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November 8, 2023

Average Toxic Tort Settlement Amount in California

Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

Short answer: The average toxic tort settlement amount in California typically falls between $50,000 and $500,000. These amounts can greatly fluctuate based on the severity of the injuries and damages involved in each case.

Toxic tort cases involve claims related to exposure to harmful substances, which can lead to severe health issues and substantial financial burdens for victims. The settlement amounts for these cases can vary significantly, with minor injury cases often settling for amounts between $50,000 and $100,000.

In instances involving major injuries or long-term health effects, settlements can exceed $1,000,000. If you believe that you or a loved one may have a case, you should consult with a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in toxic tort cases to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Average Toxic Tort Settlement Amount in California

Severity of Toxic Tort Average California Toxic Tort Settlement
Minor Approximately: $50,000
Moderate Approximately: $500,000
Severe Approximately: $1,000,000

Example Toxic Tort Cases

  1. Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation: In a case involving the poisoning of the town of Hinkley, California’s water supply with chromium-6 for nearly 30 years, Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation was forced to pay a toxic tort settlement of $333 million. This is one of the biggest settlements in US history.
  2. Pradaxa Blood Thinner Litigation: Lawsuits against Pradaxa, a blood thinner, allege that the manufacturer did not adequately inform patients about the significant risk of severe bleeding associated with the drug. In the early stages of its use, Pradaxa posed a life-threatening risk to patients due to the lack of an antidote for excessive bleeding. Over 4,000 lawsuits have been lodged against Boehringer Ingelheim, the maker of Pradaxa. A large number of these cases were settled as part of a $650 million The injuries cited in these cases ranged from pulmonary embolism and brain hemorrhage to epidural hematoma. Since the settlement, more lawsuits related to Pradaxa-induced bleeding have been filed, suggesting that further compensation may be available for those who have suffered recent harm from the drug.
  3. Camp Lejeune Water Contamination: Victims of toxic water at Camp Lejeune could potentially receive settlements totaling over $21 billion. The Congressional Budget Office anticipates expenditures of more than $6.1 billion between 2022 and 2031, with an additional $15 billion expected after 2031. These settlements, which are distinct from a VA claim, could offer victims further compensation. The contamination took place at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. From 1953 to 1987, it was found that two of the base’s water treatment facilities were polluted with volatile organic compounds, including recognized carcinogens such as trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, benzene, and vinyl chloride.

Why Do Settlement Amounts Differ So Much?

Settlement amounts in California, as in other states, can differ significantly due to a variety of factors. Here are some key reasons:

  1. Severity of Injuries: The extent and nature of the injuries sustained play a crucial role in determining the settlement amount. More severe injuries typically result in higher medical costs, longer recovery times, and greater pain and suffering, which can all contribute to a higher settlement.
  2. Impact on Quality of Life: If the injury has led to a significant decrease in the victim’s quality of life or has resulted in permanent disability, the settlement amount may be higher to compensate for these long-term effects.
  3. Economic Damages: These include quantifiable losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. The higher these costs, the higher the potential settlement.
  4. Non-Economic Damages: These refer to intangible losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are subjective and can vary greatly from case to case.
  5. Liability: The degree of fault or liability in the incident can also affect the settlement amount. If the victim shares some of the blame for the incident, it may reduce the potential settlement.
  6. Legal Representation: The skill and experience of the victim’s attorney can also influence the settlement amount. An experienced attorney may be able to negotiate a higher settlement on behalf of their client.

Every case is unique so these factors will play out differently in each situation.

toxic torts

Common Toxic Torts You Can File a Lawsuit for

Here are some common toxic torts for which you can file a lawsuit:

  • Lead Poisoning: This can occur from exposure to lead in paint, pipes, and the workplace.
  • Lung Disease: Caused by exposure to silica and asbestos in industries such as mining, construction, and heavy equipment operations.
  • Birth Injuries: These can occur due to exposure to solvents, pesticides, and toxic waste, leading to conditions such as leukemia.
  • Organ and Nerve Damage: This can be caused by exposure to benzene, heavy metal poisoning, and certain medications.
  • Pharmaceutical Drugs: Dangerous side effects from pharmaceutical drugs that were unexpected can lead to a toxic tort claim.
  • Exposure to Toxins at Home: This includes exposure to toxic mold growing on drywall or a company polluting your water supply.
  • Exposure to Chemicals at Work: Exposure to industrial solvents without proper ventilation or asbestos on job sites can lead to a claim.
  • Dangerous Consumer Products: Products such as pesticides linked to cancer can result in a toxic tort claim.

If you believe you have been exposed to a dangerous substance that caused harm, we recommend consulting with an attorney who specializes in toxic tort cases.

How Do You Prove a Toxic Tort?

Proving a toxic tort involves demonstrating several key elements:

  1. Exposure to a Dangerous Substance: You must show that you were exposed to a toxin or dangerous substance.
  2. Defendant’s Legal Responsibility: You need to establish that the defendant had a legal obligation, and they breached this obligation, leading to your exposure.
  3. Causation: You must prove that the exposure was the direct cause of the harm you endured. This often involves showing both general and specific causation – that the substance is harmful to people generally, and that it caused your specific injury.
  4. Harm or Injury: You must demonstrate that you have suffered or are currently suffering from the exposure. This could be physical harm, such as health conditions or diseases, or financial harm, such as medical expenses.

Given the technical nature of toxic torts, expert testimony is often required to establish these elements. The experts can provide scientific evidence about the toxicity of the substance, the level of exposure that is hazardous to human beings, and your level of exposure.

proving a toxic tort

Why Hiring a Lawyer Can Be Beneficial for Toxic Tort Lawsuits

Hiring a lawyer for a toxic tort lawsuit in California can be highly beneficial due to the complex nature of these cases. Toxic tort laws can be intricate and vary from state to state. A lawyer who specializes in this field will have a deep understanding of these laws, especially as they apply in California. They can help navigate through the complexities of the legal system, ensuring that all procedures are correctly followed.

Proving a toxic tort case often requires scientific evidence and expert testimony. Experienced toxic tort lawyers have the resources and knowledge to gather this evidence and understand how to analyze and present it effectively. They also have experience negotiating with insurance companies and other parties, which can help ensure you receive a fair settlement.

If your case goes to trial, a lawyer can represent you in court, presenting your case in the most compelling way possible. Lastly, having a lawyer handle your case can provide peace of mind, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery while they handle the legal aspects.

Get Connected with a Lawyer

Every toxic tort case is unique, and having the right legal representation can make all the difference. If you or a loved one has been affected by a toxic tort in California, we can help you find exceptional legal help, at no cost. At LawLinq, we understand the importance of connecting you with the right attorney for your specific needs.

LawLinq is a California-based lawyer referral service that can connect you with experienced toxic tort attorneys in your area. Our network of attorneys specializes in various areas of law, including toxic torts, and they have the knowledge and expertise to handle the complexities of these cases.

To get started, simply contact us and provide some basic information about your case. Our team will then match you with a suitable attorney from our network who can provide the legal assistance you need, at no cost or obligation.

About the Author

Jessica Anvar

California Consumer Litigation Attorney Jessica Anvar, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lemon Law Experts California’s leading lemon law firm. She has multiple years’ worth of experience working with both state and federal lemon laws. Her practice focuses exclusively on consumer protection cases. Ms. Anvar received her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University. Jessica is very active in her local legal community and has helped thousands of clients across the state of California. She has an outstanding record as a true advocate for consumers.

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