Every year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implements several environmental laws across the United States and New York. These laws are enacted to protect individuals from being subjected to harmful toxins. Companies are required to adhere to guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
New York State has been ahead of the game in enacting laws that work to protect the environment and everyone in it. Even with this forward-thinking, accidents and abuses happen, and innocent people suffer the consequences. Our law firm has extensive experience in helping clients with environmental litigations. Our lawyers specialize in handling cases in this complex area of law where regulations designed to protect the environment as well as the public’s health fail to do so.
When a company avoids putting EPA laws into effect, they can be held liable for property damage and injuries caused by harmful toxins they emit. These toxins often include dry cleaning chemicals or solvents, herbicides and pesticides, asbestos, and industrial chemicals as well as numerous other hazardous substances. These are often odorless and cannot be seen, increasing the potential harm they can have on individuals and products nearby.
Common Environmental Hazards
When it comes to environmental litigations, there are several hazards that can be considered. Some of the most common forms of environmental toxins are:
– Toxic waste – whether it is medical, radioactive, mineral or chemical waste, each of these can have a damaging impact on surrounding areas and people.
– Contaminated water – this usually occurs when companies or individuals recklessly dump pollutants in the area. Pollutants are sometimes dumped directly into rivers, lakes, and other bodies of waters or onto land from where the chemicals then transfer into water via storm run-offs.
– Polluted air – companies that work with airborne toxins, asbestos fibers, and other harmful chemicals without proper ventilation can heavily pollute the air surrounding their locations.
– Environmental hazards – Other things with pollutants that can make you sick. Some common types are formaldehyde treated carpets, lead paint, and toxic mold.
The Difficulty of Environmental Claims
Environmental litigations are often extremely complex. Regardless of how complex a case may be, the laws all agree that a company has a legal obligation to protect individuals. If a person is exposed to harmful toxins as a result of a company or employer not acting with reasonable prudence for the circumstances, they can be considered negligent and subject to legal action.
Maintaining compliance with environmental laws set forth by the EPA is a significant commitment on the part of companies and manufacturers as well as enterprises that occupy land throughout New York State. While many adhere to the guidelines, not all do and the consequences can be life-altering.
After identifying the hazard, you may be able to file a lawsuit. The type of suit depends heavily on what your desired outcome is. If you want the violator to clean up the contamination, you can bring a citizen suit to court. This can be done on behalf of the government if the Environmental Protection Agency has identified the contamination. If the pollution has not been identified, you will be responsible for investigating and proving that it does exist.
Monetary damages can be recovered in cases where the hazard caused harm to you or your property. This type of suit is filed in civil court. A successful case often involves proving that you were exposed to the hazard and that the hazard caused harm to you as a result.
When certain hazards impact a large group of people, class action lawsuits may be possible. Joining this type of suit is often viewed as a shortcut to proving you were harmed as the results of someone else’s negligent handling of hazardous products.
If you have no class action case to join, you have to prove the hazard is one that harmed you directly. If a chemical is known to be hazardous, you can use this information in court. It can help to collect evidence of other people getting sick or being harmed in the same manner as you.
If you or a loved one has been affected by a harmful substance, our team of New York lawyers can help you build and defend your case to ensure you receive the highest compensation possible.
Recovering Damages in Environmental Litigations
Companies involved in environmental lawsuits will often offer to settle. This action means they offer an injured party an amount of money to avoid going to court. If you agree to settle, you are surrendering your right to sue for damages at any point in the future. This is a big commitment that can have long-term consequences, so it is essential to consult with a lawyer to determine if this in your best interest to do so.
If you decide against settling, you will go to court. In this case, you will have to prove your position and a jury will decide how much a company should pay you as a result of the damages they caused. Working with a reputable lawyer will ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to and defend your legal rights along the way.
The amount of compensation varies depending on the damage that was done but having an experienced environmental litigation attorney at your side will guarantee you receive all that is available.
Experienced New York Environmental Litigation Lawyers
If you are considering an environmental lawsuit against a negligent actor, it is crucial for you to consult with a team of reputable lawyers in order to gather evidence in support of your claim. Our team has helped clients for nearly twenty years get the compensation they deserve.
At Silbowitz, Garafola, Silbowitz, Schatz, and Frederick, LLP we work hard to ensure your rights are protected. We help clients explore their legal options and obtain the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been harmed by environmental violations, call us today at (212) 354-6800 for a free case evaluation.