Riley | Ersoff LLP is the only law firm in California that has a primary focus in lead poisoning. Our lead poisoning lawyers have prosecuted more childhood lead poisoning cases and recovered more money for victims of lead poisoning than any other law firm in California.
Riley | Ersoff LLP Discusses The Dangers of Childhood Lead Poisoning
Childhood lead poisoning remains the most significant environmental health threat in California.
Chronic low-level lead exposure – even at levels less than 5 mcg/dL – can cause permanent neurological, behavioral, and emotional harm to young children. The neurological and physiological deficits caused by childhood lead poisoning include loss of IQ, ADD, ADHD, loss of executive function (the ability to juggle tasks and responsibilities), learning disabilities, delayed puberty, heart disease, kidney disease, and early-onset dementia.
Children are especially vulnerable to the dangers of lead poisoning. The vast majority of lead poisoning cases in California are caused by exposure to and ingestion of deteriorated lead-based paint, lead dust, and other lead hazards.
Although low-income children and children of color are at the greatest risk of being exposed to deteriorated lead-based paint, lead dust, and other lead hazards, any child living in a residential property built prior to 1978 is at risk of lead poisoning.
Lead-based paint was widely used prior to 1978 (when it was banned by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Division) and is presumed – as a matter of law – to be present in all pre-1978 residential properties.
Lead-based paint, even when covered by otherwise “safe” paint, can harm your child. Age, weather, wear and tear, friction, and impact can work together to expose lead-based paint to your child.
Even microscopic particles of lead-based paint that a child ingests through normal hand-to-mouth behavior are sufficient to cause permanent harm. Negligent and callous landlords who refuse to make repairs to their rental properties and ignore the lead-based paint on their rental properties are oftentimes directly responsible for destroying the life and future of an innocent young child. This is absolutely unacceptable given that lead poisoning is 100% preventable.
If you believe that you live in a pre-1978 rental home and that your landlord is ignoring your child’s health, safety, and future, call us at (888) 495-9272 or send us an online message to learn how our California lead poisoning lawyers can help you. We offer free consultations.
We can educate you regarding the dangers of lead poisoning, tell you what you can do to protect your children, and explain to you and your loved ones how we have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of families just like yours.
Recent Lead Poisoning Settlements
What is Lead Poisoning?
Lead is a naturally occurring element found in nature and is used in many consumer products. When lead accumulates in the body from certain exposures, it can lead to toxicity. The amount of lead and level of toxicity within the body will largely depend on how many months or years the individual was exposed. What makes lead poisoning so dangerous is that it can be difficult to detect early. Some of the more obvious symptoms won’t show until the lead has reached higher levels.
While lead poisoning remains one of the most common and preventable conditions in the United States, chronic exposure can result in severe health consequences and, in serious cases, fatality.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that nearly half of all homes built before 1978 still contain lead-based paint. Lead paint that is chipping, flaking, peeling, or otherwise deteriorating is a lead hazard that increases the risk of lead poisoning.
Lead & Our Environment
The presence of lead in the environment can contaminate water sources, making it unsafe for consumption and posing risks to aquatic ecosystems. Lead can bioaccumulate in organisms, gradually moving up the food chain and potentially affecting higher-level predators.
Furthermore, lead contamination in soils can impact the health of plants, inhibiting their growth and reducing agricultural productivity. This can have far-reaching consequences on food security and the overall balance of ecosystems.
To mitigate the environmental impact of lead, efforts are underway to reduce lead emissions, improve waste management practices, remediate contaminated sites, and promote lead-safe practices in industries and households. By raising awareness about the dangers of lead and implementing effective measures to prevent its release into the environment, we can protect both the ecosystem and human health from the adverse effects of lead contamination.
Lead can pose significant risks to human health when it enters the environment. Exposure to lead can occur through various pathways, such as inhaling lead-contaminated dust or fumes, consuming lead-contaminated food or water, or coming into direct contact with lead-containing materials. With exposure coming through a variety of common channels, it’s imperative to watch for signs of poisoning and reach out to a medical professional if you experience symptoms.
Lead Poisoning in Children
Children face an increased risk of harm from exposure to lead-based paint. If you are a parent, you know that young children put all manner of things in their mouths. Children also spend a lot of time on the ground and wash their hands less frequently than adults.
Unfortunately, this puts them at a higher risk of ingesting harmful substances, such as lead and other contaminants. But children at any age can develop lead poisoning. For example, if they consume food contaminated with lead dust, this can cause them to experience lead poisoning. Further, in some cases, breathing in sufficient amounts of lead dust in the air can cause lead poisoning.
What Should I Do If I Believe My Child Ingested Lead?
Parents who suspect their child has ingested lead should immediately have a doctor or urgent care provider examine their child. As the parent, you should be specific about your concerns when visiting the doctor so that the medical team can perform the necessary tests. In many cases, the doctor will order blood tests to check for traces of lead in your child’s system. An attorney for lead poisoning can also review the case and advise whether you have a claim against your landlord or another party for your child ingesting lead.
