Toxic & Environmental Lawsuits in Big Pine Key, FL

30338 Overseas Highway, Unit 7
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
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Toxic & Environmental Lawsuits in Big Pine Key, FL

The Florida Keys are home to one of the most beautiful yet fragile ecosystems in the United States. An enormous variety of unique flora and fauna lives in the Keys, and the survival of these species depends on how people treat the area's natural beauty. 

To better protect the flora and fauna of the Florida Keys, both the state and federal governments have issued a plethora of environmental laws. When these laws are followed, nature flourishes; when they are defied, animals and plants can potentially go extinct. 

Violations of these laws can also harm the people who live in harmony with nature in the Florida Keys. If you are aware of harmful violations of toxic or environmental laws in Big Pine Key, you should immediately speak to a Morgan & Morgan attorney. 

These violations could destroy the beauty of your home or even poison you and your family. Attorneys from Morgan and Morgan can file lawsuits to protect your family and the nearby environment from those who would carelessly ignore these regulations. Contact us today to learn more about your options and get a free case evaluation.

Protected Species and Vegetation in the Florida Pines

You chose to live in Big Pine Key for a reason, which was more than likely the abundant untouched beauty in the area. When factories, hunters, tourists, or others harm the creatures and plants in the area, they aren’t just destroying nature—they are ruining the value of your home. 

If you see anyone harming the following animals or vegetation, a lawyer can help you prevent future damage.

Indigenous Animals

There are dozens of protected species that live in the Florida Keys. Hunting these creatures or disturbing their nests is almost always illegal. Some of the protected creatures include:

  • Turtles
  • Nearly all local fish
  • Non-fish marine animals
  • Migratory birds
  • Key deer
  • Crocodiles
  • Miami blue butterflies

Some fish and other sea creatures can be hunted, but only by licensed individuals during specific times of the year, with limits placed on the total number of animals tracked. Hunters may not harvest the rest in any way because of their status as endangered species. 

Many of the animals in the area are similarly protected, and you should immediately speak to an environmental attorney if you see anyone disturbing their habitats.

Vegetation

The Florida Keys are home to vegetation similarly protected by state and federal statutes. Dune vegetation is particularly important to people who live in the Florida Keys because its presence prevents the shoreline from eroding. If this vegetation is removed, your home might be flooded during the next stormy season.

Other protected vegetation is critical to the survival of animal life in the area. Seagrass, mangroves, and coral all help maintain the ecosystem that aquatic life in the region relies on. If these types of vegetation are damaged or removed, the wildlife in the area would quickly die out, stripping much of the beauty of the Keys.

Water

While you probably suspected that much of the vegetation and animal life in the area was protected, you might not have realized that even the water is safeguarded in the Florida Keys. 

It is illegal to discharge sewage or other types of waste into any of the seawater in the area. Additionally, most of the nearby ocean areas are restricted, meaning no kinds of watercraft are permitted.

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Morgan & Morgan

  • When Should You File Toxic & Environmental Lawsuits in Big Pine Key, FL?

    Big Pine Key's most likely sources of environmental harm are hunters, factories, and tourist companies. These entities benefit from ignoring ecological regulations and often get away with it because government agencies are limited in their enforcement options. 

    However, you aren’t as limited. You can file a lawsuit with the attorneys at Morgan & Morgan that will cause enough financial harm to prevent them from doing more damage in the future.

    Hunters

    There are two common types of hunters in Big Pine Key: trophy hunters and food harvesters. Trophy hunters actively seek endangered species because they want to pursue and claim them before they disappear forever. Food harvesters are usually fishing companies that simply do not respect the legal limits on harvesting sea life.

    If you see either type of hunting activity taking place, you should record it without engaging. An environmental lawyer can use any evidence you collect to take legal action. 

    If you do engage, you could be put in danger or potentially harm your lawsuit by violating the rights of the individuals, even if they were also violating regulations.

    Factories

    Businesses and factories located in the Florida Keys are required to be extremely careful with their waste. Trash and other debris can’t be released into the water or wetlands because it will harm the area's delicate ecosystem. 

    If a business releases toxic material into the surrounding area, it could kill local animals and plant life, making the area inhospitable for years.

    Factory waste can also affect humans. Should it enter the water supply, you could be slowly poisoned just by drinking water. Similarly, air pollutants can cause long-term damage to your lungs or even cancer, depending on what type of waste is released.

