Legal recourse for chemical exposure

A coalition of environmental groups in Texas and Louisiana report that residents of these Gulf states have an elevated risk of chemical exposure compared to people in other U.S. states. This group, which includes the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, has raised concerns to the Environmental Protection Agency about the disproportionate rates of exposure illness, particularly in communities impacted by poverty.

If you or a family member may have an illness resulting from a nearby chemical plant or oil refinery, you may be able to file a legal claim in Louisiana.

Understanding toxic torts

Louisiana law requires safe handling, storage and disposal of hazardous chemicals and materials. When these toxins enter the air, contaminate the water or seep into the ground, nearby residents and employees can become ill. You can seek legal recourse if you or a loved one develops a disease related to negligent handling of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, industrial chemicals, petrochemicals or oil. These state laws, called toxic torts, may also apply to mold and asbestos exposure at work, school or home.

Seeking medical and legal help

Toxic chemical exposure can cause serious disease, with effects that vary depending on the specific toxin, the level of exposure and the person’s health status. For example, exposure to crude oil can cause pneumonia, breathing problems, mobility, fatigue, loss of coordination, dizziness, headache and lung irritation. People who have other health problems are more likely to get sick from chemical exposure.

In most cases, you have a year to file a toxic exposure lawsuit in Louisiana. This statute of limitations may not apply to minors and cases involving permanent disability.