Many people assume that lead poisoning is a thing of the past now that you can't use lead-based paint. Aside from children eating and playing with paint chips, what other ways can you encounter lead?
So, how many household and consumer products contain lead? You and your family may be at risk of developing lead poisoning and not even know it. In this article, we will explain why lead is so dangerous. We'll also briefly touch on how you may come into contact with this dangerous substance. Finally, we will discuss how lead poisoning lawsuits work and what you can do to improve your chances of recovering damages.
What Is Lead?
Lead is a highly toxic metal found in the Earth's crust. Companies like to use lead in their products because it's durable, malleable, and corrosion-resistant. More companies would use it if it weren't so dangerous.
Even though the government banned lead paint, using it in other products is still legal. This is why so many people with lead poisoning don't know how they got sick. They don't realize that they come into contact with lead more often than they think.
You may have a legal claim if you or your loved one develops lead poisoning. The question is, who can you sue? And how can your product liability lawyer prove your claim?
Homeowners and Contractors Used Lead-Based Paint for Years
For decades, companies have used lead in consumer goods and construction. But, one of the most common sources of lead is lead-based paint.
The federal government banned lead-based paint in residential housing in 1978. Some states stopped its use earlier. But, lead-based paint may still exist in older homes and office buildings.
Most homeowners and commercial property owners have removed all traces of lead from their properties. Of course, lead still exists in many plumbing systems. Installing a water filtration system is cheaper and easier than replacing your entire system.
The Dangers of Lead
Lead is a toxin. Even small amounts of lead can make you sick. Lead can be especially hazardous for children and pregnant women. But we're all at risk of lead poisoning.
Your personal injury lawyer must prove an injury to recover damages in your product liability lawsuit. Below is a description of the types of health hazards that lead poses.
Adults who encounter lead are at risk of developing various ailments and injuries. Depending on the seriousness of your illness, you may get significant damages. Your lead poisoning attorney must prove that lead poisoning caused your condition.
Some of the more common injuries lead causes in adults include the following:
- Difficulties during pregnancy
- Reproductive problems (in men and women)
- High blood pressure
- Digestive problems
- Damage to the nervous system
- Memory and concentration problems
- Muscle and joint pain
While these may seem minor, you could end up in the hospital if you encounter large quantities of lead. High concentrations of lead can put older adults in a nursing home.
Lead is a dangerous substance, especially for young children. Children are curious creatures. They'll touch anything. Young children will even put things like lead chips in their mouths. This is why you must remove all lead and lead dust from your home.
Some of the more serious side effects of lead poisoning in children include:
- Brain damage
- Behavior and learning disabilities
- Developmental delays
- Hearing problems
You should seek medical attention immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), removing all lead sources from your home or office is the best way to avoid these problems.
How To Prove You Have Lead Poisoning
If you believe you have lead poisoning, seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor can measure your lead levels using a simple blood test. If your test results show high lead levels, you may deserve compensation. It depends on where the lead was and whether a third party caused it.
One of the reasons you must seek medical care is that your personal injury attorney will need proof that you are sick. The best way to do that is through medical records. Your attorney may also need an expert to prove that lead exposure caused your illness. The expert may also have to demonstrate that another party is responsible for your lead poisoning.
Liability for Lead Poisoning Illnesses
Lead poisoning cases fall under product liability. In some cases, your attorney can also sue for premises liability. It depends on where you encountered the lead. It also depends on how you came into contact with this toxic substance.
If you encounter lead in a household or consumer product, you may have a claim against the:
- Product manufacturer
Your product liability lawyer must show that the defendant knowingly sold a product containing lead and failed to warn consumers about the risks associated with the product.
Some people who live near industrial centers, factories, and toxic waste sites develop lead poisoning. In these cases, you may be able to sue the factory owner or other party for negligence. For example, if a local glass manufacturer dumps its waste in the soil or water in your town, you may be able to sue them for damages.
Properties containing lead are tricky. It's easy to think you can sue the company that built the home. But, tracking down a company building houses before 1978 is challenging. Even if you do, they may argue that you should've inspected your property for lead-based paint and pipes and had it removed.
Another situation in which you may sue for lead poisoning is if you work with or near lead. You may have to file a workers' compensation claim if your employer doesn't offer personal protective equipment (PPE). This is something your product liability lawyer will help you figure out.
Lead Exposure Damages and Legal Options
If you win your lawsuit, your attorney will demand the defendant pay your damages. Damages in a lead poisoning case are similar to damages in any personal injury lawsuit.
You may recover some or all of the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses and future medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages and lost future income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
If your loved one dies from lead poisoning, your attorney may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You must check the laws in your state because some states don't allow family members to sue for wrongful death. In these states, the personal representative of your loved one's estate may have to file suit.
Challenges of Lead Cases
Lead poisoning cases can be more complicated than other personal injury cases. Your illness may not appear right away. It can take years for the symptoms of lead poisoning to appear. In these cases, your attorney must work harder to prove causation. The defendant will argue that something other than their actions caused your illness.
Lead Exposure: Getting Legal Help
If you or a loved one have experienced lead exposure, you must seek medical attention immediately. If you have used lead-containing products or worry about family lead exposure in the home, contact an experienced attorney.
Your attorney will explain your options and protect your legal rights. They will also file suit on your behalf. Visit our product liability attorney directory to find an experienced lawyer near you.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.