Legal Claims for Improperly Applied Pesticides Causing Serious Injuries

Pesticide application is highly regulated because of the potential it has to harm and kill people.  While many pest control companies do take proper precautions, there are also a significant number that do not, and harm people as the result.  Often times the technicians who apply pesticides improperly are unlicensed or poorly trained, and are ignorant of the harm they are doing to the very people they are supposed to be helping.  In certain cases, the pesticide injury attorneys at Whitney, LLP have informed Maryland’s Department of Agriculture of pest control companies illegally applying chemicals, and those companies have been investigated and fined.  Individuals who are injured by a pest control company negligently applying pesticides have legal claims.Whitney, LLP’s pesticide injury attorneys have experience handling cases against pest control companies and provide legal consultations to potential pesticide injury clients.

A Delaware family of four suffered devastating injuries in 2015 when a Terminix company in the U.S. Virgin Islands improperly applied pesticides at a vacation resort where the family was staying. Terminix fumigated the unit below the unit the family was renting with a pesticide called methyl bromide. In 1984, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had banned methyl bromide from being used indoors. Reportedly, the family was flown to Philadelphia hospitals due to “debilitating injuries”, and Terminix’s parent company agreed to pay $87 million dollars to the family as a settlement.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Terminix used methyl bromide in multiple residential locations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that two Terminix companies have also agreed to pay over $9 million combined in criminal fines, community service, and restitution.

The importance of pest control companies following the law, and the potentially devastating consequences when they fail to do so, was expressed by Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice:

“The tragic incident at issue in this case shows the extreme danger posed by the improper use of toxic pesticides. . . Businesses using these products must take appropriate cautions to safeguard the public, or else the consequences can be devastating”. See the full statement here.


Companies that apply pesticides in or around your home have a duty to do so with a reasonable level of care within industry standards and in compliance with applicable laws. Pest control companies must be licensed and must properly train their employees. Pesticide companies may apply the wrong chemical, or as happened in the Virgin Islands, they may even apply a pesticide that has been banned. Pesticide companies may apply a product at a concentration that is higher than the manufacturer’s instructions. Sometimes pest control companies incorrectly apply pesticides, such as spraying while people are still in the area being sprayed.

The pesticides these companies use can cause serious personal injuries when applied negligently or illegally. In order to prove your case against a pest control company, you might need to prove the following elements:

  1. The pesticide company, through the contract you signed and the applicable laws, owed you a duty to apply the correct pesticide in the correct concentration and in a reasonably safe manner;
  2. The pesticide company breached that duty by failing to use the skill that a reasonable pesticide company would use; and
  3. Because the pesticide company breached that duty, you suffered injury.

When a pesticide company is negligent, you might be entitled to financial compensation for damages including personal injuries and emotional distress, as well as any related monetary losses.


When you’ve been injured by pesticides, hiring an attorney can help you fight to get the compensation you deserve. Negligent pest control companies do not deserve to walk away after causing injury to your or your family. Talk to the pesticide negligence attorneys at Whitney, LLP today to see what you might be entitled to in compensation. Our initial consultations are free, and our attorneys work on a contingency fee – meaning you pay nothing until we recover compensation for you. Call (410) 583-8000 today to talk to our attorneys, or use our Quick Contact Form.


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