Environmental Lawyers In Virginia
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Virginia Environmental Lawyers
Without stringent environmental laws at the state and federal levels, far too many corporations would not think twice about dumping toxic chemicals and hazardous materials within highly sensitive ecosystems located near heavily populated areas. Before the advent of environmental laws, companies had no restrictions when it came to the disposing of harmful materials in residential neighborhoods. For example, consider the radioactive waste left behind by Mallinckrodt Chemical Works within and surrounding the city limits of St. Louis, Missouri.
Closer to home, a recent toxic chemical spill into the Clinch River in Russell County, Virginia has tainted both the soil and groundwater located near the manmade disaster. The asphalt sealant initially spilled on a county road before moving into the Clinch River. Another unsettling news story reported that Virginia has between 2,700 and 5,400 above-ground chemical storage tanks that the state either does not track or closely regulate. If not secured in a safe environment, the storage tanks present a considerable health risk due to the degradation of the materials used to manufacture the tanks.
Residents of Virginia face several environmental hazards, such as fracking, oil spills, and lead poisoning. Two of the most common types of cases litigated by environmental lawyers in Virginia concern soil and groundwater contamination. One of the most publicized legal cases of the past 50 years unfolded at Camp Lejeune located in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Groundwater contaminated with cancer-causing agents negatively impacted the health of marine corps members between 1957 and 1987. With numerous military bases and companies that produce toxic chemicals, Virginia is one of the most likely states in the country to experience an environmental disaster that causes harm to local residents.
If you suffer from an illness caused by an environmental event such as an oil spill, you should get the legal support you deserve by contacting one of the environmental lawyers in Virginia. Corporations with incredibly large pocketbooks are no match for citizens when it comes to filing a lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. At Morgan and Morgan, we have recovered more than $14 billion in compensation for clients that filed personal injury lawsuits, with a significant value of the compensation coming from favorable judgments issued by civil court judges. Our experienced team of litigators conducts thorough investigations to uncover the negligence committed by a large corporation or government agency.
Do not allow a large corporation or government agency to push you around. Schedule a free case evaluation today with one of the environmental lawyers in Virginia from Morgan and Morgan.
Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.
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What Is Environmental Law?
Environmental law not only protects Americans from developing serious illnesses, but the statutes passed at both the state and federal levels also help protect delicate ecosystems and the wildlife that thrive within them. Regulations that result from the enactment of environmental laws deal with complex issues such as pollution, contamination, and responses to manmade disasters. Legislation enacted at the state and federal levels protects the quality of the air, land, soil, and water that comprise different ecosystems. For instance, the Clean Air Act of 1970 addresses the cause of air pollution, as well as places a limit on the number of particulates that companies can discharge into the atmosphere.
Charitable institutions and nonprofit government organizations (NGOs) monitor the compliance required by businesses and government agencies to create a healthy ecosystem. Conservation and resource management represent the two most important components of environmental laws. One of the many responsibilities of environmental lawyers in Virginia is to ensure businesses and government agencies follow the conservation and resources management criteria established by environmental laws.
What Causes Groundwater Contamination?
Contamination of groundwater develops when contaminants leak into a water supply, which makes it unhealthy and even deadly for humans and animals to consume. Groundwater contamination can originate from many different sources that can be natural or manmade. Numerous urban activities can accidentally discharge contaminants into groundwater. Chemical spills and pesticide runoffs represent two of the most common causes of contaminated groundwater. Other sources of contaminated groundwater include landfills, sewer overflows, toxic chemicals like radon, and defective wastewater treatment plants.
What Are the Three Elements to Prove Legal Liability for an Environmental Lawsuit?
Environmental lawyers in Virginia and throughout the United States have to follow a slightly different path for proving negligence as part of an environmental lawsuit. In addition to proving a duty of care, a breach of the duty of care doctrine, causation, and financial losses. The attorney that you hire from Morgan and Morgan must prove the existence of three additional elements of negligence.
The personal injury attorney from Morgan and Morgan handling your case must submit persuasive evidence that you developed a debilitating illness because of prolonged exposure to a toxic spill. For example, let’s assume that contaminated soil leached into the vegetables that you grow at home. Your lawyer must connect the leached contaminates to the development of your symptoms. For the Camp Lejeune lawsuit, attorneys litigating the case have to demonstrate their clients develop cancerous tumors as a direct result of drinking water contaminated with toxic chemicals.
