When Harm Takes Time
Harm that comes on slowly and gradually can be just as debilitating as a sudden accident. When it takes more time to discover that harm is being done, it could be an intentional sort of harm rather than accidental. Being subject to a substance or event that causes harm to sneak up on a victim slowly can be devastating, and the way civil law addresses this form of harm is different than when a sudden event is the cause. Read on to find out more about when harm takes its time.
What Can Cause Slow Harm?
While accident victims of all types deserve compensation, those who are hurt in a more subtle manner may be reluctant to take action and get what they deserve. You may blame yourself for the way you allowed a certain toxic cleaning substance that you used in your home to hurt you. Or you may have not realized that the pesticide you were spraying on your yard to control pests was actually slowly causing a cancer to grow. Perhaps you had a job and had to work around a harmful substance like asbestos, still sometimes used in the US. None of those examples can be blamed on the victim.
Who Is Responsible for Slow Harm?
The manufacturers of bad products or those responsible for regulating an entity are to blame when a person is hurt using a product or consuming a medication or food. Even the drinking water in some cities is harmful. Harm can come from water, workplaces, products, and more. As long as accident victims use the product as recommended, they are not to blame for the harm that came to them as a result.
The Statute of Limitations and Slow Harm
Civil law (and criminal law) subjects victims and defendants alike to time limitations for filing a lawsuit. With slow harm, months or years might pass before the victim became aware that they were suffering from the effects of a toxic and harmful substance. For example, exposure to asbestos must be constant and sustained for it to cause harm. Occasional exposure is not usually dangerous. The victim, however, may not realize they have been affected until it's too late. Asbestos exposure can cause scar tissue to form to protect the lungs from tiny fibers. It can take years before the victim begins to suffer from breathing problems. For this reason, the statute of limitations makes an exception for slow harm. Once you are diagnosed, you still have to follow the rules in your state, however.
No matter how long ago you were exposed, speak to a personal injury lawyer about your case.