For decades, the who lived and work on and around Willow Grove Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base, the Horsham Air Guard Station, and the Naval Air Warfare Center complained that the water coming out of their faucets was making them sick. These complaints largely fell on deaf ears until May 2016, when the Environmental Protection Agency essentially advised area residents not to drink the water, because it was laced with large amounts of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), an industrial chemical linked to various long-term illnesses. So, current and former residents are now in a position to obtain compensation for their injuries and hold the entities that soiled their peaceful environments accountable for their actions. But, you must act fast, before the problem gets even worse.
Napoli Shkolnik PLLC is a strong voice for victims in situations like these. We broadcast your story in a way that people are sure to hear, both in the courtroom and at the negotiating table. That’s because we understand our dual role in these situations. We intend to win maximum compensation for victims and help ensure that corporations cannot ravage our environment for their own gain or for their own convenience, because we live here too.
What is PFOA?
Current and former residents of Montgomery and Bucks Counties have probably heard a lot about perfluorooctanoic acid, but many people may not know exactly what this substance is or what dangers it can cause.
PFOA is an industrial chemical that’s widely used in many consumer products, including nonstick cookware, water-repellant clothes, and stain-resistant carpet, because it forms an invisible barrier between two objects. So, between about 1950 and 1990, the government used it at military bases in firefighting foam. The chemical is extremely stable, which makes it easy to use in industrial applications and also means that it remains in the environment for a very long time.
For the millions of people who live northwest of Philadelphia, and in other areas as well, that means because small amounts of PFOA from firefighting foam leaked into the area’s cooking and drinking water supply, they ingested poison without even knowing it.
At extremely low amounts, PFOA is essentially harmless. But at even slightly elevated amounts, PFOA has been linked to a number of serious and chronic health conditions, including:
- Testicular cancer,
- Low birth weight,
- Kidney cancer,
- Weak immune system,
- Thyroid disease,
- High cholesterol,
- Liver disease,
- Preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), and
- Ulcerative colitis.
Thousands of people have already filed damage claims against chemical companies, like DuPont, which used PFOA in consumer products, and these claims may just be the beginning of the story.
How Long Do I Have to Sue?
Injured Pennsylvanians normally have two years to file tort claims to obtain compensation for their injuries. However, in PFOA cases, that does not mean two years after the first sip of contaminated water.
The discovery rule states that victims have two years to sue after they learn about their damages and learn that PFOA may have caused them. However, the discovery rule is not a magic cure-all for legal issues with a claim. Instead, it is only a tool for aggressive personal injury attorneys to use in court.
What Damages Are Available?
PFOA contamination victims in Pennsylvania are usually entitled to significant compensation, because of the serious nature of the injuries they sustain. This compensation includes money for monetary losses, including medical bills, as well as nonmonetary losses, such as pain and suffering.
Additionally, many juries award significant punitive damages in these cases, to punish the tortfeasor (negligent actor) for relentlessly pursuing a course of conduct that put other people in danger.
PFOA water contamination may cause serious injury. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.