Unaware of Exposure to Harmful Substances
Not only must your lawyer link the development of an illness with extended exposure to contaminated soil, food, and/or water, but your legal representative also must show the judge hearing your case that you did not know about the toxic chemicals tainting the food and/or water supply. After the toxic chemical spill in Russell County, Virginia, state and federal environmental agencies alerted nearby residents and businesses about the potential negative health consequences of drinking tap water. Many residents fell under a boil water order until workers cleaned up the tainted site of the water contamination. If any resident failed to follow the boil water order and then developed a serious illness, the resident is not eligible to file a civil lawsuit because of knowing about the boil water order.
You Did Not Cause the Environmental Hazard
Despite the negative publicity directed at businesses and government agencies that pollute the air, land, and water, the fact remains that a substantial number of environmental damage cases result from the actions taken by property owners. If you had something to do with causing a health hazard of any kind, you automatically disqualify yourself from receiving the monetary damages awarded by a judge during a civil trial. Every environmental lawsuit litigated by the environmental lawyers in Virginia from Morgan and Morgan has involved the negligence committed by another party.
How Much Time Do I Have to File an Environmental Lawsuit in Virginia?
The personal injury attorney that you hire from Morgan and Morgan ensures you file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages before the expiration of the statute of limitations. Every state sets the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, with a vast majority of states establishing a deadline between two and four years. However, you might move to a state that sets a deadline as long as six years or as short as one year. Virginia has set the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit at two years. Unlike other types of personal injury cases, it can be difficult to determine when the clock starts ticking on an environmental lawsuit. This is because many illnesses develop delayed symptoms, such as the case with most types of cancer.
Although two years is a long enough period to file a convincing personal injury lawsuit that seeks monetary damages for most cases, the same cannot be said for filing an environmental lawsuit. Your attorney must address several highly complex medical and technical issues that arise during an investigation. Because of the uncertainty surrounding an environmental lawsuit, you should act with a sense of urgency by taking legal action quickly after discovering your symptoms. Treating a disease like cancer can rack up medical bills that run into tens of thousands of dollars. Filing a claim as soon as possible after receiving a diagnosis of a serious disease helps you recover financial losses much faster than if you wait just before the deadline to take legal action.
If you do not meet the two-year deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Virginia, you can expect the court clerk processing your case to remove it from the judicial docket.
What Are the Types of Monetary Damages?
The most important type of support provided by environmental lawyers in Virginia involves getting their clients the compensation they deserve. At Morgan and Morgan, our personal injury attorneys work hard to receive approval for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Also called special compensatory damages, economic damages cover the costs associated with tangible expenses. This includes medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. Medical bills cover the costs of diagnostic tests, treatment programs, and physical therapy sessions. You also can request compensation for prescription medications and the use of an assistive device.
An environmental disaster can cause considerable damage to your property that takes months, if not years to clean up. You deserve compensation for any damage done to your property. The diseases that develop due to prolonged exposure to contaminated air, land, and groundwater often force victims to miss a substantial number of work days. You have the right to request compensation to cover lost wages as well.
Living with a serious disease can cause emotional distress issues, which is especially true for someone who receives a diagnosis of a terminal type of cancer. Fear, anger, and anxiety all can form the perfect emotional distress storm. You have the right to receive compensation for the emotional issues that develop because of the negligence committed by another party.
Your attorney calculates a value for non-economic damages by using a formula that considers the value of economic damages.
Judges award punitive damages not to help plaintiffs recover financial losses, but to punish defendants that committed one or more acts of negligence. For particularly egregious acts of negligence, a judge might award a value for punitive damages that exceeds the combined value of economic and non-economic damages. Punitive damages also deter the defendant from committing future acts of negligence that harm other people.
Contact One of the Highest Rated Environmental Lawyers in Virginia
The environmental lawyers in Virginia from Morgan and Morgan have accumulated more than three decades of experience litigating environmental law cases. Take action to receive just compensation for the damage caused by contaminated air. land, and/or water by scheduling a free case evaluation.
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