Concerns about hazardous materials in the workplace started to gain notoriety around the time asbestos litigation received national attention due to multiple cases of cancer that were tied to the substance. Unfortunately, this was not the only material that was found to have serious adverse health effects. Some other sources of large scale problems include lead, benzene, welding material, and elements that give off harmful forms of radiation.
Radium found near New Orleans
The city of New Orleans has come under fire for allowing a carcinogenic material called radium 226 to remain in the soil in certain areas.
People in the Gert Town area may have been exposed to harmful levels of radiation. There are also allegations that the government in the area knew about the potential for harm but did not warn the residents or take any other protective measures.
The presence of the radium in the area first made local headlines when the city was hit with a lawsuit about radioactivity in the soil near Lowerline and Coolidge Street. The area was supposed to have been cleaned years ago, but apparently traces of the harmful radium 226 remain. This element is an isotope of radium that almost never occurs naturally and was used for parts in certain mechanical devices and medical equipment decades ago, until its harmful effects were discovered. It is also believed that the unstable radium in the area can cause molecular changes in humans, including cancer. Even a minuscule amount of this substance is considered to be very dangerous, meaning that the trace amounts that were discovered are potentially hazardous.
Lawsuits after exposure to hazards
The type of lawsuit that will follow exposure to hazardous materials is similar to many other personal injury lawsuits. A business or government entity who was responsible for handling these materials breached their duty to the public or workers by allowing them to work or live in contaminated areas. These careless actions obviously have the potential to cause cancer or other health problems, where means that a lawyer can sue the responsible party for an amount related to health expenses and the suffering the person must endure from the illness. In situations where someone dies from exposure to toxic elements, their family members can still file a claim on their behalf to be compensated for their medical expenses and lost wages.
The burden of proof
Proof in these kinds of civil lawsuits is usually related to whether it is likely that exposure to the materials in question caused the person’s health problems. In most civil cases, the burden of proof not as high as some other areas of the law such as criminal cases that require proof beyond all reasonable doubt. A jury is instructed about the relevant burden of proof when they make their decision at the conclusion of the trial.
Talk to a lawyer about exposure to these materials
For help from an expert lawyer in the New Orleans area who deals with exposure to radioactivity, toxic and hazardous materials, and other associated problems, contact Stag Liuzza. Their attorneys will make sure you receive appropriate compensation for any injury related to radium or other harmful substances.