Birmingham Lead Poisoning Lawyers
Many children in America are still exposed to dangerous levels of lead every day. Although efforts to remove lead from the environment have been ongoing since the late 1970s, more than 434,000 children in America are estimated to have elevated levels of lead in their blood, according to the Alabama Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.
If your child has been exposed to lead and suffered injuries, you may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. The Birmingham child injury attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP have been assisting North Central Alabama residents with their personal injury needs for more than 20 years, and they can do the same for you and your family.
Call us today at (205) 324-1212 for a free initial consultation, and let us review your case to see whether you’re eligible for compensation. Don’t let a lead poisoning injury affect your child’s future. Call Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP today.
What Is Lead Poisoning, and How Does it Occur?
Lead poisoning is when the amount of lead builds up to toxic levels in the body. It usually occurs over a period of months or years and can have a variety of negative health effects, especially in children under six years old. If enough lead is absorbed by the body, it can be fatal.
The most common sources of lead poisoning in children are lead-based paints, used in several household applications before they were banned in 1978, and lead-contaminated dust, common in older buildings such as schools. It can also be found in soil, in the air, or in water supply pipes, as was the case with the drinking water piping of Flint, Michigan.
Lead was once used as a key ingredient in gasoline to aid in efficient combustion, but was phased out starting in the early 1970s as the health effects of lead exposure became more widely known. It is still used in aviation fuel today. Lead can also be found in some toys, cosmetics, ceramics, food cans, and jewelry.
Lead poisoning is dangerous for many reasons. It has very few outward signs or symptoms until exposure has reached poisonous levels, it’s extremely difficult to remove from the body once it’s been absorbed, and it can cause extreme health problems in children, such as learning disabilities, developmental problems, mood changes, and behavioral problems. In fact, there’s strong evidence to suggest that the decline in the use of leaded gasoline has led to the marked decrease in violent crime since the early 1990s.
Lead in the environment is entirely the result of human activities, and lead poisoning is considered entirely preventable.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer?
Filing a personal injury claim requires experience with the claims process and knowledge of relevant case law. Without a lawyer to assist you, you risk leaving money you’re owed on the table or making the process more difficult than it has to be.
A good attorney can make sure your claim is complete and error-free before it’s submitted, ensuring that it doesn’t get delayed or denied because of a technicality.
An injury to your child is an emotional experience. Hiring an attorney allows you and your family the time you need to deal with the trauma and anxiety while leaving the legal “stuff” to the lawyers. We will conduct a full investigation into your claim, gather all necessary evidence, and handle settlement negotiations, so you don’t have to.
Compensation for injury claims usually comes from the responsible party’s insurance company. Deciding exactly how much to demand in compensation takes a qualified attorney, as the value of your claim is determined by measuring the verifiable losses, or damages, you sustain as a result of the accident. Some of these losses are easy to understand, and some are more nuanced. Without an attorney to assist you, you may not get all the compensation you’re owed.
An attorney can provide you with options that you don’t have otherwise. If you submit a claim for compensation and the insurance company denies payment, there’s relatively little more you can do on your own. With an attorney to assist you, you can file a lawsuit against the responsible party if your claim is denied. This changes things, as the insurance company now has to decide if spending the extra money for litigation and court fees is more or less expensive than a fair settlement for your injuries.
Why Choose Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP for My Representation?
For more than 20 years, Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP has been providing top-tier legal counsel to residents of Birmingham and all across Alabama. We know how difficult severe injuries can be because we’ve experienced them ourselves: one of our founding partners, Kirby Farris, saw firsthand the devastating effect workplace injuries can place on Alabama families during his 11 years of working for the Norfolk Southern Railway Corporation and Ken Riley, another founding partner, witnessed a family member survive a life-threatening car accident. We can use this perspective along with our wealth of legal knowledge to help you and your family.
We also know how difficult it can be for some families to afford good legal representation, which is why we work on contingency. This means that there are no up-front costs for our services, and we only take payment if we’re successful in getting you the compensation you need. If we don’t get money for you, we don’t get paid.
We don’t just support our clients either. We give back to our communities in many meaningful ways, such as donations of time and money to local charitable organizations and causes such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, United Way, and Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama.
Our mission, credentials, and accomplishments are meaningless if we aren’t good at what we do. Our clients choose us because we get the results they need. We’ve obtained millions of dollars and settlements and awards since our founding. We can’t guarantee a positive outcome in your case, but we can guarantee that we will work tirelessly to get you the help you need to move on after your child’s lead poisoning injury.
Common Injuries and Symptoms of Lead Poisoning
Testing for lead poisoning is not common practice, so lead poisoning is usually diagnosed only after enough lead has been absorbed to cause symptoms and injury. Lead poisoning can cause the following injuries and health problems, especially in children:
- Brain damage
- Behavioral health issues
- Developmental difficulties
- Learning disabilities
- Neurological effects
- Memory loss
- Loss of appetite
- Hearing loss
Laws Governing Lead Exposure in Alabama
Alabama instituted a rigorous program to control exposure to lead statewide with the passage of the Lead Reduction Act of 1997, and more recently, the Alabama Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.
The Lead Reduction Act set up rules and certifications for contractors and firms that work with older buildings in Alabama that might contain lead, including paint removal, renovation, abatement, and inspections. It ensures that anyone who works with materials or buildings contaminated with lead is properly certified, accredited, and trained to do so.
The Alabama Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program promotes a lead-free environment for the state’s children by providing education, case management, and outreach services, and works with health care professionals to ensure that goals to limit lead exposure are met in a timely fashion.
Who Is Responsible?
Determining who is responsible for lead poisoning depends on the circumstances of the injury. Below are some examples of scenarios where a negligent party can be held liable for lead poisoning:
- A real estate agent or homeowner who neglects to inform new buyers that the home they’re purchasing has lead-based paint throughout.
- A manufacturer of a product that contains high levels of lead.
- A daycare facility owner that neglects to inform parents that the building may contain lead paint.
- An industrial firm that is found to previously have dumped large amounts of lead-contaminated waste at a site now occupied by residential homes.
- A parent or guardian that fails to prevent a young child from ingesting lead paint chips.
- A government agency that failed to provide adequate regulation to protect citizens from lead exposure.
Compensation for Lead Poisoning
Obtaining compensation requires proving negligence. Alabama law states that we each have a responsibility to act in a way that doesn’t harm others. If we can show with evidence that the party responsible for your child’s injury was required to behave carefully, did not do so, their lack of care caused an accident, and that accident caused your child’s injury, we should be able to obtain compensation.
The amount of compensation you may obtain depends on the damages your child and your family suffered as a result of the injury. Generally, the more severe the injury, the more you should demand in compensation. Damages can be clearly categorized and defined, as follows:
Economic damages are any losses with a dollar value, such as medical bills. Non-economic damages are losses without a dollar value. These types of losses are harder to understand and relate to the stress caused by the injury itself. Pain and suffering is a good example. Talk to your attorney to determine which damages may apply to your claim.
Call Today for a Free Consultation
If your child shows signs of lead poisoning, don’t wait any longer to bring those responsible to justice. Contact the attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP today. We will evaluate your case and discuss all your legal options regardless of whether or not you choose us to represent you.
The initial consultation is no-obligation and absolutely free, and we only take payment for our work if we get compensation for you, so you have nothing to lose by contacting us. Call (205) 324-1212 today.