New York Lead Poisoning Lawyers – Lead Poison Attorneys
The Fitzgerald Law Firms are the clear leader in jury verdicts in lead paint cases, having taken more than twice the number of jury verdicts as any other law firm. *Source: New York Jury Verdict Reporter (Verdict Search 1986 to Present)
In one lead paint poisoning case, The Fitzgerald Law Firms obtained a $9,790,797 jury verdict for two infants who suffered brain damage after exposure to lead dust in a New York apartment. Read more about the $9,790,797 lead paint poisoning case.
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The Fitzgerald Law Firm is a national law firm and represents lead poisoning victims throughout the United States.
Lead Poisoning is a Preventable Childhood Disease
In October, 1991, the Department of Health & Human Services (Centers for Disease Control) issued a statement entitled Preventing Lead Poisoning in Young Children.
In that important document the CDC stated the following:
- Childhood lead poisoning is one of the most common pediatric problems in the United States today, and it is entirely preventable.
Lead poisoning most often occurs when young children (toddlers) start crawling around the home and get lead dust on their hands. These children then engage in normal hand-to-mouth activity and it is this activity during which the child actually becomes lead poisoned.
More severe cases may involve pica where children actually eat lead based paint chips.
By far the most common source of lead poisoning in children is deteriorating lead based paint in older homes.
The Injuries Caused By Lead Poisoning
Lead poisoning is defined in the October 1991 Statement by the CDC as a blood lead concentration of 10 ug/dl or greater. However, there is no known safe level of lead in a child’s body. Indeed, serious neurological injury may occur at blood lead levels far lower than10 ug/dl.
Lead is a neurotoxin. Lead is able to pass through the blood brain barrier because of its ability to substitute for calcium (Ca). Once in the brain it causes injury by a number of different mechanisms.
Lead can also cause neuronal death. Once in the body, lead stays for a long time. The half life (assuming there is no more exposure to lead) for lead in the blood is approximately 35 days. This means that it would take approximately 35 days for the lead level to be reduced by one half. However, once lead gets into the brain it will remain stored for about 2 years after exposure has ended. Lead is also stored in bone where it can remain for decades.
The developing nervous system of children is far more vulnerable to lead’s toxic effects than the mature brain.
Long term follow-up studies of children who had been exposed to lead indicate that neuropsychological deficits and changes in IQ persistent to adulthood. Although lead has been documented to decrease IQ as the blood lead levels increase, even more serious decreases were reported for neuropsychological measures – meaning there will be a decrease in neuro- psychiatric function, causing such problems as: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD), Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD).
The greatest risk of injury from lead poison is to children under the age of seven, whose developing bodies and brains are sensitive to even small amounts of lead, which can leave children with irreversible neurological injury that does not appear until many years after the exposure to lead. The kinds of injuries lead causes in children include:
- Learning Disabilities
- Brain Damage (sometimes subtle)
- Loss of IQ Points and Intellect
- Academic Failure
- Neuropsychological Deficits
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Hyperactive Behavior
- Antisocial (criminal) Behavior
- Neurological Problems
- Encephalopathy (brain swelling)
- Major Organ FailureComa
These injuries can be life-threatening or can prevent a child from realizing his or her scholastic, vocational, and financial potential, or from becoming a self-sufficient adult. Studies have shown that lead poisoned children are more likely to drop out of high school and to live a lifetime of unemployment. Lead poisoning can take important abilities from a child.
Lead Poisoning Cases Against Health Care Providers
The Fitzgerald Law Firms are also a leader in holding negligent health care providers responsible for a child’s elevated blood lead levels. The CDC guidelines and New York Health Regulations provide that children should be tested for lead in their blood at six months or one year depending on whether the child is at high risk and periodically after that.
Failure to test at regular intervals is medical malpractice, in one case The Fitzgerald Law Firm successfully sued a hospital and obtained a $1,500,000 settlement for an autistic child.
The Fitzgerald Law Firm’s Commitment to Prevent Lead Poisoning
In 1993 The Fitzgerald Law Firms made a policy decision to represent young children who were lead poisoned as a result of the negligence of others. Since that time, The Fitzgerald Law Firms have represented hundreds of young children. We have successfully brought lead poisoning lawsuits against landlords and managing agents of residential property who have failed to maintain rental properties in a lead safe condition.
We’ve also successfully brought lead poisoning lawsuits against municipalities, such as the City of New York, for breach of “special duty” to young children whose parents have relied on the municipality’s promises to protect the children. We have several cases pending against doctors, hospitals and clinics who have failed to comply with acceptable standard of medical care in treating young children when the failure to comply with those standards has resulted in the children being injured by lead poisoning.
The Fitzgerald Law Firms were certified as lead counsel in the case of German, et al v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp, City of New York, and New York City Housing Authority, et al. This class action lawsuit was successfully concluded when the defendants stipulated to provide proper testing to insure lead safe environments for children and the establishment of a fund for monitoring the testing procedures.
The Fitzgerald Law Firms have obtained more six and seven figure settlements and verdicts for lead poisoned children, more than any other law firm.
Has Your Child Been Lead Poisoned?
Very often parents are not aware if their child has been lead poisoned for a number of reasons.
- The definition of lead poisoning has decreased from 60 ug/dl to 10 ug/dl. Older children with lead levels of under 25 were not considered lead poisoned.
- The Dept. of Health of most municipalities has set 20 ug/dl as their action level. That is to say, they will not intervene when a child’s blood lead levels are between 10 and 19 ug/dl, even though the child is lead poisoned.
- Although some health care providers are diligent about screening for lead and properly advising parents, unfortunately others are not. This has resulted in the failure of children to be screened for lead poisoning at ages 6 months to a year as required by the Guidelines set down in the Center for Disease Control Statement of October 1991. Follow-up screening is, sadly, also not undertaken in many cases.
If your child has demonstrated learning disabilities, loss of cognition, and unexplainably low IQ, you should consider that lead poisoning may have been a contributing factor to these problems.
The Fitzgerald Law Firm in a meritorious case will undertake to accumulate the child’s medical and school records and have them reviewed by doctors knowledgeable in the effects of lead poisoning in children.
If you have questions, please call us or send us an e-mail.
Further reading about lead poisoning:
- The Neuropsychology of Childhood Lead Poisoning,
Theodore I. Lidsky, Ph.D, et al.;
- Adverse Health Effects of Lead at Low Exposure Levels: trends in the management of childhood lead poisoning,
John F. Rosen, Toxicology 97 (1995) 11-17;
- Health Effects of Lead at Low Exposure Levels,
John F. Rosen, AJDC, Vol 146, November 1992;
- Bone Lead Content Assessed by L-line x-ray fluorescence in lead-exposed and non lead-exposed suburban populations in the United States,
John F. Rosen, et. al, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. Usa, Vol. 90 pp. 2789-2792, April, 1993