Sources of a Child’s Exposure to Lead-Based Paint
Despite the numerous regulations in place to prevent children and others from the harm of lead-based paint, landlords and property owners continue to ignore the risks and skirt the law. Their negligence often puts vulnerable populations, such as children, at risk by not being honest with the children’s caregivers about the presence of lead in the building. Some common sources of a child’s exposure to lead-based paint in the home include:
- Paint chips that fall from the walls, ceiling, doors, or window frames
- Lead-contaminated dust generated by deteriorating lead-based paint
- Bare soil in the yard contaminated by paint chips falling from exterior walls and windowsills
Early symptoms of lead poisoning can be difficult to detect, and even children who appear healthy may have unsafe levels of lead in their blood. If you believe your child may have been exposed to lead, visit your doctor immediately. You should request a blood test to determine your child’s level of exposure.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Lead Poisoning in a Child
Lead is a dangerous substance that can negatively impact nearly every system in the human body. This is especially true for children because they are smaller and particularly vulnerable due to their developing bodies and minds. Children exposed to lead may exhibit any number of symptoms, including the following:
- Learning difficulties
- Difficulty concentrating
- Behavior problems
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
Unfortunately, in many cases, it can be difficult to know if a child has been exposed to lead until they start showing symptoms. This is because many children who have lead in their system can show little to no symptoms at first. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages parents to take a proactive approach and seek medical attention as soon as they believe something is or could be wrong.
CONSEQUENCES OF IGNORING SIGNS OF LEAD POISONING IN CHILDREN
Since lead is a toxin that can affect different parts of a child’s body, including the brain and nervous system, kidneys, and blood cells, ignoring lead poisoning in children can have severe consequences for their health and development. Some of the consequences of neglecting lead poisoning in children include but are not limited to the following:
- Developmental delays—lead can interfere with the brain and nervous system’s normal development, leading to delays in speech and language development, motor skills, and other developmental milestones;
- Cognitive and behavioral problems—lead exposure can cause cognitive and behavioral issues, including decreased IQ, learning disabilities, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD);
- Delayed growth—lead exposure can interfere with the production of hormones that regulate growth, leading to delayed growth and slight build or height;
- Delayed puberty—lead exposure can interfere with hormone production and affect the hormones that regulate puberty, leading to delayed or disrupted sexual development;
- Poor academic performance—children with lead poisoning may struggle academically, which can have long-term consequences on their educational and career opportunities;
- Organ damage—lead can damage the kidneys, liver, and other organs, leading to long-term health problems;
- Behavioral issues—children with lead poisoning may exhibit behavioral problems such as irritability, aggression, and hyperactivity;
- Anemia—since lead can interfere with the production of red blood cells, anemia may result;
- Seizures—in severe cases, lead poisoning can cause seizures, coma, and even death;
- Hearing loss—lead exposure has been linked to hearing loss, which can significantly impact a child’s language and communication development;
- Dental problems—lead exposure can cause dental problems, such as enamel flaws and tooth decay;
- Neurological problems—in rare cases, lead poisoning can cause severe neurological crises, such as seizures and encephalopathy; and
- Cardiovascular disease—an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood has been linked to lead exposure.
It’s important to note that some of these consequences are far less frequent than others and more likely to occur in severe lead poisoning cases. Most children with lead poisoning will never experience many of these issues. It’s also important to remember that lead poisoning’s effects can sometimes take years to manifest. So regardless of the prevalence of any of these outcomes, it’s still essential to take lead poisoning seriously and address it early. Prompt action can prevent potential long-term health consequences.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD FROM LEAD
In a perfect world, not living in a home with elevated lead levels is the best way to protect them. But we live in reality, and it’s a sad fact that some parents are forced to raise their children in less-than-optimal environments.
If you know or suspect that there is lead contamination in your rental house or apartment, your landlord has the obligation to provide a safe living space for all tenants. He or she should be notified so that the proper decontamination steps can be taken. Tenants can also notify the county or state health departments so that they can test for lead levels.
Below are some tips for parents to take to protect their child from lead exposure as much as possible:
- Don’t let kids play in the dirt. Fill a covered sandbox with sand and let them dig to their heart’s consent.
- Keep surfaces free of dust. Treat all accumulations of dust as potential lead exposures.
- Reduce amount of household dust. This is especially vital during routine maintenance tasks, remodeling and renovations.
- Take shoes off outside. Slip on a pair of slippers only worn inside.
- Damp mop floors weekly. This is an important part of controlling household dust.
- Vacuum regularly using a HEPA filter. It’s important to use it on upholstery, too.
- Pick up paint chips. Use a paper towel to pick up, then wipe with a damp one.
If you suspect that lead exposures have occurred with your children, seek medical testing for them. While there is no way to ameliorate the damage, getting your children supportive services they may now require can be beneficial to them as they grow up.
Lead Poisoning in the Home
Your house, apartment, or living space should be a safe place for you and your family without risks such as lead poisoning. Unfortunately, if you live in a low-income neighborhood or a house built before 1978, you or your children may be exposed to lead without realizing it. Lead can contaminate the air you breathe, the food you eat, or the water you drink, causing you or your loved ones to be poisoned.
