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Can I Sue My Landlord for Lead Poisoning in New York?

You can sue your landlord in New York for lead poisoning if you can prove negligence and a failure to comply with lead safety regulations. However, each case is different, and even minor details can change the feasibility, type of negligence, and entity responsible.

Only an experienced New York lead paint poisoning lawyer can review your case and determine appropriate action, below is the basic information you need to know to identify if you might have a case.

New York City Laws Regarding Lead Paint in Homes

New York City banned the use of lead paint in 1960. This prevented companies and individuals from using lead paint in construction or remodeling projects.

Local Law 1 of 2004

The ban also required landlords to inspect residential properties and make repairs if children lived in the home or spent at least 10 hours per week there. Landlords must send annual notices to tenants, which require tenants to disclose whether a child spends 10 hours or more per week in the home. Landlords that fail to send these notices may face lawsuits.

Local Law 66 of 2019

New York City has since updated the law regulating lead presence in residential spaces. As of December 2021, the citywide standard is 0.5 mg/cm2 or 0.25% by weight. To determine the level of lead in a residence’s paint, a licensed lead abatement contractor should conduct a dust wipe clearance test.

Statute of Limitations for Lead Paint

Because of the nature of lead poisoning, the statute of limitations is three years from the point of first detecting the issue. For children, courts start counting the three-year limit from the affected person’s 18th birthday.

The Standards of Proof for New York Lead Poisoning Cases

Your case must meet certain legal standards of proof to successfully sue a landlord for lead poisoning. Generally, this means proving that the property had accessible and dusty surfaces with lead-based paint.

To build a strong case, you need to prove that your landlord knew about the hazard or should have known about it and that you or your loved one’s injuries directly resulted from the landlord’s negligence.

In many cases, this means providing medical records or reports from doctors to prove that lead poisoning caused the injury or illness. An experienced New York lead paint poisoning lawyer can help.

What To Do If You Suspect the Presence of Lead in the Home

You must act swiftly to protect the health of persons in your home if you suspect it may have lead paint and your landlord did not take appropriate steps. Consider these general recommendations before contacting the landlord.

1. Seek Medical Attention

Healthcare providers across New York assess children for signs of lead poisoning from 6 months to 6 years old. Your healthcare provider may also administer a questionnaire to determine whether your children are at a higher risk. If you believe you or others in your home may have been exposed, a lead test can provide the answers.

2. Complete the Annual Notice Form

Your landlord should have sent an annual notice form regarding lead presence in the home. You must complete this by February 15 of each year. If you do not complete the form, the landlord may have the right to visit the property to determine whether a child lives there or spends 10 hours per week or more at the location.

3. Inspect the Home

If you feel the lead is a serious issue, you could hire an independent company to inspect the property. However, this goes above your responsibility as a renter and may lead to you absorbing costs the landlord should cover.

Here are some alternatives to consider:

  • Check public records to determine whether your home was built between 1960 and 1978.
  • Ask the landlord if they know of lead in the home or have received any such complaints from previous renters.
  • Check for peeling or damaged paint.

When inspecting the home, be mindful of how you interact with the paint and other potential lead sources. Do not try to scratch or sand the paint because this could release harmful particles into the air. Be sure to vacuum or run HEPA filters if you disturb paint you believe could carry lead particles.

How Compensation Works for Lead Cases in New York

Children under 5 face the greatest risk when exposed to lead contaminants. This is why the state’s annual notice and medical practices focus on children up to 6 years old. Exposure at this age can harm brain development and cause damage to the kidney and nervous system.

Any case putting minors at risk tends to draw media attention and the court’s empathy. Consequently, payouts are often higher.

Here are some of the types of compensation you may receive:

  • Medical bills
  • Loss of wages
  • Current and future disability and all associated costs
  • Emotional distress
  • Death or funeral benefits

Contact Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman

Our attorneys prioritize the well-being of children and the health of all our clients. We evaluate each case closely and build a strong argument for compensation and restorative action. Contact our team to get started.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to negligence, compensation can be recovered. Call us today or send us a message.