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Can Families Affected By Lead Poisoning File Lawsuits?

In a recent post, we discussed the lead poisoning scandal that has rocked New York City over the past couple of years. Families have taken legal action against the city by filing personal injury lawsuits, alleging that the New York City Housing Authority failed to identify lead hazards and warn families who were living in city-owned property about hazardous lead levels in their home, even when those families had small children. Since young children are the people most affected by lead paint, this negligence has had dire consequences.

Bronx Family Awarded $57 Million In Lawsuit Against NYCHA

In a recent development related to these cases, a Bronx mother was awarded $57 million when a jury found the New York City Housing Authority culpable for her daughter’s lead poisoning. The woman’s daughter tested for 9 times the acceptable level of lead in her blood in 2010, when she was just four years old. Now age 12, the girl has suffered from developmental delays, which is believed to be one of the side effects of lead poisoning. Today, she’s in special education classes at school.

The jury ruled in the plaintiff’s favor on the basis that the NYCHA has failed to conduct mandatory lead paint safety inspections since 2013, and that they lied about conducting these inspections afterward.

Other Lead Poisoning Lawsuits In NYC

This recent case is just one of many instances of innocent New Yorkers being forced to take legal action after contracting lead poisoning due to the negligence of others. Some other recent examples include:

Kindergarten Teacher Sues After Getting Lead Poisoning From Drinking Fountain

In another lead poisoning legal battle, a city kindergarten teacher is suing the Education Department for a failure to notify her of lead-tainted drinking fountains in the school where she works. She has been working as a teacher at PS 87 on W. 78th St. since 2007, and claims to have developed lead poisoning, along with kidney and pain-related health problems because she unknowingly drank from a lead-tainted water fountain in her classroom.

In the lawsuit, the teacher alleges that the city Education Department was aware of dangerous lead levels in March 2016, but didn’t notify students and staff until February 2017. In a February 27 bone scan, she was told that her lead level was 2.5 times what it should have been.

In an Education Department report from April, at least 80% of school buildings tested for lead returned positive samples.

Multiple Families From Red Hook Houses In Brooklyn Sue Over Lead Poisoning

In one Brooklyn apartment building, 114 of 124 units inspected were found to contain lead paint. At least two families from the Red Hooks Houses apartment building have filed lawsuits against the NYCHA and Mayor Bill de Blasio after their children tested positive for elevated lead levels, claiming that these two parties failed to keep their children safe from exposure to lead. Official records show that the NYCHA was aware of the lead paint in these units before they allowed families with small children to move in, and that they failed to notify the families of the existence of the lead paint.

Should I Talk To A Lawyer About My Child’s Lead Poisoning?

If your child has recently been diagnosed with elevated lead levels, we understand the anger, sadness, and frustration you’re feeling. The greatest tragedy in these cases is the fact that the children affected by lead poisoning may never recover from the damage. However, it’s important to make the parties responsible pay for their negligence, so your child can get the assistance they need and so that the parties who failed to protect your family are held responsible. As more families take legal action, the NYCHA will be forced to meet their legal duties, and in turn, other families will be spared the trauma of preventable lead poisoning. Even if you weren’t living in public housing, your landlord still has a legal duty to test for and remove lead paint hazards under the legal concept of premises liability. To learn more about your legal options, get in touch with our Bronx personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation.

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