Environmental Law FAQ

1. Q. What exactly is environment law?

A. Environment law is a very broad area of the law which governs the statutes concerning the environment – including regulations and cleanup regarding hazardous or chemical materials and consequences of individuals who violate environment statutes.

 

2. Q. What sort of individual can bring an environmental law case to court?

A. Any sort of individual can bring a case to court regarding environmental law – including if their property was damaged or if they have received bodily injury or damages from someone who is violating environmental law.  Citizens can also bring a suit against companies or organizations that are violating environmental law.

 

3. Q. Can an individual file suit against a company or organization if the government is actively pursuing the individual or has take action against them in the past?

A. Typically, no.  If the government or other individuals have already started processes to stop the company or organization from violating environmental law, an individual will usually not be allowed to file a suit.

 

4. Q. We recently had a new neighbor move in about a mile down the street.  He has turned the property into a farm and due to the animals’ excessive smell and noise; we are unable to enjoy our own property any longer.  Do we have a valid case against our neighbor?

A. In many cases like this, you may have a valid suit against your neighbor for interfering with your own enjoyment of your property.  However, since statutes differ from state to state, you should speak to an attorney to know for sure how to proceed.

 

5. Q. Can an individual file suit under environmental law if a neighbor is dumping garbage on the individual’s property?

A. Typically, this is cause to file a lawsuit against the neighbor.  The neighbor may be required to provide compensation, reimburse the property owner for damages or cleanup costs – or clean up the property himself. 

 

6. Q. What are the common punishments if an individual or business is found guilty of violating environment laws?

A. The business or individual (if found guilty) could face serious charges, fines, imprisonment or probation.  In some cases, the business or individual could be given a combination of these punishments.

 

7. Q. I witnessed someone dumping paint into the natural creek which runs behind several homes in our neighborhood.  Could this individual be punished for violating environmental laws?

A. Yes, the individual could be punished – depending upon several factors.  It would be necessary to prove that the individual did this, as well as what sort of paint was dumped. It is illegal to dump lead based paints and other types of paints. You should probably speak to an attorney to determine how to proceed.

 

8. Q. Should I hire an environmental law attorney?

A. If you have been accused of a crime under environment laws or you are accusing someone of violating environment laws, you should most likely hire an attorney.  Attorneys know the ins and outs of environment laws as well as how to proceed with certain types of cases.

 

9. Q. Can an individual take a business or organization to court for damages of personal property under environment laws?

A. Yes and it has been done in the past.  For instance, if a company or organization uses chemicals which travel to the individual’s property and cause damages or injuries – that individual can take that business or organization to court.

 

10. Q. What is the typical compensation an individual can seek in an environment law case?

A. It really depends upon the case.  For instance, if someone dumps trash or hazardous material onto your property, you could force him or her to pay for the clean up.  You will need to speak with a lawyer in order to determine what compensation you can seek.

 

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