Who can be Held Responsible for my Child’s Elevated Blood-Lead Levels?
Medical science has long known that even the tiniest amount (a 10 millionth of a gram or 10 micrograms) of lead inhaled or ingested every day can cause lead poisoning in children. The body stores ingested or inhaled lead. Low-level exposure to lead dust each day can accumulate in a child's body and stunt their growth, cause learning disabilities, produce hyperactivity, and create a host of other serious medical issues. High-level exposure to lead dust can produce seizures, permanently damage the brain and nervous system and cause death.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents victims of lead exposure lead exposure and other types of professional negligence. Our law firm has extensive experience in resolving cases for our clients who are suffering many of the terrible side effects of long-term exposure to lead-based products. Our attorneys are available to answer any legal question on how to receive the compensation your family deserves if your family pediatrician diagnosed your child with elevated blood lead levels. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
Who is Responsible for my Child's Lead Poisoning?
Even tiny amounts of exposure to lead are known to cause permanent health damage. When others are responsible for harming children through their negligence, they can be held legally liable and financially accountable to the victim and family. However, proving liability can be challenging. The property owner might have recently purchased the residence and was unaware that lead paint or lead products were present in the house. The city water company might not be aware that their old lead pipes were delivering contaminated drinking water.
Holding the paint manufacturing company legally responsible for using lead pigment in their products is no longer an option. Decades ago, Congress enacted laws to protect paint companies from injured plaintiff's filing civil lawsuits for financial compensation based on damages caused by lead exposure. That said, there are other options for obtaining monetary recovery to eliminate the financial burden you have endured since you loved one was injured by lead poisoning.
Many communities like the state of Rhode Island, Santa Clara County, California, St. Louis Missouri, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin have taken proactive steps in helping tenants and landlords handle contamination abatement issues. The government jurisdictions have filed lawsuits against companies that have destroyed the environment with lead-based products. Their efforts are creating monetary pools where property owners, tenants and other victims injured by lead exposure have access to funds for health problems and abatement expenses.
Many companies, property owners, and landlords repeatedly attempt to push responsibility off to others in the hopes of avoiding expensive lawsuits. However, your family has legal options for identifying who is at fault for your child's lead poisoning and how to hold them financially responsible for your damages.
In some cases that involve lead paint poisoning, the property owner's insurance coverage may provide compensation if the child or adult is exposed to lead on the premises. However, many times, the victim might need to file a lawsuit against the previous owner or existing landlord before suing the insurance carrier to obtain compensation.
Lead Poisoning and Pregnancy
Expectant mothers must take steps to avoid lead exposure. Throughout pregnancy, the mother's bones release calcium and minerals into the bloodstream. Any accumulated lead stored in the bones will also be released and transmitted through the womb into the fetus. The fetus' exposure to lead can produce horrific side effects throughout its developing stages and cause congenital disabilities or death.
Lead Exposure – A Chicago Problem
An article published in the Chicago Tribune in July 2015 revealed the results of the paper's investigation of lead poisoning occurring in the poorer sections of Chicago. The report stated that more than one out of every five children tested in more impoverished communities had exceedingly elevated levels of lead poisoning that is known to cause severe brain and neurological damage.
The investigation revealed an alarming fact that children five years or younger in these communities suffered significant injuries at a rate of more than six times Chicago's averages. The African-American communities were most predominately affected. Additionally, this rate is significantly higher than it was can years ago.
In 2014, Chicago funded anti-lead programs with approximately $4 million for the year, which was only about half the amount ($8 million) funded for the programs in 2010. While this might seem adequate, that same year, the city alderman received $4.8 million to fund their expense accounts, and Chicago spent $6.5 million for software licensing.
Many of the homes in the Chicago metropolitan area constructed before 1978 still have lead-based paint that can cause toxic dust as the paint deteriorates. Young children could inhale the dust when it becomes airborne or when touching paint or placing hands and items in their mouths. Sadly, many parents are unaware that their child is sick from lead poisoning until it is far too late.
Although the federal government knew that lead-based products were a significant problem back in the 1950s, Congress did not act to ban these dangerous goods until 1978. In fact, the government did not outlaw leaded gasoline across the United States until 1986. The last lead-associated fatality reported in Chicago occurred two years later in 1988.
Exposing Illinois Schoolchildren to Lead
In January 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation to protect schoolchildren from dangerous toxic levels of lead found in drinking water. Illinois Senate Bill 550 requires mandatory testing of potable water in drinking fountains at every school building, gymnasium or structure built before January 1987 and every daycare facility built before January 2000. The bill also states that the government is to notify every student's parent or guardian when elevated lead levels at the school have been detected.
