Our Lead Poisoning Lawyers Can Help You Get Compensation
Lead is a highly toxic substance, and it remains a major, ongoing environmental health problem in the United States. Exposure to lead has adverse effects on many organ functions, such as the central nervous, cardiovascular, renal, digestive, and autoimmune systems, and even small exposure doses can lead to serious physical, mental, and psychological effects, and death. Children who are exposed are especially susceptible to damage, since their bodies and brains are still developing. Lead poisoning can limit their ability to live a vibrant, vigorous life and to have healthy families of their own.
If you or your child was exposed to lead through no fault of your own, you have the legal right to seek financial compensation. However, suing a manufacturer for a defective product that contains lead, or a landlord or distant third party by proving that they should have known about their property’s toxic lead dangers, can be very difficult. This is especially true when a federal, state, or local government agency may be involved.
Fortunately, the Houston lead poisoning lawyers at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law can help. By retaining a seasoned lead poisoning attorney from our firm who is familiar with these types of cases, you as a victim are taking the first step in receiving the necessary financial help you need to recover from the harm you suffered. Getting proper representation can make certain that those who are at fault are held accountable. Protect yourself by contacting us immediately to arrange a free evaluation of your case and determine the best way to move forward.
Call us today at (713) 973-8888 to get started, and let us handle the legal details while you concentrate on your recovery.
How Our Houston Lead Poisoning Lawyer Can Help You
While lead poisoning cases are highly complicated, Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law in Houston has been an advocate for Texas injury victims since 1985 – in their quest for justice, and holding culpable defendants accountable for the harm they have cased.
When you have us on your side, we will:
- Meet with you to discuss how the poisoning occurred, the effects on you and your children, and who might have been responsible, and evaluate whether you have a valid case. Every situation is different, so we will explain your legal options, what your case may be worth, and help you determine the best course of action to take to hold the negligent parties legally responsible for your damages.
- Ensure that you get tested and receive proper medical treatment for your conditions and that all injuries are documented.
- Make sure you and your family are protected from additional exposure and further damage.
- Conduct investigations, gathering evidence from lead hazard inspections and reports, and medical records and previous complaints, and interviewing witnesses and other individuals who may have been harmed.
- Hire experts in lead poisoning to testify as to the source and extent of your damages and how they negatively impact you and your family, and the type and costs of treatment you will need into the future.
- Negotiate with insurance companies and opposition lawyers for a fair settlement.
- Build your case and take it to court if necessary to aggressively fight for the compensation you are entitled to.
Who is Liable for Lead Poisoning?
To win your case, our lead poisoning attorneys would look to find the responsible parties (the defendants in the case) and prove that they were negligent and at fault for the lead poisoning that led to your illness or injuries. This means legally showing the following:
- Duty – The defendant had a duty of care to act responsibly and not cause harm.
- Breach – The defendant breached this duty by actions or failure to act.
- Causation – This breach caused damage to the environment which resulted in your injuries.
- Damages – You suffered damages as a result.
Lead poisoning cases can be pursued against several different or multiple parties who may be held liable, depending upon the specific situation. This includes:
- Landlords, people selling their home, and their real estate agents who knew or should have known that lead was present, but did not warn tenants or buyers.
Under the federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (Title X), landlords are required to take measures regarding lead-based paint in certain rentals; hefty penalties may be imposed when landlords don’t follow the law. For rental properties built before 1978, landlords must:
- provide tenants with the Environmental Protection Agency’s form Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home
- disclose any information they know about lead-based paint in the building
- provide a “Lead Warning Statement” confirming the landlord has given tenants all necessary notifications.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development can fine landlords who knowingly don’t follow Title X (24 C.F.R. § 30.65 (2019)). Landlords who don’t comply might also be subject to other civil fines and even criminal charges.
Tenants suspecting lead in their homes can get a lead hazard inspection. If the court finds that the landlord knowingly didn’t follow Title X, tenants can be awarded up to three times the amount of their damages, as well as court costs and attorneys’ fees.
- Property managers who fail to remedy or remediate lead in the pipes or paint of a property after being required to do so by the owner of the premises.
- Contractors who are negligent in removing or remediating lead despite being required to do so.
- Local governments who fail to test for or remediate lead in public buildings such as schools or in city water systems.
- School and daycare facility owners with lead on their property.
- Manufacturers of products that contain lead or who fail to disclose that lead-based paint was used in their products. Manufacturers or sellers of products can be held accountable for their products that contain lead, despite the warnings (and subsequent laws) banning the lead-associated product’s sale to American consumers. Manufacturers have a high legal duty to protect consumers from the negative, pernicious health effects that victims may suffer. And when they violate that duty, they deserve to be punished by paying fair compensation to their victims. But “defective product” law – which is the basis for filing a personal injury claim or case – is seldom easy. This is especially true if many individuals have been harmed by a single manufacturer, as different aspects of the law may be involved.
Our lead poisoning attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law will seek to find all responsible parties as they all may have insurance and assets that can go toward a settlement.
Damages You May Recover in a Lead Poisoning Lawsuit
Our Lead Poisoning Lawyers Will Fight for Both Monetary and Non-economic Damages
Economic damages are to reimburse you for monetary expenses, such as:
- Cost of medical, hospital, and nursing care resulting from injuries
- Loss of wages and earning capacity from being too sick to work.
