Just weeks after Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan to eradicate childhood lead poisoning in public housing or the projects, some housing advocates say the administration is brushing over lead paint hazards in private housing, where a number of lead poisoning cases occur. According to an AMNY.com news report, the mayor released a roadmap in late January, which he said would drive down lead poisoning rates by conducting more audits of landlords’ attempts to reduce lead levels in apartments and establish a lead-free designation for homes.
An Ineffective Strategy?
However safety advocates say the city’s strategy is not likely to be effective because all they are doing is issuing a summons for not keeping records, and not actually taking any action to ensure that the landlord makes the apartment safe. Advocates say the city is still in a mode where it waits for a tenant to complain about unsafe conditions or for a child to suffer from lead poisoning before taking action.
It’s a fact that the city does have laws in place. As far back in 2004, the city passed Local Law I, which aimed to eliminate childhood lead poisoning by 2010. Under that measure, when a unit is vacated, landlords must remove or permanently cover lead-based paint on friction surfaces such as doors, windows and their frames, and fix all other lead-based paint hazards.
In occupied units, the law mandates yearly inspections of any apartment that houses a child under the age of 6. While the city does lead paint inspections and issues citations, advocates have long complained that the owners who fail to reduce lead-related hazards are not really disciplined. In 2018, 97 percent of the 4,717 children found with elevated blood lead levels resided in private homes, according to the New York Department of Health.
Lead Poisoning Through Water
In addition to lead paint, New York City has another lead contributor – old pipes. Smaller, older private apartment buildings in the outer boroughs are more likely to have water that tests positive for lead than elsewhere in the city, according to city studies. The lead-tainted water is most likely to be found in Co-Op City in the Bronx, Stuyvesant Houses in Manhattan, and Starrett City in Brooklyn. In fact, statistics released recently by the city show that more Brooklyn kids suffered from lead poisoning in 2018 than any other borough.
A recent study in The Journal of American Medicine found that children exposed to even moderate levels of lead may experience a lasting reduction in their IQ, with effects persisting well into middle age. Exposure to lead can have a wide range of effects on a child’s development and behavior. Even when exposed to small amounts of lead levels, children may become inattentive, hyperactive, and irritable. Children with greater lead levels may also have problems with learning and reading, delayed growth, and hearing loss. At high levels, lead can cause permanent brain damage and even death.
Whether you live in privately owned buildings or the Projects, as a tenant, you have the right to a safe and healthy environment. If you live in public or private housing, and your child has been diagnosed with high blood lead levels, then you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the NYCHA (the Projects) or private landlords for damages.
You may be able to 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. A knowledgeable New York City lead poisoning lawyer will be able to help you file the lawsuit and compile the evidence that is required to hold the agency accountable for its negligence (carelessness).
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
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 full 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.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
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