Lead paint that causes 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 a small 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.
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 still have lead within them. Just 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.
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. Children aged seven and younger are in a special risk group due to developmental difficulties associated with lead exposure.
New York City landlords, as well as the New York City Housing Authority, are required by law to maintain a safe and habitable apartment that is free of lead-based paint. If a 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 the presence of 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.
Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms it may go undiagnosed unless a blood test is performed. Any child that you suspect has been, or is being, affected by lead paint must be evaluated by healthcare 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.
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. New York law allows for parents to rightfully pursue a legal claim on behalf of their children who have been exposed to lead poison due to poorly maintained apartment buildings.
The law permits a child 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.
Lead poisoning is very dangerous to a child’s health, as it can cause serious health conditions, including among other injuries:
- Brain Damage
- Kidney Damage
- Nervous System Damage
- Learning Disabilities
- Speech and Behavioral Problem
The New York City Personal Injury Law Firm of Jaroslawicz and Jaros can help you and your family get the just compensation you deserve. Since 1980, we have helped thousands of New Yorkers seek justice for injuries caused by other people’s negligence.