Posted on: 16 March 2017
Most ailments -- even relatively rare ones -- may not raise many questions or suspicions on their own. However, if you've noticed that a number of people in your immediate area seem to be dealing with the same symptoms you have, your illness could be the result of pollutants or contaminants in your environment. For example, residents near one military base who were allegedly made ill by fire extinguisher discharge in their drinking water recently filed a class action lawsuit to recover funds for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Read on to learn about some of the steps you'll want to take when dealing with a growing suspicion that your own illness has a verifiable environmental cause.
What should you do once this type of suspicion has been raised?
Unless you have a background in private investigation or forensic science, it's unlikely you'll be able to crack this type of case on your own -- however, there are some preliminary steps you may be able to take before seeking legal advice to improve the odds your case will find its way to a courtroom.
Your first step just involves talking to your friends and neighbors to see what they've noticed. Often, especially in cases involving environmental cancers, speaking to others in the area can quickly give you a clear picture of where the problems lie -- and during this process, you may discover that the illnesses or deaths alleged to have resulted from environmental contamination reach back years or even decades.
You'll also want to begin gathering evidence, including names, dates, and notes of your conversations. If you're able to turn over an entire notebook of interviews and notes from other potential victims, it's much more likely your case will be taken seriously by a class action attorney, and having this information at the ready can save a significant amount of time and legal fees.
What will you need to prove in court to recover against the defendant?
In order to ensure the defendant will be found liable, and to recover civil damages, you'll need to prove two main factors: 1) the defendant negligently, carelessly, or recklessly caused an environmental issue to manifest; and 2) this neglect and resulting environmental issue directly caused your injury. This means that an entity can be found liable for everything from improper dumping (contaminating the soil and groundwater) to violating EPA regulations on soot emissions.
After you've proven fault, you'll then need to establish damages. This is generally the easiest part of the process; by showing that you've become ill and incurred medical bills, time off work, and other costs as a result of this illness, you'll establish a right to judgment from the defendants. For more information, contact companies like The Fitzpatrick Law Firm.Share