chemical barrels warning of toxic exposure

The Science of Toxic Exposure: Understanding the Basics of Toxicology in Toxic Tort Cases

Toxic exposure to dangerous substances can cause chronic illness, disability, and death. The exposure might take months or years to cause someone harm. However, a single dose in a strong concentration could cause death in some cases. 

Chemical and toxic exposure can occur because of workplace conditions, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and environmental exposure. Toxic torts lawyers often hire toxicologists as expert witnesses to help prove the legal requirements to hold defendants liable for the damages their negligence and intentional torts caused the victims. 

What Is Toxicology?

Toxicology helps us understand the harm people, animals, and the environment can suffer from chemicals and other substances. The field combines statistics, biology, and chemistry to determine the dose and exposure duration it takes for a chemical to produce a harmful effect. 

Often times, scientists study the effects of chemicals on animals to predict human responses to dangerous substances. They might also study individuals exposed to toxic substances in the environment or the workplace to document how the exposure impacted their health. 

What Is a Toxicologist?

A toxicologist is a scientist who has a deep understanding of many scientific disciplines, including chemistry, environmental science, biology, and medicine. Their research involves studying the effects of chemicals and toxic substances and how to reduce the risk of harm. They also recommend guidelines for safe exposure limits. 

How Are the Basics of Toxicology Used in Toxic Tort Cases?

Toxic tort lawyers hire toxicologists as expert witnesses for toxic tort cases. Through their testimony and opinions, a toxic tort expert can answer questions such as:

  • How does the level of exposure and dose impact the chance of sustaining injury or harm?
  • Is the chemical or toxic substance capable of causing the illness or injury the plaintiff sustained?
  • What types of injuries and harm can exposure to a toxic substance cause?
  • How long with the substance remain in the body after exposure?
  • Do the frequency and route of exposure impact the risk of injury or harm?
  • What is the expected time between exposure to a toxic substance and the injuries sustained by the plaintiff?
  • Are the injuries or harm caused by the toxic substance reversible?
  • What was the result of studies to determine the effect of the substance on humans?
  • How much of a risk does exposure to the substance in the environment pose to humans?

There could be many other questions that a toxic tort attorney must answer for the jury regarding the allegations against the defendant. The questions posed to a toxic tort expert or toxicologist in court depend on the specifics of the case. 

In the simplest of terms, toxicology is used to prove a substance is dangerous and can cause harm. An experienced toxic tort lawyer must present evidence proving the plaintiff was exposed to the substance and sustained injuries or harm. Linking all three elements together is required to prove a toxic tort case. 

Get Legal Help with Toxic Tort Cases 

Contact a toxic tort lawyer immediately if you believe you were exposed to hazardous chemicals or toxic substances. You could be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. However, you need a lawyer with experience handling toxic tort cases because they understand the legal requirements for proving liability. They also have the resources to hire experts to support your allegations.