If you’ve seen Julia Roberts’ movie Erin Brockovich, then you know a little bit about environmental personal injury law. Along with other types of personal injury law, such as medical malpractice and product liability issues, environmental personal injury law focuses on the alleged harm a defendant has caused through his or her actions. Generally, in the case of environmental personal injury law, the defendant is a company or corporation that has allegedly harmed the environment in such a way as to cause injury to the plaintiff or plaintiffs, in the case of a class action lawsuit.
While Roberts brought Brockovich’s life to the big screen in 2000 and showed the world how the Pacific Electric and Gas company knowingly poisoned American citizens through their negligence, it hasn’t been enough to stop other companies from following suit. Whether they’re focusing on their bottom lines or just ignorant of proper procedures, corporations like power companies and chemical conglomerates continue to bend the laws to feed their pockets.
Most recently, DuPont has been making headlines for disposing of chemicals into water sources and knowingly harming their employees by exposing them to noxious substances. DuPont itself ran studies and withheld information from their employees regarding the toxicity of the substances they were working with, even though they could cause a higher incidence of cancer and birth defects in pregnant women. In at least one case, DuPont allowed contaminated water to flow directly towards a ranch, poisoning animals and any products they may have produced. The company, rather than settling with over 3,000 harmed individuals is consecutively trying cases as those affected by their illegal activities sicken. In addition, the company is also downsizing their American workforce.
Unfortunately, DuPont won’t be the last behemoth caught poisoning the well. Companies who are not trained in EPA standards for removing hazardous waste or who are trying to protect their profits at the expense of their neighbors will continue to slide by unnoticed. However, thanks to more coverage by the New York Times and Hollywood, this issue, as well as the work of New York personal injury lawyers, more people will have the knowledge they need to come forward and help stop these actions.
Personal injury lawyers not only deal with car accidents and slip and falls, they also help lead the charge against corporate abuses that are harming their clients. Whether these abuses are ingrained in policies or occur due to a lack of knowledge, a New York personal injury lawyer can help bring light to the situation. Because of the negative consequences the actions of these companies has on the public health, a New York personal injury lawyer can help fight for an award that will help pay for medical bills and lost time at work.
Julia Roberts portrayal of a hardworking legal researcher not only catapulted Erin Brockovich to fame, but also made environmental personal injury law a household topic. And with companies like DuPont, who knowingly coated cooking surfaces with the harmful chemicals that make Teflon Teflon, it’s important that everyone know they have legal recourse.