Also, the bill mandates that community water systems throughout the state provide the Illinois EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) with a comprehensive lead service line inventory. The agency will use this information to notify residents when work is being performed on water meters, service water lines, and water mains. Illinois Department of Public Health Director Doctor Shah stated that “Elevated levels of lead in children can cause developmental and behavioral disabilities. We have made great progress in reducing the number of children with elevated levels, and we will continue to work to protect one of our most vulnerable populations.”
What the Courts Have Decided
In 2003, an Ohio courthouse jury found a property manager financially accountable to an injured victim who had suffered lead poisoning while living in the residence years ago has a child. The manager was ordered to pay the victim $100,000 in damages. Although the adult plaintiff had moved out of the apartment when he was seven years old, he developed a below average IQ (intellectual quotient) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder).
The jury's decision makes it significantly more challenging for landlords and property owners to argue that they did not know that there was a potential danger of lead exposure in their units caused by lead-based paint. Lawyers working on behalf of the plaintiff argued that the landlord should have been aware or expected the apartment to be contaminated because of the property's age and the use of hazardous lead-based products when the structure was constructed decades ago before the government “lead exposure” ban was enacted in 1978.
Preventing Lead Poisoning
Lead poisoning can be avoided if you take preventable steps using proactive measures to never expose yourself to lead products, dust, debris or particles. Medical science recommends the following preventive measures.
- Wash your children's hands frequently and discourage them from putting their hands or other objects in their mouths.
- Allow your children to play only on sandy or grassy surfaces when outside to minimize the potential risk of lead exposure that might be in the dirt.
- Use water and detergent to clean windowsills, doors, floors and other surface areas that are commonly touched by your children.
- Feed your children a healthy diet with iron-rich foods including red meat, eggs, and beans. These foods along with supplements of vitamin C and calcium can assist the child's body in fighting off lead absorption.
- Test the water to detect lead entering the home through old lead pipes or old copper pipes with lead soldering.
- If your home was constructed before the 1950s, identify places in the house that might have lead paint on the walls, doors, and around the windowsills. Check for disintegrating, flaking or peeling paint that can release lead dust into the air. If lead is detected, remove the child from the house immediately until certified license abatement technicians professionally correct the problem.
- Test your child for lead poisoning if you identify any potential risks of lead exposure in their environment. Expecting mothers and those anticipating pregnancy should also undergo lead poisoning tests to protect the health of the unborn child.
Demolition, construction or renovation projects on an older home must be performed with care to ensure that possible areas with lead paint are handled professionally. When lead paint is detected, it should never be removed by burning, standing, or dry-scraping that could cause lead dust to be released into the air.
Hiring a Lead Poisoning Injury Lawyer
The civil tort laws necessary to prove a premises liability case involving lead poisoning is exceptionally complicated, even if you can show your child's mental and physical problems are associated with lead exposure. The damaging effects of lead paint, leaded drinking water, and lead poisoning from materials is especially damaging to a more fragile, smaller developing mind and body of a child when compared to a teen or adult.
If you believe that toxic lead level exposure injured your children, their injuries, limitations, and disabilities might be permanent. The premises liability and lead poisoning injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC provide legal assistance to children and adults who have suffered injuries through the exposure of elevated blood-lead levels. Our legal team has successfully prosecuted lead poisoning injury cases. We will fight tirelessly on your all behalf to ensure your family receives the fair compensation they deserve.
Contact our attorneys today to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation to discuss the merits of your monetary recovery claim. Our legal team accepts all personal injury case, wrongful death lawsuit, product liability suits and toxic exposure claims through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement postpones the payment of legal services until after we have successfully resolved your case through a jury trial or negotiated out of court settlement. We provide every client a “No Win/No-Fee” Guarantee, meaning if we are unable to secure financial compensation on your behalf you owe us nothing. All information you share with our law office remains confidential.
For additional information see the following pages:
- How can I tell if my child is at risk for lead poisoning?
- How can I tell if my child is impacted by lead poisoning?
- How can I protect my family from lead exposure?
- Can I bring a lawsuit to recover compensation for my child who has lead poisoning?
- What are the chances of winning a lead contamination lawsuit?
- How long does it take to get compensation for a lead poisoning case?
- Is there a cost to pursue a lead poisoning case for my child?