What Are Paraquat Settlements?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition that impairs movement and mobility in its sufferers. If you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease that can be tied to exposure to paraquat, you may qualify to join in lawsuits seeking financial compensation. The Mass Tort Lawsuit attorneys in our network can explain what the paraquat settlements are, how you can share in a settlement pool, and the types of damages you could recover from paraquat’s manufacturer.
If you were exposed to paraquat in residential or commercial applications, the manufacturer’s failure to make the risks of using their product known could help you and other injured parties collect compensation. A lawyer will review your case, including your medical records and history of paraquat use. The Mass Tort attorney will also handle the manufacturer and their insurance company for you so that you can focus on your current health and getting the care you need.
Paraquat Lawsuit Settlements and Recalls – Parkinson’s Disease
Paraquat lawsuits have not reached the settlement phase to date. Settlements nor settlement amounts can be guaranteed. Resolving lawsuits like these takes time, and settlement agreements may not be made for some time. Paraquat lawsuits allege products containing this dangerous chemical lead to a higher chance of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Compensation in Paraquat Lawsuits
Parkinson’s disease cannot be cured. Once diagnosed, you will live with its circumstances and limitations for the rest of your life. Treating a lifelong disease means incurring ongoing health care costs. Treatment can also mean limiting your ability to continue working. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine research, treatments that can help manage the condition and improve your life include:
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
When you join other people who were injured by the use of or exposure to paraquat-containing products, you collectively hold the manufacturer responsible for your damaged health. Because it failed to provide adequate labeling and warning about the potential health hazard of using its product, the manufacturer could be responsible for the following recoverable damages:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Current and future lost wages
- Current and future pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress
If a loved one was exposed to the harmful chemicals in paraquat and succumbed to their illness or disease, the compensation you receive can include the costs of their funeral and burial. You can also recover damages for your loss of consortium, companionship, and guidance. Your lawyer will clarify which family members – typically spouses, parents, and children – can pursue wrongful death damages.
Punitive damages are awarded when the defendant’s actions are considered particularly egregious. Punitive damages can never be guaranteed but can be requested as part of your potential compensation. The lawyer who represents you and calculates your recoverable damages will inform you if punitive damages are possible in your case.
Will My Paraquat Case Be Handled as a Class Action?
When you work with one of the law firms in our network, your case will be not be handled as a class action but as a mass tort. The lawyers in our network represent multiple clients who hold a shared defendant responsible for their recoverable damages. The cases these lawyers prepare are called mass tort cases, and they are similar and dissimilar to class action cases in the following ways:
- Class action and mass tort cases are similar because both types of lawsuits bring several plaintiffs together to pursue the same defendant for financial compensation
- Class action and mass tort cases, however, are dissimilar because of the way settlements or jury verdicts are divided among the members of the lawsuit group
In a class action case, each plaintiff in the group shares equally in any resulting monetary award. In mass torts cases like the attorneys in our network prepare, each client’s recoverable damages are assessed and valued individually. Your Mass Tort lawyer will explain how your specific damages are assessed and the evidence he will collect. Among other evidence, your medical records and employment and salary history will be collected to establish the financial value of your damages.
There are advantages in pursuing damages as part of a mass tort group rather than individually. Each plaintiff is relieved of the individual burden of proving the at-fault party’s liability. Instead, all plaintiffs join together and share the cost of expert witnesses and other potential court costs.
How Is Paraquat Used?
According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) research, paraquat is one of the most popular herbicides in the United States. It was first introduced in 1964 and has been in use since. Its use is largely commercial versus residential in applications that include:
- Weed control
- Plant control
- Grass control
EPA research identifies paraquat as highly toxic and potentially fatal, stating that even one drop can be fatal if swallowed. There is also no available antidote to paraquat ingestion. Because of its risks to human beings’ health, EPA guidelines impose strict rules and regulations on the use, handling, and storage of paraquat. Products that contain paraquat must:
- Be limited to use by a highly trained and certified applicator
- Remain in their original, tamper-proof containers at all times
- Be stored safely out of the reach of all unauthorized users
- Not be stored in residential structures or on residential property
- Not be used in schools, parks, playgrounds, or on golf courses
Certified applicators are at risk of exposure when using products containing paraquat on commercial crops, including foodstuffs and plants. Groundskeepers, farmers and farmworkers, and other agricultural employees are at the highest risk of exposure, particularly long-term exposure, because of their potential to regularly use products that contain paraquat.
Despite their strict regulations regarding its use, paraquat has not been banned for use in the United States. EPA regulations, instead, require restrictive packaging and enhanced labeling that warns users of the potential threat to life that may follow exposure or contamination.
What Do We Know About Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by the death of cells in a specific region of the brain, as Johns Hopkins Medicine explains. The cells in this area produce dopamine, one of the chemicals in the brain that controls voluntary motion and movement.
