Florida Court Allows Personal Injury Damages in Spilled Battery Acid Case

Recently, an appellate court issued an opinion addressing whether Florida’s 1970 Pollutant Discharge Prevention and Control Act allows a plaintiff’s cause of action for personal injuries. The plaintiff worked for a Florida tow truck company and suffered injuries when he arrived at the scene of an accident between a truck transporting batteries and another vehicle. The plaintiff alleged that he suffered serious injuries after coming into contact with battery acid leaking from the truck. He filed a lawsuit against the trucking company claiming that they were strictly liable for his injuries under the 1970 and 1983 pollution acts. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded him over $5million in damages; however, the district court reversed reasoning that the 1970 statute precluded his claim to personal injury damages.

Pollutants often pose significant threats of danger to Florida residents and the environment. In response to growing concerns regarding exposure to these pollutants, the legislature enacted Florida’s 1970 Pollutant Discharge Prevention and Control Act (1970 Act) and the 1983 Water Quality Assurance Act (1983 Act), which regulates the discharge and removal of certain pollutants. Legislature designed the acts to ensure that these entities are diligent in their handling of these potentially dangerous materials.

The 1970 act provides that the discharge of pollutants upon lands adjoining the coast, tidal flats, and coastal water is prohibited. The 1983 law expanded upon the 1970 act and provided injury victims with a cause of action for harms resulting from pollution of ground and surface waters. The 1970 act defines damages as the destruction to or loss of any real or personal property, except human beings. Unlike the 1970 law, the 1983 act does not provide any definition of damages within its statute. However, the 1983 act provides that injury victims may be able to recover “all damages” resulting from the discharge or other conditions of pollution. The amended 1970 act states that it applies to actions taken by both private and governmental entities when injuries result from the storage, transportation, and disposal of these products.

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the 1983 act’s plain meaning of “all damages” includes personal injury damages, such as the one he suffered. Florida’s Supreme Court agreed with the plaintiff’s reasoning that because the legislature directed that the statute be liberally construed, the plaintiff is entitled to personal injury damages.

Have You Suffered Injuries Because of Another’s Negligence?

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries because of another individual or entity’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. The injury attorneys at Frankl Kominsky have extensive experience handling all types of Florida truck accident cases on behalf of Florida residents. The knowledgeable attorneys at our law firm are up-to-date on the ever-changing and complicated laws that impact Florida personal injury cases. Our attorneys work tirelessly on behalf of our clients to ensure that they receive the highest quality representation. We have recovered substantial amounts of compensation for our clients across all areas of personal injury law, including toxic tort cases and other claims involving chemical spills. Compensation typically includes payments for medical bills, ongoing treatment, property damage, and pain and suffering. Every personal injury case is unique, and we take care and consideration in every step of our client’s lawsuits. Never settle for less and contact our office at 561-708-5461 to schedule a free initial consultation with a Florida injury attorney at our firm.

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