If lead poisoning occurs in your home, you may have several different legal claims depending on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. The calculation of damages usually depends on the extent of the harm suffered and factors such as medical costs, lost wages, and the costs of rehabilitation. In children, this cost may be particularly high. Lead poisoning can lead to mental disabilities that could significantly limit the child’s success in school and the workplace.
In some cases, if a court determines that the defendant acted willfully to expose you or your loved one to toxic lead, significant punitive damages may also be awarded.
How Do I Get Compensated for Lead Poisoning?
Our California lead poisoning attorneys understand the terrible pain and suffering that lead poisoning can cause. We fight diligently to ensure our clients are adequately compensated for their injuries.
Our lead poisoning attorneys in Los Angeles have more than 50 years of combined experience litigating complex legal issues. Riley | Ersoff LLP has the resources and expertise necessary to ensure the best possible legal representation.
Landlords who knowingly fail to provide required lead disclosures and lead warnings to their tenants may be required to pay substantial penalties for the resulting harm. Under EPA regulations, your landlord may be required to pay significant damages to compensate you for injuries from lead poisoning caused by the failure to provide the required lead warnings and disclosures.
The lead poisoning attorneys at Riley | Ersoff LLP rely on their decades of experience to meticulously prepare each client’s case. We know what factors are essential to developing a winning legal argument.
Our dedication to our clients has resulted in numerous multimillion-dollar damage awards for lead poisoning cases in California:
- $10,000,000.00 in damages from a lead poisoning case
- $3,600,000.00 in damages from lead poisoning and slum housing
- $2,800,000.00 in damages from a scald burn
- $2,750,000.00 in damages from lead poisoning
- $2,500,000.00 in damages from lead poisoning
- $1,900,000.00 in damages from lead poisoning
- $1,720,000.00 in damages from lead poisoning
- $1,250,000.00 in damages from lead poisoning
How Do I File a Claim for Lead Poisoning in California?
Because of the wide range of impacts lead can have on a child’s developing body and mind, the treatments for the symptoms of lead poisoning can be expansive. Further, the best way to limit the impacts of lead and lead poisoning is to stop the exposure by removing the lead from your home. But this can be difficult for parents to do if they rent and their landlord is unwilling to help. A Los Angeles lead poisoning attorney can help families and children impacted by lead poisoning hold the at-fault parties accountable and get the compensation they need to protect their health.
Lead poisoning cases can be extremely complex and difficult to win on your own. It is important to choose a well-qualified Los Angeles lead poisoning attorney who is familiar with the law and the level of preparation necessary to win your case.
But before considering taking any legal action, you should always seek medical attention first. Your doctor will diagnose and treat any pressing health concerns and determine the extent of the harm you have suffered. Documentation from a doctor’s visit is also important evidence for your case.
How Los Angeles Lead Poisoning Lawyers Can Help You With Your Case
Filing a legal claim can be long and often difficult. But a Los Angeles lead poisoning lawyer can provide the support and guidance you and your family need, holding your hand and fighting for you during the process.
Our experienced lead poisoning attorneys in California can help you through this process and provide the necessary resources along the way. Our lead paint lawyers will discuss with you the legal merits of your claim and determine if pursuing a case is worthwhile.
Although California laws provide strong protection for victims of lead poisoning, successfully proving a defendant’s liability can be difficult. To ensure that your claim is successful, your lead paint attorney will need to perform a thorough investigation of the facts of your case.
This process will involve:
- A review of relevant medical information
- Inspection of the exposure site
- Interviews with clients
- Other fact-gathering.
To help facilitate this process, be prepared to share the following with your lead poisoning lawyer:
- Provide your attorney with proof of a medical diagnosis of lead poisoning
- Your or your child’s medical history
- A copy of your lease if you or your loved one were harmed in the home
- Photos of deteriorated paint around your home
Will I Have to Pay to Review My Case?
No! In fact, with Riley | Ersoff LLP, you won’t have to pay until after your case is resolved, and we earn you a lead poisoning settlement or judgment. You don’t need to worry about paying anything out of pocket, and we’ll make sure you’re fairly compensated.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Leading Poisoning Attorneys in LA Today
If you believe you or your loved one is suffering from lead poisoning, contact Riley | Ersoff LLP today to schedule a free consultation. Our experienced lead poisoning attorneys have won millions of dollars in damages for our clients and can provide you with the resources you need.
- Environmental Protection Agency: Protect Your Family from Exposures to Lead
- Center for Disease Control (CDC): Childhood Lead Poisoning
- Lead Poisoning: Mayo Clinic
- California Code of Regulations: Lead-Based Paint and Lead Hazards
- EPA Required Disclosures and Enforcement for Lead Hazards
- California Tenant and Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
- Daniel J. Penovsky, Childhood Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Litigation. 66 Am Jur Trials 47 (1998).
- National Multi-Housing Council v. U.S. E.P.A., 292 F.3d 232 (D.C. App. 2002).