Many people assume that since lead paint is no longer legal, there is nothing to worry about. However, although lead paint has been banned since 1978, many homes still have lead paint underneath the current coat of paint.
A Landlord’s Duty to Tenants
A landlord has a duty to tenants to keep the property in a certain condition and to make certain disclosures to tenants. If a home was built prior to 1978, renters must receive a lead-based paint pamphlet and any known information about the presence of lead-based paint. In Illinois, a landlord also has a special duty to minors. A landlord may be liable for injuries if the landlord knows or has reason to know that minors frequent the premises, there is a dangerous condition, minors are likely to be injured based on their failure to appreciate the risk, and the expense of remedying the condition is slight compared to the risk to minors.
Lead Paint Poisoning Claims
Generally, lead poisoning cases are based on the theory of negligence. Claims may include a negligent failure to maintain safe premises, negligent misrepresentation, and negligent repairs. Plaintiffs may also be able to assert a breach of the covenant to repair and the implied warranty of habitability, as well as fraud and product liability claims, among others.
In a lead poisoning case, just as in any other negligence claim, a plaintiff must show:
- The defendant had a duty to the plaintiff to conform to a certain standard of conduct;
- The defendant failed to conform to that standard;
- The plaintiff suffered an injury; and
- The defendant’s failure caused the plaintiff’s injury.
In addition, in landlord-tenant cases, a plaintiff must also show that the landlord controlled the premises and that they had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition. In a lead paint claim, a plaintiff must also establish that the premises contained lead-based paint and that the paint caused the plaintiff’s exposure to lead and injuries.
Landlords are the most common defendant in lead paint poisoning claims. A property manager can also be held liable for failing to keep the property in good repair. Other defendants may also be held accountable, depending on the facts of the claim. For example, the Chicago Housing Authority was held liable in one case after a woman’s baby was found to have suffered from lead poisoning after she lived in an apartment with lead paint when she was pregnant. Paint manufacturers, lead paint removers, and enforcement agencies are additional potential plaintiffs. Victims may be able to recover damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, the cost of repairs, punitive damages, and more.
Berwyn Landlord Forced to Remove Lead Paint from Apartment
According to one news source, just last month, a landlord in Berwyn was forced to remove lead paint in a family apartment after it was reported that children in the home were exposed to lead. The family had no idea that their apartment contained lead paint until their four-year-old child tested positive for lead. Their two-year-old was then tested and found to have extremely high lead levels. After an X-ray was conducted, they realized he had paint chips in his system, and the child had to be hospitalized. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no level of lead is safe. It affects the brain and nervous system. Illinois’s Attorney General said that lead paint is a leading cause of lead exposure for children.
The family was never told there might be lead in their home. After the family discovered lead was present, their landlord evicted them. It was not until the Illinois Attorney General’s office sued the landlord that the landlord finally took action and removed the lead paint from the apartment. The family is treating both of their children for lead poisoning but has already seen troubling signs and is bringing a claim against the landlord.
Contact an Injury Attorney
If you have been injured due to a negligent act or a defective product, the Chicago injury attorneys at Moll Law Group are ready to help you assert your rights. At Moll Law Group, we represent people who have been involved in devastating accidents and families who have lost a loved one to an untimely death. Our attorneys believe that each personal injury and product liability lawsuit requires a comprehensive investigation, using a broad range of resources. Call us at 312-462-1700 or use our online form to set up a free consultation.
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