Medical Monitoring Costs for Toxic Exposure in Maryland
The Maryland Court of Appeals recognized, for the first time, the right of plaintiffs to recover costs for medical monitoring to toxic substances in the case Exxon v. Albright.
Significant exposure to toxic substance because of the defendant’s negligent acts
Because of the exposure, the plaintiff has an increased likelihood of contracting a disease
There is a need for increased medical tests
Procedures and diagnostic tools for early detection exist
As part of evaluation the reasonable of monitoring, the court will look at the the extent of the exposure, toxicity of the substances involved, relative increase in the likelihood of developing a disease and the value of early diagnosis.
For example, an exposure to a substance that is known to cause cancer would be a good candidate for medical monitoring. Victims of the exposure need to show that they had a an increased risk to develop the disease through expert medical testimony. There are ample cancer screening mechanisms in existence and being developed every day. Early detection of cancer is critical to survival rates.
Other states around the country including West Virginia, California and Louisiana also recognize a claim for medical monitoring. Others such as Kentucky have rejected independent claims for medical monitoring unless you can show injuries.
In states such as Pennsylvania and Florida the medical monitoring is limited to negligence cases and does not apply in cases involving strict liability. Strict liability applies to situations where the activity or substance involved is considered inherently dangerous or in the case of product liability cases that the product was defective or dangerous when it left the manufacturer.