The common majority of people often view environmental laws as conservation measures or mandates for businesses to conduct themselves in a greener manner. Environmental litigation is, in actuality, legal actions taken against corporations or individuals whose actions have caused real harm to others by destroying property or causing health complications.
Our health and safety is easily threatened when the air we breathe or the food and water we consume prove to be toxic and it is the duty of the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration to ensure that our population is adequately defended against environmental threats caused by other human beings.
Effects of Environmental Policies on Innocent Bystanders
When the environmental policies of an individual or corporation interfere with the rights of others, this is considered to be a nuisance. Environmental nuisances can cause physical harm or result in the destruction or devaluation of property and include the following.
- Pollution that reaches public waterways or water tables. When toxic materials result in the injuries or deaths of those who consume or come in contact with them, it is the responsibility of the company that has caused the pollution to provide compensation for the victims. Examples include an oil spill polluting public rivers and lakes or the dumping of toxic chemicals into waters that come into contact with the public or their water supplies.
- Excessive air pollution that results in illnesses of those nearby. The Clean Air Act has given the EPA powers to establish standards that regulate the amount of toxic waste corporations are permitted to release into the air. Should a company emit excessive amounts of toxic materials such as sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide, it is possible to hold the company liable for any injuries resulting from diminished quality of air in the surrounding area.
- Improper or toxic use of pesticide. Pesticides can be incredibly toxic if used in excessive quantities and over densely populated areas. Corporations that fail to abide by regulations controlling the use of pesticides may be penalized and held responsible for any injuries that are determined to be linked to the use of the pesticide in question.
- Chemical waste and manufacturing. Chemicals serve many useful purposes but can also be harmful to both the environment and those who come into contact with them. When employees are not provided protection from the chemicals they are exposed to over a prolonged period of time, their employers may be held liable and if the chemicals pollute the surrounding environment, those who are injured as a result may also have claims against the negligent company.
Knowing When to Contact an Attorney to Pursue a Toxic Tort Case
Some environmental nuisances are more obvious than others. For instance, if a company dumps chemicals or toxic waste into a lake and it washes up onto the shore of a property owner, that property owner has the right to sue for damages. In other cases, an environmental disaster or hazard may cause you to develop a medical condition only after many years of prolonged exposure.
Only a qualified environmental litigator can truly evaluate your case and determine whether your injuries or damages were the result of a breach of environmental law. Environmental disasters usually encompass an area or region that has been affected by the toxin or pollutant responsible. If you are not the lone victim and others are getting sick or injured in the same manner, it is most likely due to an environmental hazard and you should contact an attorney who will be willing to investigate the matter further on your behalf.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are both qualified and experienced in personal injury cases that include environmental litigation. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys so that you may learn about your rights and legal options as we collect the details of your case so that we may perform our own thorough investigation into the matter. Our attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that if we are unable to assist you or fail to collect compensation on your behalf, you will never be required to pay for our services. We only win if you do, and we will do everything in our power to recover the compensation that you deserve.