Toxic & Environmental Lawsuits in California
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California Toxic & Environmental Lawsuits
If you live in Southern California or have visited the area before, you probably have enjoyed spending a day or two at one of the world-renowned beaches. As one of the most popular beaches in Southern California, Huntington Beach offers visitors a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities, from sand volleyball tournaments to boogie boarding on some of the most breathtaking, as well as challenging waves found along the West Coast of the United States. Unfortunately, a massive oil spill in 2021 has dramatically altered the ecosystem not only in Southern California but also hundreds of miles into the vastness called the Pacific Ocean.
More than 126,000 gallons of oil washed ashore in Orange County California, which forced city officials to close beaches and coastal areas, as well as cancel outdoor recreational activities such as deep sea fishing. The leak, which originated from a pipe located under an offshore platform, killed dozens of different species of wildlife that includes both land and marine life. Although local emergency service personnel have worked around the clock to clean up the oil spill, the flow of dead fish and animals continues to find its way on the once-white sandy beach located at Huntington Beach.
The Huntington Beach spill is just one of many types of toxic & environmental lawsuits in California. As one of the most difficult types of personal injury cases to litigate, the victims negatively impacted by events such as an oil spill, lead poisoning, and groundwater contamination often do not develop symptoms until months, even years after an incident. For example, the health consequences of the Huntington Beach oil spill might not be discovered until several years down the road. The combination of delayed symptoms and the complexity of proving negligence means if you have developed an illness because of a toxic environmental event, you should act with a sense of urgency and contact an environmental justice attorney who has considerable experience litigating toxic and environmental lawsuits in California.
At Morgan and Morgan, we are proud to call the beautiful state of California home. From the majestic mountain peaks located in Yosemite National Park to the awesome display of sequoia trees in the northern part of the state, California offers more natural wonders than any other state. If you are a victim of a toxic environmental event, you should seek legal support from a team of personal injury attorneys who help clients receive the compensation that they reserve. Since we opened our first office in 1988, Morgan and Morgan has recovered more than $14 billion in monetary damages for our clients who filed personal injury lawsuits.
Learn more about how the highly-rated team of litigators at Morgan and Morgan helps clients file persuasive toxic and environmental lawsuits in California by scheduling a free case evaluation today.
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How Do I Prove Legal Liability for a Toxic and Environmental Lawsuit?
Proving legal liability for personal injury cases requires demonstrating the presence of the four elements of negligence. You must show another party had a duty of care to protect you against sustaining an injury or developing an illness. The other party has to violate the duty of care doctrine by committing one or more acts of negligence. In addition to proving duty of care and violating a duty of care, your personal injury attorney from Morgan and Morgan also must demonstrate that the act or acts of negligence caused your injuries or illness, and the result generated financial losses.
For toxic and environmental lawsuits in California, the experienced lawyer that your work with from Morgan and Morgan must prove three additional elements.
Your personal injury attorney must submit evidence proving that you developed an illness because of exposure to an environmental hazard. For example, if contaminated groundwater caused you to get sick, you must link the presence of the contaminated groundwater with your symptoms. The most publicized case of contaminated groundwater concerns the exposure members of the military experienced at Camp Lejeune. Other possible types of exposure to environmental hazards include contaminated air and soil, as well as asbestos and lead paint.
Unaware of Exposure
Just because you suffer from an illness caused by exposure to toxic materials does not mean you automatically qualify for compensation. After the Huntington Beach oil spill, both government agencies and the company responsible for the spill worked together to warn the public about the hazards of swimming in the ocean, as well as catching and eating fish that swim in it. If you received proper notification that made you aware of a toxic environmental hazard, it is difficult to assign blame to another party for developing an illness.
To receive monetary damages for the filing of a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove that you did not cause the environmental hazard. If you directly caused a health hazard, then you might be the party that faces toxic and environmental lawsuits in California. For almost every toxic and environmental lawsuit that we have litigated at Morgan and Morgan, our clients have been the victims of the negligence committed by another party.
