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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Involving Exposure to Mislabeled Toxic Chemicals Highlights Importance of Workplace Safety for Illinois Workers

In a recently filed lawsuit, Williams v. Deterex Corporation, the plaintiff alleges that her husband lost his life as a result of a company’s failure to appropriately label a load of hydrogen sulfide as hazardous. On April 26, 2016, the decedent was transporting a load of materials for the defendant chemical company to another location. After he offloaded the cargo, the decedent commenced the standard procedure used to wash out the truck’s tank. He was wearing protective gear at this time. While the tank wash was occurring, the decedent was exposed to fumes from the hazardous chemical that remained in the tank. On the following day, the decedent passed away.

Several state and federal regulations govern the safe handling of waste and hazardous waste materials. One rule, for example, requires trucks transporting such materials to carry a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest. The load that the decedent transported on April 26 was accompanied by a manifest. It stated, however, that the load was “non-hazardous, non D.O.T. regulated material” and identified the contents as “sulfate water/solids.” Also attached to the manifest was a laboratory analysis that allegedly verified the waste profile of the load. The analysis was conducted by U.S. Ecology on February 1, 2016, and it expired on March 10, 2016.

The plaintiff asserted multiple claims against the trucking company, including claims for negligence per se, negligence, fraudulent concealment, and loss of consortium.

A claim for negligence per se relies on proof that a defendant failed to comply with a law, rule, or regulation at the time of the accident. If the plaintiff can prove this violation, he or she is entitled to assert a rebuttable presumption that the defendant was negligent. In her claim for negligence per se, the plaintiff cited the expired laboratory analysis, among other things, as proof that the defendant breached the duty of care.

In her negligence claim, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the decedent or victim and failed to act according to that duty. The plaintiff must also prove that this breach was the direct cause of the decedent’s death or the victim’s injuries and provide evidence supporting any claim for monetary compensation.

According to her complaint, the surviving wife alleged that the trucking company knew or should have known that the load was actually a highly dangerous and hazardous waste material that could cause serious injuries or even death to the decedent if it were handled improperly. Additionally, she alleges that the defendant failed to follow appropriate procedures used to transport and dispose of dangerous waste materials.

At Moll Law Group, our toxic tort attorneys have assisted numerous victims with seeking compensation after suffering injuries due to toxic chemical exposure. These types of lawsuits can be very complicated and often require testimony from scientific experts to establish a link between the exposure and the resulting injury. We represent victims and their families across the country, including in Illinois, Texas, California, and Florida. To set up your free consultation, call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online.

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