If you live in New York City – whether in an apartment owned and run by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), also known as the Projects, or in an apartment owned by a private landlord (building owner) – you are probably concerned about the presence of toxic lead paint and the risk of lead poisoning and how it could affect your family, especially your young children. There have been reports over the last few years, which have shown that New York City, failed to carry out proper lead paint oversight not just in public housing, but also in thousands of private sector buildings where rent is subsidized with taxpayer dollars.
Lead Contamination in Paint and Water
The city’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development is responsible for overseeing and inspecting 40,000 private sector apartments that receive federal funding, mostly through the Section 8 or Section 5 programs to subsidize rent for low-income residents. This includes 4,000 apartments with children under 6. Instances of lead contamination in developments such as Co-op City in the Bronx (Section 5 housing), for example, is not just limited to the paint that was used.
News reports have shown that buildings such as those in Co-op city may also have lead contamination in their water supply. A September 2018 report said that Co-op City tap water has among the highest lead levels throughout the five boroughs. That was based on information released by the New York City Independent Budget Office, which stated that the lead levels continue to surpass the federal threshold in several buildings.
What Steps Can You Take?
If you know you are moving into an older housing unit such as Co-op City, it is important to understand that your risk for lead paint exposure may be higher. You should also know that property owners/managers are required under the law to disclose whether the home was built prior to 1978. They are also required to provide you with literature about how to protect your family from lead. In addition, they must write out a disclosure list of any known lead paint hazards.
One: If you suspect your child’s blood lead levels are high, immediately consult a doctor. Your doctor may also refer you directly to the local health department.
Two: The next step to take is to write a letter to your building owner and/or property manager asking that they fix the problem. Sending a letter and maintaining a log of conversations you have with them helps establish a written record.
Three: It is also important to document and include in your letter the details of how you discovered the problem, such as a blood test. You should specify the problems you see in your apartment such as chipped or peeling paint. If you have young children living with you, list their ages and provide a reasonable deadline for the property owner/property manager to fix the issue. Report the matter to your local health department if they (property owner/property manager) fail to act.
Four: It is also in your best interest to contact an experienced New York City lead poisoning lawyer who will fight to protect your rights and serve as your advocate. Your New York City lead poisoning lawyer will help you file a lawsuit and compile the evidence that is needed to hold your landlord (property owner/property manager) or other parties accountable for their negligence (carelessness). As a tenant, you and your family have the right to live in a safe and healthy environment.
NYC Lead Poisoning Lawyer
Whether you have been living as a tenant at a private apartment complex or in a public housing unit (the Projects), please remember that you have legal rights. If your child has been diagnosed with high blood lead levels, regardless of whether you live in public or private housing, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the NYCHA (the Projects) or private landlords (building owners and building managers) for damages. Those who have been affected can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, cost of diagnostic tests, permanent injuries, lost income and benefits, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
If your child has been affected by lead poisoning, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
Our firm recovered $1,162,500 for a child who suffered lead poisoning from paint in her apartment. The child’s injuries were subtle and difficult to recognize. We recovered $162,500 above the $1 million dollar total insurance policy in this case. Despite the judge’s efforts to settle the case for $950,000, we fought hard and recovered $162,500 more than the insurance policy of one million dollars. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
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