What is an Environmental Injury?

by Katie Hewatt on October 8, 2012

There are a number of ways a person can be injured while on the job. From slip-and-fall accidents to negligence from coworkers, the possibilities of sustaining an injury are nearly endless. One complex type of injury is referred to as an ‘environmental injury’. Environmental injuries are ones that occur due to the environmental chemicals a person is subjected to during their daily work duties. The incidents that cause these injuries are also often detrimental to the actual environment. It is important for a person to understand how these incidents can occur and who may be at fault if they’ve experienced such an injury.

How Environmental Injuries Occur

There is usually only one cause of environmental injuries: negligence. This can be negligence from others on the job site or even further up the corporate ladder. One of the main ways that an environmental injury can occur is through an accident. In 2010, for instance, a multitude of environmental injuries occurred due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This accident obviously negatively affected the environment, but it also affected thousands of businesses along the Gulf Coast and even cost several workers their lives. Not all environmental injuries, however, reach this magnitude.

Other environmental injuries occur due to negligent acts that lead to damage that should’ve been easily foreseeable. These incidents sometimes break past the ‘negligence’ barrier and can be considered nothing less than corporate misconduct and endangerment. Companies that allow their employees to work around asbestos or mold without proper protection, for instance, are often knowingly endangering their workers in an effort to turn a profit.

There are even more environmental injuries that are not as well known as large scale oil spills or asbestos. Workers who are continuously subjected to pollution or toxic waste will eventually develop serious health issues if not properly protected from their work environment. Even being subjected to pre-regulation lead based paint can be seriously detrimental to an individual’s health.

Who is Responsible for Environmental Injuries?

According to personal injury law firm Steinger, Iscoe & Green, there are a number of different individuals or corporations that could be held responsible for causing environmental injuries. There are even cases where more than one company is held liable for the incident. A corporation that manufactures products containing lead or asbestos, for instance, will likely be viewed as negligent in any harm caused to the people who work around their products. If another company uses these products knowing that they are dangerous, however, they may also be held liable for any injury sustained by their workers due to the working environment.

There are even cases where a company doesn’t have to be considered negligent to be held liable for injuries sustained by others. This occurs under the theory of ‘strict liability’; which means the company doesn’t have to be proven negligent in order for others to receive compensation if the product or environment they created was inherently dangerous. Attorneys are usually needed to take on environmental injuries due to the fact that the noticeable side-effects may only become apparent decades after exposure, and the at-fault companies may long be out of business.

Environmental injuries can be extremely detrimental. Even when not considering the huge environmental toll these incidents take, workers subjected to these conditions face serious health problems that often prove fatal. An individual doesn’t even have to work for a company to be injured by its negligence, such as was the case in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Getting a lawyer for any of these types of injuries is vital. The negligent companies all have one thing in common: massive legal defense funds. If an injured individual isn’t properly represented, they will likely not be fairly reimbursed for their injuries.

Katie Hewatt is a legal researcher and contributing author for Steinger, Iscoe & Green, a personal injury law firm consisting of 26 lawyers that have helped more than 18,000 injury victims in South Florida. Environmental injury cases can be complex and insurance companies will often try to settle for less money than you deserve. Contact an attorney at Steinger, Iscoe & Green for a free initial consultation.

Katie Hewatt

Katie Hewatt

Katie Hewatt

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