Local waste removal ordinances may ban the disposal of hazardous materials through the regular trash collection process. Specific chemicals could cause a fire when disposed of improperly. Persons exposed to chemicals may suffer extreme burns or even blindness. Therefore, the local municipality might set aside a specific day of the year for hazardous materials collections. Usually, a homeowner must drop the chemicals off at a designated waste dump. Those not willing to follow appropriate disposal steps for cans and plastic containers containing hazardous materials may place them in a recyclables trash can with the hopes that waste collectors won't notice. What happens if someone goes through the recycling container, hoping to find something salvageable or even discarded food to eat? Any resultant injuries could lead the responsible party into a lawsuit.
Creating the Hazard
Whether someone "should or shouldn't" root through a recycling bin may not be the issue here. When a homeowner violates safety ordinances and puts hazardous chemicals into a trash container, they create a hazard. Any person going through the recycling container might also possess a reasonable expectation that he/she won't find dangerous chemicals inside. A jury may eventually find the injured party is partially responsible for their injuries due to rooting through the container. However, the person who placed the dangerous chemicals in the container shares responsibility for the harm.
"Not Knowing" Might Not Be A Viable Defense
A homeowner may not know that placing dangerous chemicals out with the "normal trash" is illegal. As with criminal statutes, ignorance of the law won't likely lead to a viable defense. Whoever takes possession of store-bought chemical products may also be liable for accepting responsibility for their safe use, storage, and disposal—unknowingly acting with poor care would probably not allow someone to sidestep claims of negligence.
Attempts at Hiding the Chemicals
While "not knowing" may provide no defense, deliberate attempts to hide the chemicals could open doors to punitive damages. Someone who crosses or removes the labeling on hazardous chemical containers may be trying to hide something. Using a magic marker to hide writing on hazardous containers while leaving other harmless containers alone creates suspicion. Questions may arise about the person knowing he/she was doing something improper and unsafe. Juries might consider such questions when assessing damages and punitive awards.
A personal injury lawyer could meet with a client over negligence claims when he/she suffers harm from improper disposals. The attorney might advise on how to go forward after an initial meeting. Contact a personal injury attorney, such as Schonberg Law Offices, for more information.Share
2 October 2020
When a person is involved in an accident that's caused by someone else, they may need to speak with an accident and personal injury attorney. Mounting costs of medical care and time off from work can cause money problems for people who are injured. Those who hire an attorney can often receive monetary compensation from the responsible party. We aren't involved in the legal profession, but we do understand the stress that injuries and medical bills can cause. We've researched legal information and written this blog to help those who are in this situation. We hope the articles on our site will answer the questions you have about accident and personal injury attorneys.