For decades, the quality of America’s tap water has been a topic for debate. Recently, researchers found high levels of pollutants like arsenic, lead, and nitrates in the nation’s water supply. Similarly, CNN reported that nearly half of the country’s tap water has been contaminated with forever chemicals like per-and-poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Many communities nationwide don’t have access to contaminant-free water supplies. Therefore, 25.5% of residents drink directly from the tap, leading to significant health issues. Drinking it leads people to develop chronic health issues like cancer, fertility issues, dehydration, and neurological problems.
Lawyers believe this is a direct violation of the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act and the 1972 Clean Water Act. Both of these regulations outline water safety guidelines and mandates. When the government’s rules and regulations cannot save Americans, they tend to turn to the law.
In this blog, we will discuss three ways to help you win a water contamination lawsuit.
#1. Find a Good Lawyer
First, find a leading law firm or hire an experienced attorney. Only a lawyer who understands water contamination lawsuits can help you gain the settlement you deserve. It’ll be based on the extent of your injuries. Let’s take the Camp Lejeune lawsuit as an example.
Camp Lejeune, located in North Carolina, faced backlash in the 1980s when researchers found dangerous organic volatile compounds (VOCs) in the drinking water. Residents were exposed to forever chemicals, degreasers, and other industrial solvents, leading to health issues like cancer, fertility issues, etc.
As a result, 1 million victims filed over 60,000 lawsuits that are currently pending. Based on the lawyers’ ability and expertise, the Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amounts are expected to reach between USD 10,000 and USD 1,000,000.
These lawyers will help the victims seek disability benefits and get their medical bills covered. Moreover, they will assist the plaintiffs through every legal step, from filing the benefits application to appealing a denied claim.
According to TorHoerman Law, good attorneys will put everything into fighting against organizations responsible for endangering the public. To find a lawyer best suited for your claim, you need to:
- Check the lawyer’s success rate and reputation
- Understand the area of law they specialize in
- Review case studies and analyze the law firm’s size
- Consider and compare costs and billing rates
- Ensure the attorney is a good communicator and has time to attend to your needs
You should also consider the location and jurisdiction of your case before hiring a lawyer. For instance, Camp Lejeune lawsuits can only be filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
#2. Gather Evidence for Your Claim
After hiring a lawyer, it’s time for you to collaborate with them and gather evidence to support your lawsuit. Substantial and incriminating proof can make or break your claim. If you’re seeking compensation for contamination exposure, you must have enough evidence for the judge to consider your case.
For instance, the Monsanto Company wouldn’t have paid USD 550 million without evidence about their nationwide polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) water contamination. Similarly, three American chemical companies wouldn’t be held accountable for PFAS contamination if plaintiffs didn’t give enough proof. Today, the companies have to pay USD 1.2 billion to settle the claims.
These prove how much evidence can play a role in your water contamination lawsuit. Therefore, your lawyer will ask you to present the following proof:
- Medical records that prove your health issues arose from toxic water exposure
- Diagnosis report to help corroborate the claim that you’ve made
- A detailed document with overall medical expenses and bills
- Proof of residence in the area affected by water contamination
You can also talk to your neighbors and try to find similar cases in your area. Presenting more than one lawsuit against the same defendant can strengthen your chances of winning the case.
#3. Assess Damages
Once you’ve hired a lawyer and they’ve helped you gather evidence, it’s time for them to assess the damages. Technically, it’s the total amount that the defendant is liable to pay to compensate for the plaintiff’s distress.
Lawyers will consider the economic, mental, and physical turmoil you’ve gone through before presenting the case to a judge. They’ll do this to determine a substantial claim you deserve based on the loss and damage.
For instance, the Camp Lejeune lawyers will assess the extent of injuries among the victims. They will consider all the emotional distress caused to family members due to an untimely death and the medical bills incurred by surviving victims. Hence, the legal industry expects attorneys to seek a settlement of up to USD 1,000,000, depending on the severity of the damages.
Presenting a claim amount that genuinely covers the out-of-pocket costs you’ve incurred increases your chances of winning. Your request for the settlement should justify the economic and non-economic losses incurred. Examples include the following:
- Cost of medical treatment
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Permanent disability leading to lost wages
- Future medical expenses
The lawyers will assess all these factors and compare them with the gathered evidence. Doing so will help them refine your water contamination lawsuit and increase your winning chances.
The Bottom Line
Now and then, industrial waste disposal methods or other chemical contamination significantly affect an area’s water supply. Examples include the Camp Lejeune incident and 3M’s improper waste disposal methods. Both of these incidents have altered the lives of everyone exposed.
That’s when victims file litigation against the government or companies responsible. Ideally, you can file for a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, depending on your situation.
But ensure that you hire an experienced lawyer who will help you gather evidence and assess damages. This way, you can easily get the compensation you deserve for the injuries caused.