expert medical testimony on how exposure to the substance caused your injury or illness.
- You must have suffered damages. To have a case, you must have experienced losses for which you deserve compensation. For instance, medical expenses caused by toxic exposure, lost wages, pain, suffering, etc.
With evidence of these factors, a court can hold the property owner liable for the hazardous substance or toxic exposure and require them to compensate you for the harm they caused.
Types of Hazardous Substances and Toxic Exposures Commonly Involved in Premises Liability Cases
Premises liability cases can involve various types of hazardous substances and toxic exposures, such as the following:
- Chemicals: Exposure to toxic chemicals such as asbestos, lead, mold, and other hazardous substances commonly found in industrial settings, buildings, and homes.
- Biological Exposure: Exposure to harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other biological agents that can cause illness and disease.
- Radiation: Exposure to harmful radiation from sources such as radioactive materials and electromagnetic fields.
- Indoor Air Quality: Exposure to indoor pollutants such as secondhand smoke, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
- Water Quality: Exposure to contaminated water sources due to lead pipes, chemical spills, and other factors.
- Noise Pollution: Exposure to high levels of noise can cause hearing loss, stress, and other health problems.
In each of these cases, the property owner or manager may be held liable if they knew or should have known about the toxic exposure and failed to take reasonable steps to protect people on the premises.