Can I File a Claim for a Bad Smell With a Personal Injury Attorney?

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A personal injury attorney can handle your claim for a nuisance, such as a smell. Therefore, it is possible to file a claim for this type of “injury.” When a file is claimed for an obnoxious odor, it is considered an example of serious and willful misconduct.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC stresses that some odors are harmful to human health. According to the CDC,  these odors originate from manufacturing plants, certain human activities, nature, or animals. When smells unreasonably interfere with a person’s rights or present a dangerous health concern, he or she is in his or her right to file a claim.

Personal Injury Attorney Nuisance Claims

A nuisance claim is normally associated with the unlawful and unusual use of land or activity that interferes with the public’s or a person’s enjoyment of their property. Not only can a nuisance lawsuit relate to a noxious smell, but it may also extend to the following:

  • The illegal burning of materials
  • Inordinately loud sounds
  • The posting of unacceptable pictures or signs
  • Illegal gambling activities

When it comes to serious and willful misconduct, nuisance claims involve situations where the emission of noises, lights, or odors interfere with the surrounding quality of life. 

For instance, if you are renting an apartment, a nuisance, such as a bad smell, may disrupt the quiet enjoyment of the property and therefore lead you to make a claim. Likewise, a public nuisance, such as factory odors or fumes, may affect people in a community.

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When You Need to Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney

While a private nuisance claim covers a limited number of people, a public nuisance case involves a broader population. A personal injury attorney often manages nuisance claims that involve complaints related to chemical odors, smoke or fumes, barking dogs, night lighting, or ongoing noises or sounds.

If you try to resolve the issue with the other party but the problem persists, you should discuss the situation with a personal injury attorney. He or she can substantiate your claim of serious and willful misconduct

Proving Liability for a Bad Smell

Liability claims for personal injury cover unpleasant odors when the following is proven:

  • The other party is emitting a smell from their property
  • Their action unreasonably interferes with the claimant’s enjoyment and use of their property
  • The plaintiff has suffered substantial or material harm because of this behavior

Laws regarding nuisance smells support federal claims made by a personal injury attorney as well regulations established by individual states. 

Examples of Nuisance Smells

Some examples of malodorous smells that trigger personal injury claims include:

  • Smells coming from a bird or hog farm
  • Smells from a nearby landfill
  • Septic tank odors
  • Smells from a dog kennel
  • Odors coming through the walls, such as thick smoke, in an apartment
  • Unpleasant fumes or heavy chemical smells from a factory

Hydrogen Sulfide

Certain smells can definitely harm you if you are exposed to them for a long enough time. One of the worst offenders is hydrogen sulfide – a smell that is commonly found in sewer gas. The rotten-egg odor results from the bacterial and anaerobic breakdown of organic materials.

Exposure to the gas can fatally affect the nerves. In some cases, the gas attacks the central nervous system and causes death. The level of exposure, even in small amounts, can trigger a great deal of distress.

What OSHA Research Has Found

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides a fact sheet that elaborates on the dangers of hydrogen sulfide gas. According to the OSHA publication, hydrogen sulfide is a thick gas that moves along the ground level and accumulates in enclosed and low-lying or poorly ventilated spaces. These areas may include sewer lines, manholes, basements, or manure pits. 

The chemical acts as an irritant and asphyxiant, both of which affect breathing and central nervous system functioning. When a person is repeatedly exposed to the gas, a person’s tolerance diminishes over time.

The Risks of Exposure

Low amounts of hydrogen sulfide (under 50 parts per million (ppm)) can irritate the throat and nose and lead to recurring headaches or a loss of appetite. 

A higher concentration, (from 50 to 150 ppm) may lead to the loss of smell, coughing, or visual irritation. When exposure registers over 200 ppm, eye damage can occur as well as fluid retention in the lungs. Any exposure over 700 ppm can lead to unconsciousness and death.

Speak to a Qualified Personal Injury Lawyer Now

If you have been exposed to this type of serious and willful misconduct, don’t delay speaking about the matter to a personal injury attorney. To discuss your case, call 562-526-1224. It pays to have an advocate on your side. You don’t owe your attorney anything unless he or she wins your case.