The term ‘environmental disaster’ covers a wide range of situations.
It can be something small, like an explosion or a fire at a local chemical plant, or it can be something as large as the Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown in 1986 that left a city uninhabitable to this day.
A disaster usually refers to widespread areas, but if a mishap at your work leaves you injured, disabled, or sick from pollutants, it’s a disaster in your world.
Depending on the size and scope of the disaster, you have plenty of legal options to pursue. Responsible parties can be government agencies, individuals, or corporations. If a large group of people is adversely affected by a disaster, a class action lawsuit can be filed.
Types of Environmental Disasters
It’s important to note the many different types of environmental disasters. These can be one-time events or accumulate over time.
Agricultural: These are events that negatively impact crops. A prime example is the Dust Bowl that took place in the central regions of the United States and Canada in the 1930s. Severe drought and improper farming methods led to tens of thousands of people having to abandon their farms due to their crops being ruined.
Industrial: These occur as a result of industries or entities impacting the natural environment on either a small or large scale. These are generally long-term events like air pollution and water contamination, such as the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Over 75 lawsuits have been filed alleging that old lead pipes caused a number of debilitating conditions, and the government was negligent in trying to curb the crisis.
Nuclear: Nuclear disasters are set apart from industrial ones due to the scope of the damage. As we mentioned, an entire city surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear plant has been abandoned and dozens died due to short- and long-term radiation poisoning and associated cancers.
Damages You Can Seek in Response to Environmental Disasters
In many cases, corporations are responsible for environmental dangers by cutting corners or ignoring risks, usually with the goal of saving money. Whether it’s an individual suit or a class action, there are several damages you can cite, including:
Health Issues/Medical Expenses
Pain and Suffering/Emotional Distress
Loss of Wages/Future Income
Decrease in Property Value
Evacuation and Relocation Expenses
Class action lawsuits are also effective ways for businesses to be held accountable, not only for the past but for the future as well. We have found that class action settlements generally include provisions for the responsible party to implement new business practices and safety features to ensure that the environmental disaster isn’t repeated.
If you or someone you love has been negatively impacted by an environmental disaster, your first course of action should be to contact an attorney that is well-versed in handling the fallout from man-made disasters. The lawyers at Stewart & Stewart are among the most experienced in the state of Indiana when it comes to these types of cases – including chemical spills, air pollution, and groundwater contamination. We’ll take on the big corporations and hold them responsible, so you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you – call 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.
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