Water is one of the essential resources for life on Earth, but unfortunately, it can also be a source of serious health problems. Water contamination is a growing concern worldwide, with many individuals and communities being exposed to harmful chemicals and pollutants that can cause long-term health effects.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, about 85% of Americans obtain their water from a public water system, regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The remaining 10-15% of Americans, especially those living in rural areas, rely on private, unregulated drinking water supplies, like groundwater wells and surface water.
These sources are not subjected to EPA standards under the Safe Drinking Water Act and may cause illness due to water contamination.
If you or a loved one has been affected by water contamination, it may be possible to file a health compensation lawsuit to seek justice and compensation for your damages. However, navigating the legal process can be complex and overwhelming.
This article outlines seven steps to take when filing a health compensation lawsuit for water contamination, providing guidance and information to help you fight against this serious issue.
Step 1: Determine the Source of Contamination
When dealing with water contamination, it’s essential to identify the source to effectively address and prevent it from reoccurring. This process involves systematically investigating the affected area, including collecting water samples for analysis.
Various sources of contamination include biological, chemical, and physical agents, which can affect water with different levels of contamination. Depending on the nature of the contamination, identifying the source may involve examining potential polluting sources, such as waste disposal sites, factories, and agricultural fields.
Understanding the source of contamination is critical for implementing appropriate remediation strategies and reducing the risks to human health and the environment.
Step 2: Gather Medical Evidence
According to WHO, over 2 billion individuals rely on a drinking water source tainted with fecal matter. The most significant hazard to the safety of drinking water comes from microbial contamination caused by fecal matter. It causes diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, polio, typhoid, etc., and it also causes around 485,000 diarrhoeal deaths yearly.
If you have been affected by water contamination to such an extreme level and want to file a lawsuit, gathering medical evidence to support your claim is essential. Start by seeking medical attention from a healthcare professional who can document your symptoms and test results. Additionally, you should request copies of your medical records, including any lab reports or diagnostic tests.
Gathering information about the contaminated water source is crucial, such as water quality reports and any news articles or press releases. This evidence can help establish a link between your illness and the contaminated water source and can be used to build a strong case in court.
Step 3: Hire an Experienced Attorney
When facing a complex legal issue of water contamination, hiring an experienced attorney who can navigate the legal system and fight for your rights is crucial. The Camp Lejeune lawsuit is one instance of a high-profile case where an experienced attorney was critical.
This case involved thousands of Marines and their families exposed to contaminated water at a military base in North Carolina. The lawsuit resulted in a $2 billion settlement, which would not have been possible without the expertise of the attorneys who led the case.
An experienced attorney can help you understand your legal rights, gather evidence, and build a strong case to maximize your chances of success in court. That’s where a law firm specializing in similar cases can help. One such name is TorHoerman Law LLC. They have a track record of successfully representing clients in water contamination cases.
For instance, the firm was involved in the PFAS water contamination case in Hoosick Falls, New York. They were instrumental in securing a $65 million settlement for the affected residents, compensating them for their medical expenses and property damage.
TorHoerman Law LLC has also represented clients in other high-profile water contamination cases across the United States, including the Flint water crisis.
Step 4: File the Lawsuit
According to Reuters, 5,000 cases have already been filed against the North Carolina Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. It has been one of the biggest mass litigations in U.S. history. The Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry expects that the number of cases could reach up to 500,000.
If you are in a similar situation, you need a strong attorney to guide you through the legal process, gather evidence, and build a strong case to pursue the compensation you deserve. Their expertise and dedication must help you achieve a favorable outcome in your water contamination case.
Step 5: Engage in the Discovery Process
The discovery process involves obtaining information from the opposing party through various means, such as depositions, interrogatories, and requests to produce documents. It allows the plaintiff to uncover key facts and evidence that may support their claims and help establish liability.
Working with experienced attorneys who can navigate the complex legal process and advocate for the plaintiff’s interests is also important. By engaging in the discovery process, plaintiffs can increase their chances of success in their lawsuit for compensation for contaminated water.
Step 6: Negotiate a Settlement
Negotiating a settlement is when parties in a dispute attempt to reach a mutually acceptable agreement without needing a formal trial or other legal proceedings. It can be done in various settings, including mediation or direct negotiations between the parties or their attorneys.
A successful settlement negotiation can result in a more timely and cost-effective resolution of a dispute and avoid the uncertainties of a trial. It can also allow the parties to maintain more control over the outcome and may preserve relationships that might have been damaged through a more contentious legal process.
Step 7: Proceed to Trial If Necessary
If a settlement cannot be reached in a water contamination case, it may be necessary to proceed to trial. Going to trial can be a time-consuming and expensive process, but achieving a just resolution for the parties involved may be necessary. Therefore, working with experienced attorneys who can effectively represent the plaintiff’s interests in court is important.
The trial process involves presenting evidence and arguments to a judge or jury, who will ultimately decide on the case’s outcome. A successful trial outcome can result in compensation for damages and holding the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
Filing a health compensation lawsuit for water contamination can be a complex and daunting process, but it is important to take action to protect your health and your rights. By following the steps outlined in this article, including documenting your symptoms, contacting an attorney, and engaging in the discovery process, you can increase your chances of achieving a just resolution.
Negotiating a settlement may be possible, but proceeding to trial can also be an effective way to hold responsible parties accountable and secure compensation for damages if necessary. You can fight against water contamination and protect your health and well-being with the right support and legal guidance.