Billings Pollution and Oil Spill Damages Attorney
Climate change and environmental awareness are big parts of the public discussion today, and many people have legitimate concerns over the safety and viability of the oil industry. These worries have been realized through several recent oil spills. If you or a loved one has suffered an illness, injury, or other damages due to pollution or an oil spill, consider your options for legal recourse with a Billings pollution and oil spill damages attorney that can help you hold the responsible parties accountable.
The Effects of an Oil Spill
Oil is one of the most precious commodities on Earth. Countless vehicles and machines require this finite fossil fuel to keep working, making oil drilling an extremely profitable business. However, it is also an extremely dangerous pursuit. Oil drilling is not only dangerous for the people performing the work but also endangers the environment and fragile ecosystems nearby.
Most notably, the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico became the worst oil spill in history. After the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling platform exploded and sank, millions of barrels’ worth of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. This contamination hurt plant and animal life, threatened Gulf fishing, and led to countless lawsuits for environmental damage, property damage, personal injuries, wrongful death, and shareholder lawsuits. The entire Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill cost BP nearly $50 billion.
What Injuries & Environmental Damages Occur From Oil Spills?
There is no doubt that oil spills are disastrous events that can lead to significant environmental damage. These incidents can also cause severe injuries for those directly involved in the accident that caused the spill as well as those in the areas surrounding the spill. An oil spill is not a singular tragedy. Rather, an oil spill is hundreds or thousands of individual tragedies.
When working to understand the types of environmental damages and individual economic damages that result from the oil spill, we will look at various factors. First, it is important to acknowledge that no amount of money can completely undo much of the environmental, physical, and emotional trauma caused by an oil spill. However, our attorneys strive to hold wrongdoers accountable in these situations.
- Economic damages. Economic damages in the aftermath of an oil spill in Montana come in many forms. Many businesses and individuals are directly affected by oil spills, both personally and professionally. In general, owners of businesses will be able to file claims for any economic damages they suffer as a result of the oil spill. Additionally, any person who owns land or lives around the area where an oil spill occurs could be entitled to significant compensation for their personal economic and health losses.
- Toxic tort / nuisance complaints. Oil is a noxious substance that can damage or kill plants, animals, and people. Oil can seep into the groundwater and pollute wells and contaminate food sources for other animals. Fumes from an oil spill can travel extensive distances and cause people to become ill. These injuries could give rise to personal injury claims against the owners and operators of the oil operation.
- Environmental and regulatory damages. The words “environment” and “regulation” have, unfortunately, become very political. The reality is that we should all be concerned about the environment that surrounds us because it directly impacts our health and well-being. Oil spills affect not only the ground around the site where they occur, but also the precious waterways of Montana. Not only are we talking about a major disaster to the wildlife of our area, but also a long term environmental hazard that can directly affect our health. To that effect, the US government and Montana state government will most certainly pursue compensation from negligent oil companies and contractors in the event a disastrous oil spill occurs.
Many of the damaging effects of an oil spill are immediately apparent. Often, an oil spill is met with intense media scrutiny initially, but that begins to taper off after a while. However, the hidden damage caused by an oil spill may not become apparent for years, perhaps decades, after the initial incident. It is crucial to keep this in mind when discussing damages in the aftermath of an oil spill. Individuals and businesses, as well as local and state leaders, must work to secure compensation for all currently understood damages as well as future expected losses caused by an oil spill.
Know Your Rights | Pollution Damage Lawyer
If you have suffered any type of injury or loss due to an oil spill, pollution, or environmental contamination, you need someone who can fight for your rights. Some of the potential lawsuits that may arise from such an event include:
- Property damage. The BP oil spill caused a tremendous amount of damage to residential and commercial property along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, the cleaning agents dispersed to collect the spilled oil caused damages as well. Your case may seek compensation for damage to your home, business, or other property.
- Personal injury or illness. An oil spill is extremely hazardous to the health of all living organisms in the area. Many people contracted serious health problems after the BP oil spill, and toxic exposure can lead to lifelong complications.
- Wrongful death claims. 11 BP employees perished when the Deepwater Horizon rig sank. Their families were able to file wrongful death claims against BP due to the company’s negligence in ensuring a safe working environment for employees.
- Shareholder lawsuits. If you are a prominent investor in an oil company that causes a spill, you may be able to argue for damages from your lost investment. After the BP oil spill, dozens of investors claimed the company misrepresented their activities and misled shareholders.
- Lost income. Many Gulf businesses had to shutter their doors after the BP oil spill, resulting in lost income and profits. Thousands of business owners in the area sued BP for the long-term loss of business, most notably for the fishing industry.
Filing a lawsuit against a large company is no easy task. Many private citizens may not even think it is worth the trouble; such companies typically retain teams of accomplished attorneys while private citizens generally can’t afford intense and prolonged litigation battles. If you suffered an illness or injury, you’ll need to secure copies of all your medical documentation that shows the extent of your condition and any future complications you are likely to experience.
An attorney will be your best asset in a lawsuit over an oil spill. The attorneys at Heenan & Cook, PLLC are ready to fully explore every possible avenue of compensation for our clients. Oil spill lawsuits can be exceedingly complex, so you’ll want accomplished and reliable legal counsel on your side. Get in touch with our team to set up a consultation about your pollution or oil spill lawsuit today.