Landlords are required by law to maintain a safe and habitable apartment and if the landlord does not maintain the apartment to make sure that it’s free from lead paint, the landlord may be liable to compensate a child who suffers from lead poisoning as a result of the landlord’s negligence.
Landlords are required to inspect for lead paint and then remove, or cover the lead based paint on all interior walls, ceilings, doors, window sills, and moldings where a young child is living. In New York City owners of buildings that have three or more apartments must meet legal requirements as to lead paint. If the building was built before 1960, and if a young child is living in the apartment the landlord must inspect the apartment for lead based paint.
Lead poisoning is most damaging to very young children and exposure to lead-based paint is the primary source of lead poisoning. For a child, even the tiniest amount of lead-based paint is potentially hazardous if it begins to peel, chip, or otherwise generate dust. Since no amount of lead is safe in the body, brief exposure can lead to disastrous results. Children aged seven and younger are in a special risk group due to developmental difficulties associated with lead exposure. Even low levels of lead can affect an infant’s mental development. Lead exposure has been linked with reduced intelligence, learning disabilities, low graduation rates, and criminal behavior.
Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it may go undiagnosed if a blood test is not performed. Any child that you suspect has been, or is being, affected by lead paint must be evaluated by health care professionals to test for lead in the bloodstream as well as for cognitive and behavioral deficits that may have been caused by the child’s exposure to the lead-based paint. A blood test is the only reliable way to diagnose lead poisoning. In the 1960s, people were not considered lead-poisoned until their blood level was 60 mg/deciliter. In 1978, the threshold number was cut to 30 mg/deciliter, and it was lowered again in 1985. Currently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states the threshold for lead poisoning is just 10 mg/deciliter.
Although at one time it was common for buildings to use leaded paint we now know that it is dangerous for any person or any child to be exposed to lead dust or flaking lead based paint. Though lead paint has been banned in residential housing for decades, the old paint on the surfaces of painted walls, trim, doors and moldings may have lead within them. Even a small amount of leaded dust or paint can cause serious and permanent damage to a child if the child puts the paint chips or dust into its mouth as unfortunately young children often do..
In New York City the law permits an infant to obtain compensation for injuries suffered as a result of lead paint poisoning. The damage awards may include past and future pain and suffering, past and future expenses for medical care, special education, vocational guidance, parental counseling, and future loss of earnings. In many cases these damages can be in the millions of dollars.
In the State of New York if a child is under the age of eighteen (18) the child’s parents are the legal representatives that can bring a lawsuit on behalf of the child.
If you believe that you or your child may be suffering from being lead-poisoned, you should speak with an experienced lead poisoning attorney regarding your legal rights. It’s important that you contact an attorney with experience in lead poisoning cases so that the attorney can obtain any relevant documents as to the history and maintenance of the building, as well as the inspection records from agencies such as the New York City Department of Health and the New York City Housing and Preservation and Development Department. Your attorney will also hire a qualified lead inspector to evaluate the presence of lead-based paint in your apartment and also hire the right medical experts to prove and support your past, present and future damages.
If you are in need of legal assistance, call the experienced lead paint lawyers at Jaroslawicz & Jaros at 212-227-2780, or you can submit an online questionnaire. The initial consultation is always free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery.
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