Parkinson’s is a slow-moving disease that is typically evidenced by its sufferer’s hand tremors. In addition to tell-tale tremors, patients with Parkinson’s may exhibit:
- Loss of fine and gross motor skills
- Development of a stunted, uneven gait
- Rigidity, shuffling, and general imbalance
Additional Johns Hopkins Medicine research cites a connection between paraquat exposure and the development of Parkinson’s disease. Science Daily research also cites an increase in the risk of developing Parkinson’s after paraquat exposure by more than 2.5 times.
Once stricken, the disease is incurable, though symptoms management is possible. Treatment options include:
- Medication – it can take time and trial and error to discover the right combination of drugs to provide maximum symptom relief for each patient
- Surgical procedures that may include nerve grafts, small lesion removal, and deep brain stimulation
- A specific selection of supportive therapies that can change as the disease progresses and according to each patient’s response
The selection of therapies you might undergo includes physical, speech, and occupational training and support. Your health care provider will help you understand your diagnoses and the ways Parkinson’s disease will alter your physical abilities. If your diagnosis follows exposure to paraquat, a lawyer will help you explore your options for getting financial compensation.
How You Could Be Exposed to Paraquat
In recent years, paraquat use has become tightly controlled and highly regulated. Before these new restrictions were enforced, groundskeepers and others in similar professions used it widely. While its use is highly regulated today, people in certain careers can still be exposed to it. That includes:
- Lawncare workers
- Golf course groomers
- Farmers and farmworkers
- Commercial landscapers
Ordinary citizens who do not work in these industries can also be exposed to paraquat. Recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research cites the following ways you might be exposed to paraquat:
- Accidental ingestion or swallowing
- Contaminated food or water
- Exposure to unprotected or broken skin
- Accidental inhalation
You can also be exposed to paraquat by consuming food or water contaminated with paraquat spray, mist, or runoff. If paraquat is not handled properly, you can be exposed to it by handling the product or its packaging incorrectly. Additional avenues of exposure include:
- Failure to wear protective clothing and gear
- Living in areas where paraquat is heavily used
- Failure to properly dispose of contaminated clothing
Ingestion of paraquat can have almost immediate effects, while exposure or contamination may take days or longer to become evident. Long-term exposure poses additional risks. Where possible, every precaution should be taken to avoid paraquat exposure. In addition to Parkinson’s disease, it can cause other serious health issues with the heart and kidneys. It can also cause liver failure and scarred lungs.
Immediate Signs and Symptoms of Paraquat Exposure
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of paraquat exposure can ensure you get immediate medical assistance. Warning signs you should be on the lookout for include:
- Swollen mouth and throat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody diarrhea
- Low blood pressure
Do not ignore these symptoms. If you have been in close proximity to paraquat as part of your employment, do not delay getting medical help as soon as symptoms become apparent. The same applies if you live in a community where indirect exposure is probable.
Long-term Health Effects
Paraquat is highly toxic and can be deadly if ingested internally. If swallowing paraquat-containing products does not result in demise, long-term damage that can result from exposure will include:
- Lung damage
- Kidney failure
- Heart failure
- Esophageal scarring
These are the health effects that you might experience with minimal ingestion. If you or a loved one ingests large amounts of paraquat, survival is unlikely. The danger of ingestion or swallowing versus skin exposure can be combated by following EPA guidelines that prohibit transferring paraquat into any container other than its original one.
How You Can Protect Yourself, and What You Should Do if You Are Exposed to Paraquat
If you were exposed to paraquat while spraying it or while it was being sprayed, immediately remove and dispose of the contaminated clothing. Be careful to cut off shirts, sweaters, or other clothing that would normally be pulled over your face and head. Follow these additional safety protocols:
- Double-wrap the items you removed in plastic and set them aside.
- Do not handle contaminated clothing while barehanded.
- Wash any exposed skin immediately with lots of soapy water.
- Thoroughly and repeatedly rinse your eyes with non-soapy water.
- Carefully remove and throw away any contact lenses.
Inform your local health department of your exposure or contamination. Do not repeatedly handle the items you removed. Health department officials will take your double-wrapped clothing away for safe disposal. If you notice any adverse health symptoms, seek immediate medical help. Do not wait to seek medical attention because early intervention can be beneficial.
How Paraquat Exposure Is Treated in the Hospital
Sadly, there is no known remedy or antidote that can combat paraquat poisoning. If paraquat is ingested, get to the closest hospital immediately. When you have reached the hospital, health care professionals may:
- Remove the paraquat through decontamination
- Treat you with activated charcoal or Fuller’s earth
- Provide fluids intravenously (IV method) to aid in your treatment
- Provide medication to raise your blood pressure
The hospital’s health care team may also attempt to remove paraquat by suctioning if you reach the hospital within an hour of ingesting it. You will also receive care that maintains your comfort, including ventilation and dialysis if warranted.
Explore Your Paraquat Settlement Options
If exposure to paraquat-containing products damaged your health, you could be entitled to financial compensation. Find out what the paraquat settlements are and how you can get compensation from the product’s manufacturer. Fill out our contact form for help with your case, or call 1.844.448.6787 for a free consultation today.