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Lead Paint

The law requires landlords to maintain a safe environment for individuals in apartments. The landlord may be liable by law if there is lead-based paint near or around the apartment complex. Liability falls on the landlord if there is an infant that is exposed to lead-based paint and becomes poisoned as a result of negligence.

Under New York law, landlords, who are the owners of buildings containing three or more units, must meet specific requirements regarding lead-based paint. Landlords must repaint all occupied apartments every three years. They must also inspect all apartments for lead-based paint, if the building was built prior to 1960, and if a child under seven is residing in the building.

The law requires that owners of multiple housing units remove, or cover the lead based paint on all interior walls, ceilings, doors, window sills, and moldings where a child six years old or younger resides. If an inspector discovers paint peeling in multiple units built before 1960, the law presumes that the Health Code is in violation.

If parents decide to bring a lawsuit on behalf of an infant – defined in the State of New York as a child under the age of 18 – it’s important that they contact an attorney well versed in lead poisoning cases. Experienced lead poisoning lawyer will obtain all of the relevant documents relating to the history and maintenance of the building, including all inspection records from agencies such as the New York City Department of Health and the New York City Housing and Preservation and Development Department. Experienced attorney will also retain a qualified lead inspector to evaluate the presence of lead-based paint in the apartment itself.

It’s important that a child suspected of being lead poisoned be evaluated by health care professionals who can test for lead in the bloodstream as well as for cognitive and behavioral deficits that may have occurred as a result of the child’s exposure to lead-based paint.

New York State law permits an infant to recover damages for permanent injuries. Damage awards take into account pain, expenses for ongoing medical care, special education, vocational guidance, parental counseling, and future loss of earnings, which are calculated by comparing what the child would have earned, if lead poisoning had not occurred, with the victim’s ability to earn money in light of the exposure to lead-based paint. These damages can easily be calculated in the millions of dollars.