There is an old saying, “Oil and water don’t mix.” However, when oil spills into water, toxic chemicals from the oil do mix with the water, which can cause extensive and adverse environmental, property, and health effects. It is the responsibility of the oil companies to prevent these oil spills and to clean them up when they occur.
If you or a loved one has been affected by a chemical oil spill, you may be entitled to compensation under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA). Discuss with an attorney your options to file an oil spill lawsuit against the liable party.
Oil Spill Lawsuit for Property Damage under OPA
Under the OPA, if your land or building is damaged by an oil spill, or you suffer financial losses resulting from damage to your property,you can file claims for land or buildings you own or lease.
You can file as an individual or business for the loss of any of the following.
- a building used as your primary residence.
- vacation, investment, or rental property you own.
- property used for business (an office building or warehouse, for example).
You may also file a property damage claim if your personal property, like clothing for example, was damaged in the oil spill.
If you own property affected by a chemical oil spill, there are a couple of ways you can claim damages. You can file a claim for the cost of cleaning and repairing the property, ultimately restoring it to the way it was prior to the oil spill.
The other option is to file a claim for the lost financial value of the property. In this case, you will file to recover the difference between the property’s assessed value, or what it would have sold for prior to the damage, and the amount for which you were actually able to sell the property.
Personal Injury Lawsuits for Oil or Chemical Spills
If you have suffered illness or injury as a result of exposure to oil or toxic oil fumes, see your doctor immediately. If you live in a community affected by an oil spill, you may be exposed to poisonous chemicals that can affect your health, and cost you time and money in lost wages and medical expenses.
There are additional, non-financial damages about which you should speak with an attorney if filing an oil spill lawsuit.
- pain and suffering.
- loss of life enjoyment.
- and, reduced quality of life.
Your attorney can go over these noneconomic damages in greater detail.
In order to recover financial compensation in an oil spill lawsuit for personal injury, you must prove the following key elements exist.
- You were exposed to an environmental risk/toxin (like oil) and unable to avoid it.
- you played no role in causing the environmental danger.
- and, a third party was directly or indirectly responsible for your injury.
Joining a class action suit, if one exists, is another option in environmental damage litigation. Discuss this possibility with your lawyer.
Contact an Attorney about an Oil Spill Lawsuit
If you choose to file an oil spill lawsuit for property damage or personal injury after an oil or chemical spill, speak with an attorney familiar with such cases. Your attorney will assist you in compiling the necessary documentation, such as medical records, public health and safety reports, and all other substantial details for proving your case.
Additionally, a personal injury lawyer can advise you on how to proceed with your claim, such as whether or not it is in your best interest to take a monetary settlement or proceed to litigation. Call Gacovino, Lake & Associates at 800-550-0000 to set up a consultation about your case and legal options.