Water contamination is a serious issue. If you or your family has been affected by contaminated drinking water, it’s important to know what steps to take next.
This article will go over everything you need to consider if you’re thinking about filing a lawsuit against the contaminated water source that has affected your health and the health of your family.
What Are Water Contamination Lawsuits?
Water contamination lawsuits are civil lawsuits filed by victims of water contamination against the responsible parties. They can be filed against individuals, businesses, or government entities (including city agencies and municipalities) and claim damages for injuries suffered as a result of drinking or using contaminated water.
Here's how it works, you get sick from the tap water in your home, so you file a complaint with your city saying that their negligence caused you harm. Suppose they don't do anything about it. In that case, you can sue them and seek compensation for your medical bills as well as other costs related to diagnosing and treating whatever ailment(s) resulted from consuming contaminated tap water.
The Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit is an excellent example of that. Anyone can file if they have been affected by this particular contamination. Camp Lejeune was a Marine Corps base in North Carolina, and it was contaminated with chemicals from 1953 to 1987. The contaminants included industrial solvents, dry cleaning fluids, and degreasing agents used to clean equipment and buildings.
The government knew about the contamination and failed to inform residents of its dangers. They even claimed the water was safe to drink when it was not. As a result, many people suffered serious health problems as a result of their exposure to these toxic substances over time, including cancer and other diseases that were passed down through generations born on the base.
Levels of Compensation in Water Contamination Lawsuits
When you sue for water contamination, you can receive three different compensation levels: compensatory damages, punitive damages, and statutory damages.
Compensatory damages are payments that go to cover your losses stemming from the contaminated water. These include out-of-pocket expenses (like medical bills) and future costs that will be incurred due to the contaminated water (such as buying bottled water). The amount awarded for these types of damages depends on a variety of factors, such as how much time was spent treating illnesses or injuries caused by the contaminated water.
In contrast with compensatory damages, punitive damages punish a defendant who has acted unlawfully in some way rather than trying to make them pay back what they took from you financially. Punitive damage awards may be up to three times higher than compensatory awards in some states.
Statutory damages are another form of compensation available when suing over contaminated drinking water. However, this type differs from both compensatory and punitive damages because it doesn't depend on individual circumstances surrounding each case as they do.
What to Do if You or a Loved One Developed Cancer or an Autoimmune Condition?
Suppose you suspect that your cancer may be related to contaminated water. Or, if you have already been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, it is important to take action. The statute of limitations for these types of lawsuits is short and can be as short as one year in some states. You will need to act quickly so that your chance at compensation does not slip away.
A lawyer can help determine whether the tainted water supply could have caused your illness.
- Getting all medical records from doctors who treated you during the relevant period.
- Obtaining a diagnosis from a qualified doctor (this may require seeing several doctors).
- Acquiring a medical opinion confirming that your illness is caused by exposure to polluted water supplies.
How to File a Water Contamination Lawsuit?
To begin, you should contact a lawyer who specializes in water contamination lawsuits. Suppose your case involves a government agency that has failed to provide adequate testing or treatment of its water supply. In that case, you will need to file a claim with the appropriate government agency. This is usually done through the same process as making any other claim against the state (i.e., filing with your local government).
Once this step has been taken, and your claim has been filed (or if it was already filed by someone else), you can then proceed with filing a lawsuit in civil court. A civil court is where disputes between individuals or organizations are resolved outside of criminal courts, typically when there’s no violation of criminal law or harm caused by another person. Once again, it’s best if you consult an attorney before doing so since many factors go into deciding how much damages should be awarded in these cases and whether they can even be pursued at all.
Liability in Water Contamination Cases
Liability in water contamination cases depends on who was responsible for the contamination. Plaintiffs need to prove that one or more people involved in the chain of events leading up to their injury were negligent in their actions and that this negligence led to injury or property damage.
In most cases, liability is shared between multiple parties, namely private parties and public entities. For example, suppose a private company polluted your local reservoir while they were extracting gas from nearby property under the authority of the government. In that case, you could sue all three actors (the company, the state agency in charge of permitting extraction operations, and any private contractors hired by either). If you were injured by an oil spill during transit through a pipeline owned by one entity but maintained by another (and perhaps inspected by yet another), then each entity would share liability based on their role at fault.
It's important to keep in mind that governments may have immunity protections against certain kinds of lawsuits as well. For example, if your city's sewage pipes burst after heavy rainfall due to faulty construction work performed decades ago instead of recent neglectful maintenance practices.
Learn About Water Contamination Lawsuits and Your Rights to Compensation
Water contamination can occur when a chemical or pathogen is accidentally or intentionally introduced into the water supply. This can happen through pollution, natural disasters like earthquakes and storms, and other factors that can affect the quality of your tap water.
Water contamination is responsible for thousands of deaths every year across the United States and around the world. It’s an ongoing problem with devastating effects on public health and one that deserves attention from legal professionals as well as medical professionals.
If you believe that toxic chemicals harmed you or a loved one in the water supply, contact an attorney to discuss your potential claim.