Non-economic damages are compensation for the damages that do not have a fixed dollar value, but negatively impact your life, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress caused by the injuries
- Loss of consortium and enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages – In some cases, when defendants knowingly violate environmental laws and place people’s health at risk, punitive damages may be awarded as well. These are meant to punish and make an example of a defendant due to especially reckless or egregious actions.
Workers’ comp – For lead poisoning that was contracted in the workplace, Texas workers’ compensation may typically pay for the injured worker’s medical expenses and some of their lost income. However, workers’ comp will not pay for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages. Because workers are not usually able to sue an employer who subscribes to workers’ comp, an injured plaintiff is best served by retaining an experienced work injury attorney who will identify exceptions to this restriction (e.g. the employer is a nonsubscriber) and any third parties who could be held liable.
How Lead’s Toxic Properties Invade Every Organ and System in the Human Body
Exposure to lead becomes a danger to anyone’s health when it is swallowed or inhaled. There are numerous ways in which lead can invade the body in your home or workplace.
Common items that may contain lead include:
- Lead-contaminated dust – These microscopic lead particles are easily absorbed by the human body, especially through the lungs.
- Paint peelings (from pre-1978 paint) – Small children have been known to eat these paint flakes. Additionally, over time, peelings can be finely ground into toxic dust.
- Leaded gasoline fumes (or lead gasoline additives).
- Soil – Especially on property which is or was used for manufacturing or other industrial purposes.
- Drinking water – Especially if it runs through an aging, lead-piped plumbing system of a community, home, or building.
- Older furniture (with its components of paints and varnishes).
- Some food or liquid containers.
Even though, by and large, the use of lead has been discontinued in the U.S. for over 40 years, it is estimated that there are still three million tons of lead in our environment and 57 million housing units that contain some amount of lead paint. Most housing built before 1978 may still contain some lead paint. Homes built before 1950 are all but certain to have lead, due to the existence of even higher lead concentrations in paint produced prior to WWII.
Symptoms of Lead Poisoning
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of lead poisoning can take years to detect. Levels don’t generally become detectable until dangerous amounts have already built up in a person’s body, and it’s virtually impossible to eradicate lead from one who is infected by it.
Lead poisoning can present the following symptoms in children and adults:
- Challenges with memory and concentration
- Brain damage
- Hearing problems
- High blood pressure
- Hyperactivity (in young children and many adults)
- Muscle and joint pain
- Nerve disorders
- Slowed physical growth in children, producing undersized adults, many with chronic anemia
- A variety of gastrointestinal diseases, including cancers
- Premature, lower birth-weight babies
- Female reproductive problems (such as miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth) and lower sperm counts in men
- If undetected or left untreated, lead poisoning often leads to early death.
If you or a loved one suffers from symptoms of lead poisoning, seek immediate medical attention. If this is confirmed, we will be here to help.
How to Sue for Lead Poisoning
Lead poisoning cases are complicated, so the first step is to find an attorney to evaluate your case and determine the best way to proceed. Cases for lead poisoning are being brought on an individual basis and also through group or class-action lawsuits, and a knowledgeable attorney can guide you on what type of lawsuit is appropriate in your situation.
The source of lead exposure determines the potential parties that may be held liable in a lead poisoning lawsuit. In cases where lead poisoning occurs in a property that you rent, on another person’s property, or in a public place, we may be able to file an environmental poisoning lawsuit, personal injury lawsuit, or a wrongful death lawsuit (and/or survival action) if someone has died.
While governments are often protected against lawsuits, it is possible to sue government entities for lead poisoning. A prominent example is the case where approximately 99,000 residents of the City of Flint, MI, were exposed to lead when the drinking water source was switched from the Detroit Water Authority to the Flint Water System (FWS). On December 14, 2015, lead contamination in the FWS was declared a state of emergency. A federal judge has approved a $626 million settlement for victims of the 2014-15 lead water crisis in Flint, Michigan, with most of the money going to the city’s children exposed to poisoned drinking water, affected adults, business owners and anyone who paid water bills.
In another lawsuit, 16 residents of the city of Benton Harbor, Michigan, filed a case alleging that city and state officials did not properly notify residents of lead contamination in service pipes dating back to at least 2018.
In January 2018, a Bronx family was awarded $57 million in a judgment against New York City’s Housing Authority after a jury found the agency responsible for a child’s lead poisoning.
Of course, there are also cases settled against private industry. These include the $305 million settlement reached in California in 2019 to resolve nearly 20 years of litigation. The courts found that lead paint companies Sherwin-Williams Co., NL Industries, Inc., and ConAgra Grocery Products Co., created a public nuisance by promoting the use of toxic lead pigment in homes.
Contact Our Lead Poisoning Lawyers for Help
When innocent people are harmed and suffer damages from lead poisoning due to someone else’s negligent behavior, they deserve to be compensated.
You may be unsure of what direction to take, but no matter what your situation is, when you contact a lead poisoning injury attorney from Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law who is familiar with these types of cases, you as a victim are taking the first step toward getting compensation. Our attorneys will do everything possible to get you the financial help you need to recover from the harm you suffered and ensure that those who are at fault are held accountable.
There are no fees to you unless and until you win your case, so call Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law today at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 for your free consultation.