Pesticides are used widely in agriculture, landscaping, and gardening, as well as inside homes and offices. They kill insects that destroy crops, damage buildings, or carry diseases. When handled improperly, they also damage humans.A person who suffers a personal injury as a result of being exposed to a harmful pesticide may file a lawsuit seeking compensation.
Pesticides Can Injure or Cause Illness
When a pesticide is eaten or inhaled, or comes in contact with the skin, it may have a wide range of harmful effects. Some pesticides harm the nervous system or organs. Others may cause cancers or other illnesses. The harmful effects of pesticide exposure may appear immediately. In some cases, however, they may not become apparent until many years have passed.
Legal Liability Is Based on Negligence
Most lawsuits involving pesticides focus on the defendant's negligence. Negligence is a legal principle that holds a person financially responsible when his carelessness injures another person. In general, a person injured by a pesticide must show that the defendant has a duty of reasonable care toward the injured party. For example, a manufacturer may be negligent if it sells a pesticide to the public without carefully researching its likely effects on people.
Proving Liability May Be Hard
To win a lawsuit, a person harmed by a pesticide must show that the pesticide was dangerous. The person must also prove exposure and harm. In many cases, proving that a pesticide caused a specific injury or illness can be difficult. For example, a defendant may suggest that the plaintiff's exposure to other chemicals over the years may have caused the injury instead.
Manufacturers May Be Liable
A manufacturer may believe that a pesticide is safe when it begins selling the product. However, the manufacturer may be liable for personal injuries if the product is later found to contain harmful ingredients. A pesticide manufacturer may also be liable if its safety instructions do not sufficiently warn people exposed to the pesticide.
Employers and Other Users May Be Liable
Employers may be liable for pesticide-related injuries if they fail to set up adequate employee safety rules. For example, employers may require employees who are exposed to pesticides to wear gloves, goggles, and respirators. In many states, workers compensation laws may prevent an employee from suing an employer. However, workers compensation insurance may provide health care and various cash benefits to employees injured by pesticide exposure. Pest control companies, neighbors, or other individuals using a pesticide may also be liable for damages if they injure someone by using a pesticide negligently.
A Lawyer Can Help
The law related to personal injuries resulting from pesticide exposure is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a personal injury lawyer.