What Is the Deadline for Filing Toxic and Environmental Lawsuits in California?
Since the judicial system considers toxic and environmental lawsuits in California to be personal injury cases, you follow the deadline established for filing personal injury lawsuits. Each state has set a deadline for filing a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. Most states have established a statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits between two and four years. However, a few states give plaintiffs as long as six years and as short as one year to take legal action. California grants plaintiffs up to two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Typically, the clock starts ticking for the statute of limitations on the date of a personal injury event. Although it is easy to establish the date of a car accident, the same cannot be said for toxic and environmental lawsuits in California.
The date of a toxic environmental incident is easy to define, but determining the plaintiffs eligible to file civil lawsuits can become highly complex. It can take years for adverse symptoms to develop, which means the clock starts ticking for the filing of toxic and environmental lawsuits in California on the day when a victim receives a diagnosis of an illness. Although two years seems like more than enough time to file a strong personal injury lawsuit, you should act quickly to recover financial losses, as well as provide your personal injury lawyer from Morgan and Morgan with accurate witness accounts. Witness accounts tend to get more unreliable the longer they are given after a personal injury event.
If you do not meet the statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit in California, the court clerk processing your case removes it from the judicial docket.
What Are the Types of Monetary Damages?
Since toxic and environmental lawsuits in California are part of personal injury law, you have the right to seek three primary types of monetary damages. The fourth type of monetary damages regards filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Also called special compensatory damages, economic damages cover the costs associated with tangible expenses. By far the most substantial type of economic damage concerns medical expenses. You have the right to recover the costs associated with diagnostic tests, treatment programs, and physical therapy sessions. If you received prescriptions for medications and/or had to use an assistive device to get around, you should ask for compensation to cover those costs as well.
Property damage does not receive the attention that it should for toxic and environmental lawsuits in California. For example, the Huntington Beach oil spill negatively impacted the property values of several homeowners who live along the Pacific Coast in Southern California. Tainted ocean water caused a considerable amount of damage to beachfront properties. You also have the right to request compensation for lost wages if you missed work because of the symptoms you developed from a toxic environmental event.
Non-economic damages do not generate tangible expenses. Instead, this type of compensation accounts for the mental and emotional distress issues that adversely impact the victims of toxic environmental events. For example, receiving a cancer diagnosis that is directly linked to a toxic environmental event can trigger negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, and even depression. The personal injury attorney that you work with from Morgan and Morgan calculates a reasonable value for non-economic damages by using a formula that factors in the value of economic damages.
The value of punitive damages for toxic and environmental lawsuits in California can exceed the combined values of economic and non-economic damages. This is especially true if you file a civil lawsuit against a corporation that has accumulated a considerable amount of financial resources.
Judges award punitive damages to penalize a defendant for committing an act of negligence that caused you harm. Punitive damages also send a message to other companies that causing harm to the environment produces severe legal consequences. If the defendant knowingly committed one or more acts of negligence, your personal injury attorney will ask for a significant value for punitive damages.
Why Morgan and Morgan Is the Go-To Law Firm for Toxic and Environmental Lawsuits in California
Experience matters when hiring a personal injury attorney to handle a toxic and environmental lawsuit. The submission of highly technical evidence requires the legal support of a lawyer who has considerable experience litigating similar cases. Not only does experience matter, but the track record of an attorney matters as well. At Morgan and Morgan, our attorneys have one of the highest success rates for filing toxic and environmental lawsuits in California.
You can expect your personal injury attorney from Morgan and Morgan to represent you during every step of the legal process. Some law firms assign attorneys to cases, only to have the attorneys delegate responsibilities to paralegals and less experienced litigators. Another reason to hire a personal injury lawyer from Morgan and Morgan is that we try to negotiate a settlement before taking a case to the trial phase of the litigation process. Negotiating a favorable settlement saves you both time and money.
Take the first step towards receiving the compensation you deserve by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the highly-rated attorneys at Morgan and Morgan.