If you own or operate a business in California, you have likely heard the phrase “toxic tort” uttered in legal meetings or written about by various media outlets. This phrase is ubiquitous in California legal and business circles, partially because California has such stringent environmental laws. However, this term is not always fully understood. The risk of not understanding this term is that your business could be held liable for committing a toxic tort even if you have acted with the best of intentions.

Toxic torts are best understood as personal injury claims filed by a person, business or interested entity. These claims tend to involve pollution, contamination or other toxic exposure to people, businesses or the environment. You may not even know that your business’s waste, production measures or operations are resulting in such pollution or contamination to be held liable for this kind of harm.

It is worth noting that toxic tort claims often accompany other allegations, including property damage or nuisance. These claims tend to be civil in nature, although some toxic exposure cases can have criminal allegations filed in regards to the same situation as well.

If you have questions or concerns about the concept of toxic torts, please consider speaking with an experienced California environmental law attorney. Failure to fully understand this concept and how your business practices could be leading you towards liability for committing one could lead to expensive and complex litigation. Taking the time to better grasp what this concept means generally and what it means for your business specifically could save you a great deal of time, effort and resources.