The Chicago lead poisoning attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers vigorously defend the right of tenants to live in a home that is both clean and free of toxins. When you or your family have suffered from lead contamination, it is important to understand how city, state and federal laws protect you as well as the limitations on those protections. The city of Chicago contains thousands of buildings that were constructed prior to the enactment of laws meant to reduce or eliminate the threat of lead exposure. In some cases, Chicago has taken the initiative to enact statutes that go further than similar federal and state laws.
The Obligations of Property Owners
While landlords and property owners are not required by any law to inspect their properties for lead exposure, they must educate prospective tenants about lead exposure and provide information about how to detect and address the concerns if the property was built prior to 1978. In Chicago, tenants must be given a summary of any building code violations that have been assessed in the prior year along with a summary of the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Law. The failure of property owners to adhere to these guidelines can make them liable for any injury or damage to the property that results from exposure to toxic substances or violation of building codes.
You have the right to live in a home free of lead contamination and there are measures you can take if your landlord refuses to address your concerns. Our Chicago lead exposure lawyers often find that tenants would have acted more quickly to protect themselves if they had been made aware of their rights prior to exposure. Following are your rights and the laws that support them.
- The right to have your home inspected for lead contamination. Under the Lead-Safe Housing Rule, which is a federal law, all residents living in HUD Housing have the right to live free of lead hazards. When the property is owned commercially or privately, Illinois law allows the resident to request an inspection if any child under 6 year old has a blood lead level of 20 µg/dL, has tested above 15 µg/dL three consecutive times or a child’s physician requests the inspection following a blood lead level result of 10 µg/dL. If a hazard is located during the inspection, all the tenants are to be informed of it and the landlord is required to fix the issue. Chicago’s law goes even further, declaring a level of more than 5 µg/dL to be toxic and allowing a warrant to be issued if the property owner refuses an inspection.
- Under federal law, it is the responsibility of tenants to inform property managers and owners of visible signs that may indicate lead exposure. Some of these signs are the chipping, cracking or peeling of paint or signs of worn and broken pipes. Chicago law states that tenants must provide access to landlords to perform reasonable repairs and notify them in writing whenever there is an issue with the property. As long as you have met these requirements, it is the responsibility of your landlord to take appropriate action to eliminate the threat to your safety and notify other residents of the danger.
- Illinois law prohibits children, pregnant women and pets from entering a property that is being repaired due to lead contamination. Children living in these residences must be sent to a location free of contamination until the repairs are complete and the hazard is eliminated. The only exception is if the affected area can be completely sealed off from the rest of the property.
- Federal law regarding the refusal of a property owner to address a problem is rather ambiguous, but luckily, Chicago law is more direct. Complaints can be reported by dialing 311 and associations such as the Center for Conflict Resolution provide services to residents dealing with lead exposure concerns. Another organization that defends the right of tenants to live free of hazards is the Metropolitan Tenants Organization. For more information, call 312-292-4988.
Your Right to Compensation
If you or a family member has suffered injuries due to lead poisoning, you may be entitled to recover compensation from your landlord in the amount of the value of you or your child’s medical bills, ongoing rehabilitative therapy, out of pocket expenses and pain and suffering. The law supports your right to live in a safe environment and if your landlord refuses to correct an issue you have identified or has not disclosed the risk of lead poisoning to you prior to your taking up residence, he or she may be held liable. If you are living in the city of Chicago, the laws favor your rights even more than similar state and federal laws would.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is an award winning law firm that has successfully recovered compensation on behalf of thousands of clients throughout Illinois. We are not only dedicated to representing your legal interests, but also to helping you gain access to the care and resources you need to move forward with your life. Our access to a comprehensive network of medical experts will ensure that your child has access to quality doctors while our experienced and highly qualified attorneys fight tirelessly to recover the damages needed to cover your past and future expenses.
Contact us today to arrange a free consultation and case review with one of our Chicago lead poisoning attorneys. We will gather the information needed to launch a thorough investigation and let you know more about your legal rights and options. You are assured that we will never require a fee for our services upfront or at any point through the legal process until we have secured the damages you are entitled to. If we fail to do so, our services and time will be free of charge.