McNicholas & McNicholas LLP - Los Angeles Personal Injury and Employment Lawyers

Los Angeles Lawyers Handling Lead Paint Claims

Representing residents and families harmed by lead paint in California

Landlords have a responsibility to uphold and maintain safe and healthy living conditions in their apartments, condos, townhouses, multifamily homes, duplexes, or residential hotels. Therefore, as a tenant, you have a right to what the law defines as “habitable” and “tenantable” living conditions. In addition to things like hot and cold running water and adequate heat sources, this also includes a living area free of toxic lead paint and dust.

The Los Angeles attorneys of McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP have a special emphasis on protecting the rights of those who have suffered significant loss or injury from exposure to lead paint and its resulting health consequences. We have secured millions of dollars on behalf of our clients, including $10 million on behalf of a young boy who suffered speech issues from lead paint exposure. We have significant and successful experience handling these types of claims, and we want to help you, too.

What are the dangers of lead and lead paint?

Lead poisoning is most commonly caused by lead paint. Although this type of paint has long been banned in the United States since 1978, the hazard remains in many older buildings and structures, both residential and industrial. In fact, according to pediatrician David Bolour in South Los Angeles, about one out of every 100 children he tested for suspected lead poisoning had elevated lead levels in the blood, even though only a minimal level is required to qualify as poisoning.

Lead is highly toxic and leaves long-term injuries and effects on the body. People, especially children, are exposed to lead paint and dust after it deteriorates or chips. The CDC reports about 29 million housing units still have lead paint hazards, and over 2.5 million children live in these homes.

If your home, condo, or apartment unit was built before 1978, assume it was built using lead paint. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires property owners mitigate the effects of lead paint when renovating, repairing, or painting structures built before that year. However, when proper procedures are not used, or ignored altogether, your family can experience lead poisoning.

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What are the signs of lead paint poisoning?

Both adults and children can suffer from lead poisoning. However, children tend to experience poisoning from lead paint more often, as they may put peeling paint chips directly in their mouths. Lead poisoning can occur over time (“chronic”), or with a single large dose (“acute”), and each symptomizes differently.

Signs of chronic lead poisoning include:

  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Slowed growth
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Lowered IQ
  • Bluish gums
  • Anemia
  • Hearing or vision loss
  • Neurological issues

Signs of acute lead poisoning in children include:

  • Lethargy
  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Encephalopathy, leading to seizures or coma

One of the reasons children suffer so much harm from lead paint is because, according to the World Health Organization:

…they absorb 4–5 times as much ingested lead as adults from a given source. Moreover, children’s innate curiosity and their age-appropriate hand-to-mouth behaviour result in their mouthing and swallowing lead-containing or lead-coated objects, such as contaminated soil or dust and flakes from decaying lead-containing paint.

That is why landlords and property owners are legally required to properly disclose lead-based paint in the housing units they own and rent. They are also required to use certified contractors when renovating structures with lead-based paint. The attorneys at McNicholas & McNicholas can answer any of your questions regarding lead paint and California regulations, including who should be held liable if you or your family suffer injury to your health.

Is lead poisoning curable?

The Cleveland Clinic reports there are several treatments available for lead poisoning, but every treatment and outcome depends on the extent of your child’s exposure and overall health. In general, physicians treat lead poisoning by locating and removing the source of the lead, then try to help the body recover. The overall effects of lead poisoning, like neurological or slowed growth, however, are not reversible.

Treatments for lead paint poisoning include:

  • Chelating agents, which help binds lead in the blood and makes it easier for the body to flush it out
  • Whole bowel irrigation, which is administered by mouth or stomach tube to wash the stomach and intestines, preventing further absorption of any lead left in the system

Your healthcare provider can test your family for lead exposure, whether or not you are showing symptoms. Even if you only suspect there may be lead paint in your home, testing your children before symptoms occur is safe and prudent.

Your rights if your Los Angeles rental has lead paint

It is against the law to use lead paint in any home built after 1978 under federal law. However, per the EPA, “Lead-based paint is still present in millions of homes, normally under layers of newer paint. If the paint is in good shape, the lead-based paint is usually not a problem. Deteriorating lead-based paint (peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, damaged, or damp) is a hazard and needs immediate attention.”

California landlords are not legally required to remove lead-based paint from houses and apartments. However, they are legally required to disclose the presence of lead paint on a rental property, and include this disclosure in the lease or rental agreement. They must also provide tenants with an EPA “Protect Your Family” pamphlet discussing the dangers of lead paint. This pamphlet is available in a variety of different languages. Landlords who fail to disclose this information can be subject to fines, penalties, and civil liability to injured parties.

Further, if a landlord performs renovations on a property with lead paint, they are also required by law to hire contractors certified and licensed to removed lead-based paint. Tenants must be given proper notice regarding renovations involving lead paint for their health and safety.

Why choose McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP?

The Los Angeles attorneys of McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP have extensive experience handling multimillion-dollar claims to get our clients the compensation they deserve, regardless of income, ability to pay or financial circumstances. We are committed to ethical practices using our extensive resources and a team of experts to guide you through the complexities of lead paint injury litigation. You and your family should never have to suffer unnecessary illness, injuries and even death from poorly managed rental units.

As one of the premier personal injury law firms in Southern California, we have the experience and reputation for litigating complicated cases, on behalf of both children and adults, to get our clients the results they want and deserve.

Call our Los Angeles lead paint poisoning attorneys today for the help you need

At McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP, we are dedicated to holding negligent landlords accountable and ensuring that housing units are kept habitable, safe and healthy for individuals, children, and families. If you or a loved one is injured or suffers poor health due to lead exposure and lead paint poisoning in California, contact our office or call 310-474-1582 for a free consultation. We can help.