The homeowners insurance claims process can get tricky when it comes to pollution damage. This is because in the 1970s, insurance companies began to change pollution coverage in their liability policies. Now, there is usually only limited liability coverage for pollution that originates away from an insured’s premises, which may limit your recourse to claim pollution damages near your Florida property.
If you have discovered pollution near your Florida property and you are considering filing a Florida homeowners insurance claim, you should seek help from a Florida homeowners insurance attorney. A homeowners insurance attorney can advise you on your right to claim damages because of pollution in Florida.
The Absolute Pollution Exclusion
Homeowners insurance currently contains an absolute pollution exclusion, which excludes coverage for bodily injury or property damage as a result of the release of specific “pollutants.”
Pollutants in this exclusion are defined to include any solid, liquid, gaseous or thermal irritant or contaminant, which may be:
- acid alkalis;
- chemicals; and
Insurers have long been using this pollution exclusion to deny compensation for claims, such as claims related to asbestos, lead paint, indoor pollution incidents and other events that do not involve industrial pollution.
If you have been affected by pollution near your Florida property and your Florida homeowners insurance claim has been denied by your insurer, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit under environmental law.
Pollution Claims Under United States Law
Because most instances of pollution are excluded from a Florida homeowners insurance claim, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit for breach of environmental law. Environmental law was written to prevent and mandate the cleanup of environmental contaminants, including ground, air and water pollution from chemicals, hazardous wastes and other pollutants.
According to environmental law, citizens can bring private legal action to require the cleanup of contamination or pollution. Lawsuits can be brought under common law for damage that results from contamination. This includes the contamination of water, land or air as a result of exposure to harmful substances.
For example, a lawsuit may be brought under the Clean Water Act to stop a polluter from illegally discharging pollutants into a stream. A private citizen may also bring a lawsuit to claim compensation for contamination to their property or for compensation to cover personal injury that resulted from the pollution.
Under common law, a claimant may seek recovery for damages because of:
- Nuisance – if there is pollution near your Florida property, this type of claim may be brought for the unreasonable interference or the loss of use and enjoyment of your property because of the actions of a nearby landowner. For example, the odor from a nearby livestock farm in a residential area may interfere with your right to peacefully enjoy your home and property.
- Trespass – if there is a physical invasion or contamination of your property, such as a neighboring facility that dumps waste onto your property, you may claim damages for some of the cleanup and repair costs, as allowed by law.
- Strict liability – if someone uses a hazardous substance that causes pollution near your Florida property and the hazardous substance escapes and migrates onto your property, that person may be held liable for cleanup and repair costs.
- Negligence – if someone’s negligent and polluting act damages you or your Florida property, they may be held liable for any reasonably foreseeable damages.
If you have suffered significant property damage as a result pollution near your Florida home and your Florida homeowners insurance claim has been denied, consult with an attorney who understands pollution claims. An attorney can help you to understand the legal options available to you.
Attorneys in Florida Who Focus on Homeowners Insurance Claims
The Florida homeowners insurance claim attorneys at Falk & Falk Law Firm know how important it is to you and your family to get the settlement you need in order to move on with your lives. Our homeowners insurance attorneys have experience in helping victims of hurricanes, pollution, theft, vandalism, fire, sinkholes and more to recover from their loss. An experienced attorney can help you to fight for the compensation that you need and navigate the tricky world of homeowners insurance in Florida. Contact us today – 305-742-0878.