Birmingham Child Mercury Poisoning Lawyers
If your child suffered mercury poisoning due to someone’s negligent actions, you might be entitled to compensation for their medical treatment and other expenses. The Birmingham child injury lawyers of Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP understand the devastation of discovering your son or daughter has been exposed to a dangerous substance. We can help you hold the at-fault party liable for their misconduct and seek the justice you and your child deserve.
The mercury poisoning of a child is usually a preventable scenario. Unfortunately, some individuals and companies behave carelessly, putting people at risk of injury or illness. Exposure to high levels of mercury can wreak havoc in a person’s body. Children are particularly vulnerable to adverse effects. They can experience developmental problems or cognitive disabilities. Long-term exposure can even lead to brain damage or death.
The personal injury law firm of Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP believes that every child deserves an advocate to fight for them. We will work tirelessly to pursue the maximum compensation they deserve and try to reach the best possible outcome in the case.
Contact us to discuss your available legal options. You can depend on our legal team to go to battle for you so your child can recover. Call (205) 324-1212 today for a free consultation.
What Is Mercury?
Mercury is an element that occurs naturally in the environment. It exists in three main forms:
- Inorganic – You can find an abundant amount of mercury in the environment. Crystals or powders can form when it combines with other elements.
- Organic – Mercury combines with carbon during a biological bacterial process to create an organic form. It accumulates within the environment and can enter bodies of water and food products, such as fish.
- Metallic – Mercury remains a liquid at room temperature but can evaporate into the air. People don’t realize it when they inhale mercury vapor because it is colorless and odorless.
You can find mercury in many products, but only in small amounts. Minimal exposure often doesn’t cause any harm. However, if it builds up in a person’s body, it can eventually lead to various health problems.
What Is Mercury Poisoning?
Mercury poisoning results from exposure to significant amounts of the substance. People don’t know they have been exposed to mercury because there is no smell or taste to it. Exposure can occur in many ways, including:
- Direct contact – Mercury poisoning from direct contact with the skin often happens when a child touches a product containing the element, such as a toy.
- Inhalation – Inhaling the element in vapor form commonly occurs around household products, such as a broken light bulb or damaged thermometer.
- Ingestion – Exposure can result from eating fish or another type of seafood with high levels of mercury.
Common symptoms of mercury poisoning include:
- Loss of coordination
- Excessive sweating
- Skin rashes
- Mood changes
- Memory loss
- Coordination problems
- Elevated heart rate
- Muscle weakness
- Unusual sensations in the extremities
- Impaired speech, hearing, and vision
Children can also experience developmental symptoms, such as:
- Having trouble thinking or solving problems
- Impaired motor skills
- Hand-eye coordination issues
- Being physically unaware of surroundings
- Having trouble learning how to speak or understand a language
If your child exhibits any of these symptoms and you believe they may have been exposed to mercury, you should bring them to the hospital immediately. A doctor can evaluate their condition and determine whether poisoning has occurred. They should recommend a treatment plan so your child can recover and avoid serious complications.
Common Causes of Mercury Poisoning
The most common source of mercury exposure is fish. Toxicity can result from eating too much of it or eating specific types that contain high levels of mercury. Since mercury can contaminate freshwater and saltwater, it can also end up in fish. Every type of animal living in the water contains at least some levels of mercury. However, big fish might have larger amounts because they eat other fish.
The most common types of fish containing mercury are:
- Bigeye tuna
- Albacore tuna
- King mackerel
Some of these fish don’t contain dangerous levels of mercury. However, it can build up in your body if you eat any of these fish regularly. Pregnant women, in particular, should stay away from all seafood. A fetus can develop mercury poisoning that can result in various developmental problems while still in the womb, as well as after the child is born.
Common household products also contain mercury. Manufacturers that use large amounts of the dangerous element or provide defective products could be liable if your child experienced side effects from exposure. Common products that contain mercury include:
- Some children’s toys
- Over-the-counter medicines
- Eye drops
- Light bulbs
- Large appliances, such as washing machines and space heaters
Mercury exposure can also happen on someone else’s property. The owner is responsible for maintaining every part of their property, including removing potential dangers, to avoid causing harm to guests. For example, a broken light bulb could release mercury into the air. If the owner doesn’t address the issue promptly, it becomes a health hazard, and any visitor could inhale the harmful substance.
Pursuing a case against a business or large organization can be overwhelming and time-consuming. The process isn’t as straightforward as you may think. It would be in your best interest to hire a lawyer to help. Our lawyers can set up a team who can investigate the mercury poisoning incident to determine who was at fault and gather evidence to prove you deserve compensation.
Compensation Available in Mercury Poisoning Cases
Regardless of the severity of your child’s mercury poisoning, you probably suffered some losses. They likely needed emergency medical care or ongoing treatment to recover from the adverse effects of the poison. Even if they only experienced minor symptoms and required minimal medical attention, you could still seek compensation from the at-fault party.
The settlement you receive in an insurance claim should compensate for the losses you suffered, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Mental anguish
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Permanent disability
You also have the option to file a lawsuit. Many people attempt to recover the full and fair settlement available in an insurance claim. If the insurance company denies their claim or offers an inadequate amount, they might proceed with a lawsuit.
Alabama follows a two-year statute of limitations. That means you must file your lawsuit within two years of the mercury poisoning. However, if you don’t file by the two-year deadline, your child could pursue their case within two years of turning 19 years old.
Other than seeking compensation for your medical bills and other expenses, you can also pursue punitive damages if you take your case to court. Instead of compensating you for your losses, an award of punitive damages punishes the defendant for their actions. You must prove that the at-fault party acted with malice, intent to commit fraud, or wantonness by providing clear and convincing evidence to the jury.
What Are My Options if My Child Died from Mercury Poisoning?
If your child died from exposure to mercury due to another person’s misconduct, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit. Alabama defines wrongful death as the death of a person caused by someone’s omission, negligence, or wrongful act.
As a surviving parent, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party responsible for your child’s death. However, you only have six months to initiate the case in court. After six months, only the personal representative of your son or daughter’s estate would be permitted to file.
Many states allow surviving families to seek compensation for their losses, but Alabama law only allows survivors to pursue punitive damages.
Why Choose Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP?
The Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP personal injury law firm has more than 20 years of experience representing clients like you. We understand the pain of knowing your child is suffering. You want nothing more than to help them recover and make sure the negligent party faces the consequences of their actions. We have a proven track record of success fighting on behalf of injured minors and their parents. You can depend on our legal team to provide dependable services, guidance, and support from start to finish of your case.
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP is proud to hold an AV Preeminent® rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible rating received by the top lawyers in the country. We have also been recognized by multiple organizations, such as Super Lawyers and The National Trial Lawyers Top 100. We take child injury cases seriously and will work hard to try to reach your desired results.
Contact Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP
The Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP Birmingham child injury lawyers take cases on a contingency fee basis. We understand the financial strain you can experience when your child suffers an injury or illness. We don’t want to add to your economic struggles by charging upfront fees or costs. You don’t have to pay unless we secure compensation for you. If we lose, you will never owe us any money.
You will be our top priority while we investigate what happened and find a way to prove who should be held liable for your losses. Our team will stay by your side every step of the way, so you don’t have to face this traumatic experience alone.
If someone’s negligent or careless actions caused your son or daughter’s mercury poisoning, contact Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP right now. One of our Birmingham child mercury poisoning lawyers will be happy to meet with you for a free consultation to discuss the incident and advise how we can help.