Hold Your Landlord Liable for the Impacts of Lead Paint
Historic Baltimore is a city that’s filled with growing families drawn to the rich culture of the area and the beautiful, traditional-style homes and apartments. Unfortunately, these historic houses often come with a dangerous threat to the young children who live there: lead paint. While more modern homes are built using low-VOC, lead-free paint, older houses built before the 1970s did not have the same standards as today, and therefore pose a toxic threat. Maryland has many laws that landlord, and property owner must comply with to make sure rental properties are safe from lead paint and lead dust.
Anyone currently living in an old home may suffer the harmful effects of exposure to lead paint, including:
- Mental disorders
- Behavioral issues
If you are concerned that lead paint exposure has harmed you or your loved one, reach out to Ashcraft & Gerel today. Our team has years of experience representing the people of Baltimore in cases involving lead paint.
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What Is Lead Paint Poisoning?
Lead is a type of natural metal that has been found to be poisonous to humans in certain quantities. Lead poisoning indicates increased levels of lead in the blood, which can prove dangerous or even deadly.
Lead was commonly used in paint because it made for increased durability and faster drying times. Once the harmful side effects were discovered, however, lead-based paints were outlawed. This left landlords and contractors wondering what to do with the walls they had already coated with lead-based paint. Some took the responsible route and removed the paint, while others took the cheaper route and left the paint as-is. If lead paint is allowed to peel, chip or flake it creates a danger to children who spend time in this house and have hand-to-mouth activity. A child does not have to eat a paint chip to be exposed to lead paint. Household dust in areas of deteriorating paint can contain lead and expose children to lead through the air they breathe.
Though anyone can be affected by lead paint poisoning, it is particularly toxic for children.
In children under the age of six, lead paint exposure has been shown to cause:
- Learning disabilities
- Brain damage
- Neurological conditions
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory loss
- Antisocial behavior
- Brain swelling
- Organ failure
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Your Options Moving Forward
Unfortunately, once a person has been affected by lead paint poisoning, there is little they can do to reverse the damage. As such, affected individuals may need ongoing and even lifelong medical care.
At Ashcraft & Gerel, we understand the severity of lead poisoning and know how to fight for every penny you deserve in your injury claim. Our lead paint poisoning attorneys in Baltimore can work alongside experts – such as medical professionals – to determine the extent of your injuries and ensure that you are fairly compensated for the treatment you will need. We can help you file a lawsuit against your landlord or property manager for neglecting to disclose that your home contains lead paint.
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How to Tell If Your Home Has Lead Paint
An estimated 95% of homes in Baltimore constructed prior to the 1950s contain lead paint. If you live in or rent an older home, then you and your loved ones may be at risk for some level of lead poisoning. Pay attention to the condition of the paint around your home. If you notice chipped or peeling paint, then it could be an indication that you have been exposed to toxic lead paint.
Keep in mind that you can’t deduce that your home has lead poisoning and win a lawsuit based on the year it was built alone. Just because your home was built in a certain timeframe doesn’t mean that the landlord or property manager failed to take the proper steps to ensure the home’s safety. With that said, if you suspect your family may be suffering from lead paint poisoning symptoms, there are several methods used to test a home for lead paint or lead dust that can tell for sure whether the apartment or home poses a hazard.
If you’re no longer living in the home that you suspect may have been painted with lead-based paint, it can become more complicated to gather concrete evidence – especially if the house has been recently renovated. An experienced Baltimore lead paint attorney can help you gather any historical lead-test results or gather circumstantial evidence in order to bolster your case.
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What to Do If Your Child Has Been Exposed to Lead Paint
Due to the number of historic properties and homes, Baltimore is considered an at-risk area for lead poisoning. As such, children automatically receive blood testing for lead as part of their regular 12-month and 24-month doctor’s visits. In some cases, you may not have been previously notified that your child had certain levels of lead in their blood
If you’re unsure if your child has been exposed to lead poisoning, there are some signs to look for before notifying your doctor for an official diagnosis. Be on the lookout for:
- Low birth weight
- Slower rate of growth
- Developmental delay
- Difficulty learning
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Pica (eating things that are not food)
- Stomach issues like abdominal pain and vomiting
- Hearing loss
As soon as you suspect that your child may be suffering from lead poisoning, your first priority should always be their safety and well-being. You need to seek the assistance of a medical professional as soon as possible to get a full diagnosis of their condition. Not only will this ensure you can start the treatment process quickly, but you’ll also have a medical record of your child’s condition to show the court the negative effects lead paint exposure has had on your family. This type of evidence can help increase your chances of receiving a monetary award for your lead paint poisoning claim. It is important to have your child re-tested for elevated lead levels every several months in order to know if the exposure is continuing, and whether the levels are going up or down.
