When Is A Landlord Liable For Lead Poisoning Caused By Paint?

January 31, 2014

There are many older dwellings for rent in the Buffalo area that may contain lead paint, which was banned in 1978.  Exposure to unsafe amounts of lead may cause several different types of severe personal injury, including brain and nervous system damage, kidney damage, reproductive system damage, hearing impairment, learning disabilities, and decreased motor skills.

The presence of lead paint in an apartment is especially worrisome when children under the age of six are present.  Not only are they more likely to ingest paint chips or dust because of their normal tendency to put their hands or small objects in their mouths, but they are more likely to suffer serious and long term damage because their nervous systems are still developing.

Just because an apartment contains lead paint, however, does not mean the landlord is automatically responsible for any damages suffered when a child is poisoned by it.  Instead, New York State courts have ruled that to pursue a personal injury claim against a landlord based on lead paint, the tenants must be able to establish all of the following:

(1) the landlord retained the right to enter the premises and assumed a duty to make repairs

(2) the landlord knew that the dwelling was built before lead-based interior paint was banned

(3) the landlord knew that paint was peeling on the premises

(4) the landlord knew that lead-based paint was hazardous to young children

(5) the landlord knew that a child lived in the apartment

More information on the hazards of exposure to lead can be found at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.

The impact of lead poisoning a child can be devastating.  If your child has been exposed to toxic amount of lead, we would be happy to discuss your legal rights with you.  Call us at 716-400-0000.