Harmful industrial and infrastructural activities, weather and irresponsible interventions of individuals, companies or even the state in the environment, most often affect the wider environment and a larger number of people.
Although each of these activities, occurrences or treatments may have an adverse impact on property and human health, the legislator decided to allow class actions for once only for cases when an individual or a company causes an environmental disaster by its actions, as stipulated by the law governing environmental protection. It defines an environmental disaster as “an uncontrolled or unforeseen event that has occurred as a result of an intervention in the environment and which sooner or later results in a direct or indirect threat to human life or health or the quality of the environment. An environmental disaster is also an ecological disaster according to the regulations on protection against natural and other disasters.”
Typical examples of environmental disasters in respect of which harm could be caused to the individual and in respect of which the damage liability of the responsible person can be collectively asserted, are, for example:
- spillage of various substances into the environment that cause pollution of water resources, soil, air (e.g. spillage of dangerous goods into a water source, whereby such conduct may cause damage to the individual's health or property damage (e.g. by making the supply of clean drinking water more expensive or even impossible due to the pollution of the water source, and it is necessary to provide water in other economically less appropriate ways));
- fire resulting from unauthorized or reckless conduct and interference with the environment (e.g. fire resulting from the negligent storage of hazardous substances and causing severe pollution of air, land and water resources, resulting in the health of people and their property being affected - e.g. crop in gardens, fields, etc.);
- release of hazardous substances into the air (e.g. uncontrolled release of hazardous gases into the atmosphere).
The above are just some of the most typical situations that could be qualified as an environmental disaster. If you have found your case or a case in the above descriptions that could be similar to yours, and you believe that it is likely that other individuals have been harmed by the same or similar conduct, please contact us.