Commercial real estate purchasers are encountering a new type of risk when purchasing properties. Named boomerang properties, these properties were previously designated contamination-free or received full remediation. Now, they raise new or additional environmental concerns. In these cases, previous remedial work or certifications from local or state environmental agencies does not provide the new owner with any protection from potential legal liability. Boomerang properties frequently require unforeseen pollutant cleanup costs, which place the health and safety of many at risk.
Common triggers that result in a property being reclassified as having environmental concerns include:
- New use of the property
- Recently discovered evidence of contamination
- Information provided during due diligence investigation as part of a property sale or refinancing application
- Changes in state or federal safety regulations
- Advancements in pollutant detection
Better technology has created situations in which previously undetected contamination becomes an issue for a current owner. This commonly occurs with respect to vapor intrusion, a process by which subsurface contamination travels into an enclosed space in a home or commercial building from the soil. This can place individuals at significant risk for toxic exposure to volatile substances, including dangerous petroleum solvents.
When any these actions reveal an environmental safety compliance issue, the property becomes increasingly difficult to sell or lease. Individuals interested in purchasing real estate should perform a Phase I Environmental Assessment, which can provide buyers with protection from liability for any pre-existing conditions by documenting historical contamination. Although it does not require any type of soil or air sampling, the Assessment involves a record review, site inspection, and communication with local government officials.
Dangers of PFAS Chemicals
Many boomerang properties receive that designation when the existence of perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), are newly detected. These potentially lethal chemicals have been used previously in the production of certain electronics, nonstick or stain resistant coatings, firefighting foams, and paints. Individuals exposed to PFAS chemicals can suffer a wide range of physical injuries.
Compensation for Exposure Victims
Treating exposure injuries can result in significant expenses, including the costs of medical treatment, hospital stays, rehabilitation services, occupational or physical therapy, laboratory testing, and prescription drugs. Victims often face a loss of income as they become unable to work due to chronic conditions or the need to attend medical appointments. Exposure victims can obtain compensation for these expenses, along with damages for pain and suffering. For further assistance in holding responsible parties liable for the injuries they have caused, contact an experienced environmental contamination lawyer.
Philadelphia Environmental Contamination Lawyers at Williams Cedar Obtain Compensation for Toxic Exposure Victims
If you have suffered an illness, or increased risk of future illness, or your property has lost value due to PFAS contamination, you may be entitled to financial compensation. At Williams Cedar, our experienced Philadelphia environmental contamination lawyers work with toxic exposure victims to hold manufacturers, distributers, and marketers of contaminated products responsible for the injuries caused by lethal substances. Located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and nationwide. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 215-557-0099 or submit an online inquiry form.