Low-Level or High-Level Exposure
You may think that you shouldn’t file a case because your child only suffered minimal exposure to lead paint. Unfortunately, there is no safe level of lead in a child’s blood. Ingesting lead paint through the mouth or even breathing in lead paint dust can have harmful effects on your child’s development and mental ability. Typically, parents start seeing the harm much later once the child enters school, and needs to learn, concentrate and behave in a classroom setting.
Once a doctor confirms that there is lead in your blood or your child’s blood, your medical care provider will want you to undergo a series of expert evaluations to determine the impact it has had. The resulting medical or educational report can be used to fight your case in a Maryland court so you can receive reimbursement for your medical expenses and recover the compensation you need for your child’s medical treatment.
Exposure to Lead Paint for Adults
While young children face the biggest threat when exposed to lead-based paint, adults can be affected by it, too. Children are often the focus of lead paint poisoning cases since their minds are still developing and they retain the lead in their system at higher rates than adults. Ingesting lead paint at this time in their life could have devastating effects on their mental development. Adults are typically exposed in industrial settings at work.
Adults tend to suffer side effects such as:
- High blood pressure
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Abdominal pain
- Concentration or memory issues
- Regular headaches
- Mood disorders
- Reduced sperm count
- Abnormal sperm
- Increased risks of pregnancy complications for women, including miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth
When to File for a Lead Paint Poisoning Settlement
Any parent, guardian, or grandparent can file a lead poisoning claim on the behalf of their child’s injuries. If a child’s adult guardians did not file a claim on their behalf, this doesn’t mean that they are unable to receive the justice they deserve when they are older. If you or a loved one was exposed to lead paint or lead paint dust, you may be able to file a claim once you reach the age of 18, or possibly even older
With that said, there is a limitation for adults filing lead paint claims for lead exposure when they were younger. While in Maryland the traditional timeframe for filing a personal injury lawsuit is three years, the rules are a bit different for those who experienced the negative effects of lead paint poisoning. A child who has been exposed may have until their 21st birthday to file a suit against the landlord or property manager who is responsible.
Due to this restriction on the time you can file a lawsuit, you should reach out to a lead paint lawyer in Baltimore as soon as possible to start your case. As with all cases, it takes time to gather evidence to prove a claim, especially if you’re filing a lawsuit for lead exposure that occurred several years ago. The home you lived in at the time may have since been renovated. You might not know the name of your old landlord. In these situations, your case may not be as simple as having a professional perform an lead testing. If your lead paint poisoning lawyer has to collect statements and documents to prove the home contained lead paint at the time of your upbringing, they’ll need substantial time to do so in order to ensure you have the strongest case possible to present to the court.
The Value of a Lead Paint Case
The amount of compensation you receive for your lead poisoning case depends on the circumstances surrounding your case. With that said, it has been reported that residents in Baltimore have collected $300 million dollars in settlements for their lead paint lawsuits over the years. Your lawyer will be able to tell you how much they believe your case is worth based on the strength of your evidence and the severity of your damages.
Most cases are heavily influenced by:
- Whether some type of lead testing such as an XRF test was performed on the home
- Whether the evidence of lead paint is based on circumstantial evidence
- Whether you received a blood-lead test while living in the home or afterward
- Whether there are other probable causes for the amount of lead in your system from the blood-lead test
- Whether there are other factors that could have contributed to your cognitive or behavioral symptoms
Consult with a Lead Paint Lawyer Today
When you or your child has been exposed to lead paint due to the negligence of a landlord, you don’t have to fight for your rights on your own. Win the financial compensation you deserve by hiring an experienced Baltimore lead paint lawyer from Ashcraft & Gerel. With years of experience representing clients in lead paint settlements and lawsuits, we can provide the legal perspective and guidance you need to file a successful claim against your current or former property owner.