    Tourist Companies

    Tourist companies are the hardest perpetrators to deal with. They often send tours through the Keys that damage the environment but rarely do so on a consistent schedule. You need to watch for things like boats in restricted areas or tour groups that are trudging through turtle nesting grounds.

    Determining whether a tourist company is harming the environment may require researching specific laws and regulations. It also will probably require an investigator to patrol areas where a tour group might arrive. 

    While you are less likely to be harmed by engaging a tourist company than you are by engaging an armed hunter, you should still avoid confrontation. Gather evidence of harm to the environment from a distance, and deliver it to your lawyer so they can file a lawsuit to stop future incursions.

  • What to Expect From Toxic & Environmental Lawsuits in Big Pine Key, FL?

    Unfortunately, you should expect that an environmental lawsuit will take quite a while to complete. Most cases take several years, and the defendant might be doing even more damage during that time. Your attorney will attempt to get a restraining order against the defendant to prevent future damage, but that won’t always succeed.

    The other main challenge of an environmental lawsuit is that you must prove the damages. If the only damages you can prove are harm to you or your property, a lawsuit may not be significant enough to get the perpetrator to stop performing similar activities in the future. 

    By bringing other litigants into your lawsuit, you can increase the value of damages and potentially make it too financially painful for the defendant to continue.

    Your Morgan and Morgan attorney will understand that your goal is to protect Big Pine Key, your family, and your property. 

    With that understanding in mind, we will prioritize actions that will force the perpetrator to stop harming the environment and the people who live in the area. If we can get you additional compensation, that is a bonus, but preventing damage is our highest priority.

  • What Are the Speed Limits in Big Pine Key?

    For environmental reasons, Big Pine Key has strictly enforced speed limits. You may only drive a maximum of 45 miles per hour during the day and 35 miles per hour at night. These speed limits exist to protect the wildlife that lives in the area.

  • Why Is Seagrass Important to the Florida Keys?

    Seagrass supports the diversity of marine life in the area, as seagrass beds are home to many oceanic creatures. If these beds are damaged or destroyed, much of the marine life in the area will disappear with them.

  • What Protections Are There for Key Deer?

    Big Pine Key speed limits exist to protect key deer from car accidents. However, the specific regulations regarding key deer are much more strict than that. It is illegal to feed, touch, or capture key deer, yet many tour groups break the rules concerning feeding and touching them.

  • Should I File an Individual Lawsuit or Start a Group Tort?

    What type of lawsuit you should file depends primarily on your goal for filing the lawsuit. You probably want to file an individual lawsuit if you have suffered significant financial harm for any reason (loss of property value, medical bills, etc.). A successful individual lawsuit should make you financially whole.

    However, if your goal is to prevent future environmental damage, a group tort will probably create a more considerable financial incentive for the defendant to cease operations.

  • Should I Accept a Settlement Offer?

    Many companies will try to offer a low settlement to end a lawsuit quickly. You should never accept any settlement without speaking to an attorney. 

    You may be able to get the company to agree to cease its environmental damage in return for a relatively minor settlement. If this meets your goal, your lawyer might advise you to take the offer. If it doesn’t, you might decide to pursue justice through a lawsuit.

  • Will a Court Force a Business to Stop Harming the Environment?

    Typically, you receive only monetary awards as part of a civil trial verdict. However, a ruling may also force a business to change its policies or otherwise correct previous actions. Another way to get these types of concessions is to ask for them to be included as part of a settlement.

  • Is It Illegal for Me to Record Someone Without Their Permission?

    Florida requires the consent of all parties to record voices but not to record video. If someone is performing illegal activities (like hunting protected species), you can record the activities without audio or from a far enough distance where recording audio is impossible. This will allow you to document illegal behavior without falling afoul of Florida laws.

  • Toxic and Environmental Lawyers in Big Pine Key, FL

    If anyone is introducing toxic substances into the environment or harming the fauna or flora in Big Pine Key, you can take civil action to try to stop the behavior. The experienced toxic and environmental lawyers at Morgan & Morgan can explain your options and help you file a lawsuit that will prevent future damage to your beautiful home. 

    Contact us today if you want to start a lawsuit against a party that is harming the natural beauty of Big Pine Key, and we will schedule a free case evaluation immediately.

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