Pollotion Accident Information
Information about Environmental Hazards and Pollution Accidents, including a list of the types of Pollution Accidents, a guide for determining liability, and the statute of limitions.
Understanding Environmental Hazards
Pollution can be defined as the contamination of air, water, or land by harmful substances. In 1970, the National Environmental Policy Act was passed along with another environmental act known as the Environmental Quality Improvement Act with the purpose of protecting the environment from public or private actions that could cause damage. In the years following these two landmark environmental protection laws, state and federal governments have enacted many laws to protect individuals and the environment from the devastating effects of pollution, including the Clean Water and Clean Air acts. Unfortunately, enforcement of these regulations is often lax and damage often occurs before agencies charged with enforcement can discover violations. Many industries, such as the petrochemical industry, refineries, and the agriculture industry, knowingly violate environmental laws and place the health of the environment and people at risk. These violations include illegal dumping and releasing of toxic byproducts into waterways, emitting toxic waste from smoke stacks, and improperly disposing of livestock waste and the byproducts of slaughter. Exposure to environmental hazards in the air, water, or soil can cause serious health problems, including respiratory problems, cancers, liver or kidney problems, and many different types of illnesses. If an individual is harmed by an environmental hazard that was the result of someone's negligence, an experienced environmental hazard attorney can represent him or her in a lawsuit and hold the guilty party responsible.
Toxic tort lawsuits are designed to protect the rights of people who have been seriously injured due to exposure to toxic materials found in our air, water, and food. This harmful exposure may arise from the workplace, environmental contamination, or a consumer product, and may result in health problems such as cancer, birth defects, and major organ disease (such as lung, brain and central nervous system, kidney, or liver). The three grounds for suit that may be utilized in toxic tort litigation are negligence, breach of warranty, and strict product liability. Regardless of which ground is used, the issue to be resolved by the judge or jury is whether the conduct of the defendant in the way it used a chemical, mineral or other harmful product was unreasonably dangerous and thereby caused injury to the plaintiff or a group of plaintiffs. The primary issues in toxic tort cases will be the conduct of the defendant, the dangers known to exist at the time the defendant engaged in the conduct of which it is accused, and the causal relationship of the offending agent to the plaintiff's injuries. The responsible parties in toxic tort cases may include corporations, manufacturers of toxic substances, and users of toxic substances. Toxic tort claims typically rely heavily upon the testimony of expert witnesses on all of these issues. Potential expert witnesses include doctors with specialties in the diagnosis and treatment of persons injured by toxins, toxicologists, and certified industrial hygienists.
Types of Environmental Pollution
The three primary types of environmental pollution are water pollution, air pollution, and soil pollution.Water Pollution: Water pollution is defined as contamination of water by a foreign matter that deteriorates the quality of the water. The negative consequences of water pollution are most readily seen when pollutants reach groundwater reservoirs, creating serious health hazards to large numbers of people drinking the water. Groundwater pollution is one of the most common forms of toxic tort contamination. A number of harmful contaminants, such as chromium, mercury, benzene, pesticides and other toxins, have the potential to become dangerous groundwater pollutants. Air Pollution: Air pollution is defined as any contamination of the atmosphere that disturbs the natural composition and chemistry of the air. There are many factors that can contribute to air pollution, including chemical plants, car emissions, paints, gas stations, and ndustrial production and waste. Global warming, acid rain, smog, and ozone depletion are some of the harmful effects of air pollution. Soil Pollution: Soil contamination, also known as land pollution, is the presence of man-made chemicals or other alterations in the natural soil environment. This type of pollution often results from the rupture of underground storage tanks, application of pesticides, percolation of contaminated surface water to subsurface strata, leaching of wastes from landfills, or direct discharge of industrial wastes to the soil. The most common chemicals involved in land pollution are petroleum hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides, lead and other heavy metals.
Environmental pollution can have an negative effect on your health, your property and your quality of life, and therefore may be grounds for claiming damages. Depending upon the type of pollution and the nature of the contamination, claims may be filed against parties such as manufacturers and distributors of the substance source, a landlord or property owner, an insurance company, or any other party deemed responsible for the contamination. Potential grounds for claiming damages include injuries caused by toxic waste disposal, water contamination violations, air quality violations, water drainage violations, and environmental impact violations. Liability in an environmental hazard case may depend on a number of factors, including the type of contamination, the source of contamination, and the level of damage. Before a claim can be filed, the perpetrator of the pollution has to be identified, and this can be a long and expensive process. Once the responsible party or parties have been identified, the government can take action to either recoup the cost of the clean up from them or to demand that they deal with the clean up of the contamination. The process of identifying and suing the parties responsible for contamination can be lengthy, and it may require an independent investigation and a variety of tests before any identification is made and any legal action can be taken. An experienced toxic tort or environmental pollution lawyer will have the knowledge and resources to handle these complicated cases and help those injured by pollutants receive the compensation they need and deserve.
Statute of Limitations
If you feel that you have been harmed by an environmental hazard, it is important to be aware that there may be limitations on the time you have to pursue a case, so you must take legal action as soon as possible. Some states have statutes of limitation, which set a deadline for filing a claim for damages. These time limits vary depending upon which state you are filing your case in. After this period has expired, you may lose your rights to any compensation for your injuries, regardless of fault. For this reason it is essential to seek legal assistance as early as possible to increase your chances of success. Your environmental hazard lawyer will then have the time to do the necessary research in order to put together a solid case and give you the best chance of a successful outcome.
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