The skillful attorneys at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. have experience handling cases stemming from lead-poisoned children. We sue past and present landlords in lawsuits seeking justice and fair compensation for injured children and their families.  Our lawyers have won the highest settlements in Michigan.

The hazards of lead paint poisoning have been known throughout the world since the early 1900s. However, it was not until 1978 that the use of lead paint became illegal in the United States after it was banned by the EPA.

Most cases of lead poisoning result from the ingestion and inhalation of lead-based paint and particles. However, other sources of lead, such as vinyl mini-blinds and toys may also be a source of lead hazards.  Young children often play on the ground, and the floors and window sills at their level, which unfortunately is where the highest concentrations of lead dust are found in older homes.

Cases are filed because past and present landlords failed to keep a rental home or apartment in good condition without peeling, chipping, and flaking paint and lead-based dust accessible to children.  These poisonings are completely preventable with proper maintenance and upkeep.

lead poisoning lawyer Michigan

Definition of Lead Poisoning

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines lead poisoning as an elevated blood lead level greater than 5 micrograms per deciliter.  Previously, it was thought that only exposures of more than 20 mg/dl could harm the developing child’s brain and central nervous system.  The unsafe level has been lowered multiple times over the last several decades.

An elevated blood lead level is usually detected in children through a routine blood test at annual exam. Unfortunately, many children have no symptoms at the time that they are poisoned, other than common child complaints like stomach pain or loss of appetite. Problems with behavior, learning, and development typically surface as the child progresses through elementary school.

There are a number of serious consequences that can result from this form of poisoning. These include:

  • Loss of IQ points
  • Speech problems
  • Developmental delays
  • Loss of learning capacity
  • Hyperactivity and attention disorder (ADHD)
  • Delinquent and criminal behavior
  • Brain damage
  • Wrongful death

A recent study was conducted on the students who attend Detroit Public Schools (DPS) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study found that the children with high blood levels did not test as proficiently as other students. The study factored out other potential influences on poor test performance and concluded that lead poisoned was a major cause of learning disability in the City of Detroit.

The injuries caused by lead-paint poisoning prevent many children from reaching their full intellectual and earning potential, as well as cause physical harm and emotional trauma. As a result, a compassionate Michigan lead poisoning lawyer will help win fair compensation through a civil lawsuit.

Michigan Child Lead Poisoning Statistics

Children are frequently the victims of lead poisoning throughout Michigan. A study conducted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has shown the counties with the highest incidents of lead poisoning among children, and the results are alarming. The number of children diagnosed with this form of poisoning throughout the state is staggering.

In 2016 alone, there were 5,719 children under the age of six years old diagnosed with blood lead levels in excess of the definition of poisoning. The counties with the highest number of these cases in Michigan were Calhoun, Genesee, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne. The City of Detroit had by far the highest number of children diagnosed with poisoning in the entire state.

The statistics below show the county, and the associated average blood lead level found in children one and two years of age:

  • Wayne County with 76.6 percent
  • Saginaw with 76.4 percent
  • Gogebic with 74.2 percent
  • Ontonagon with 74 percent
  • Houghton with 73.8 percent

The counties with the highest blood lead levels in children under the age of six included:

  • Wayne County with 83.4 percent
  • Bay with 77.1 percent
  • Saginaw with 76.4 percent
  • Calhoun with 75.2 percent
  • Ontonagon with 74 percent

In addition to these statistics, the data for Detroit and Flint are just as concerning. Blood levels in children under the age of six in Detroit are 91.9 percent, while in Flint they are slightly higher at 92.3 percent. This may not be surprising to some, considering that the Flint water crisis began in 2014 when the city’s water source was change from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the less costly, but also contaminated the Flint River.

Clearly, Michigan has a lead problem, and it is only growing. In the year 2016, there were 157,892 children that tested positive for elevated blood lead levels. That is a 20 percent increase from the previous year. With so many negative effects, it is devastating for parents to watch as their children become sick from lead poisoning.

Landlords and Lead Paint Poisoning

A doctor will send notice to the health department in order for an inspection to be performed if a child is diagnosed with an elevated blood lead level. This inspection, overseen by the Michigan Department of Community Health, is done to determine the source of the elevated blood lead level. In Michigan, bigger cities such as Detroit have lead poisoning prevention programs of their own.

Usually, landlords will deny that they had knowledge of a lead hazard, despite the local and federal regulations that are in place which require all property owners to give notice of these types of hazards to their tenants. However, through these assessments, the fault of the landlord may be identified.

Through document requests and depositions, our attorneys will establish liability against the landlords. Many landlords are also held liable for their failure to provide their tenants with the required lead disclosure forms and pamphlets on this form of poisoning. Due to these nuances, having the knowledge and experience of a lead poisoning lawyer in Michigan can be essential.

How much time is there to file a lawsuit?

In Michigan, a lead-poisoned child has to his or her 19th birthday to file a lawsuit.  It is better to file the case as soon as possible so that the past or present landlord can be located and sued for negligence and insurance can be identified.

What is the Amount of a Lead Poisoning Settlement?

The settlement amount of a lead poisoning lawsuit is determined on a case by case basis.  There is no “average” or “typical” settlement award.  The payout amount is determined by a number of factors, including the injuries suffered by the child and the affect the poisoning will have over the child’s lifetime.  Many children become unemployable as adults due to learning disorders caused by the toxic exposure.

Our lawyers have won the top settlements in Michigan over the last twenty years.  Many cases have resulted in compensation to provide for the child over his or her lifetime.  Examples of settlements include a $ 1.4 million settlement for a Detroit child and a $ 400,000 settlement for a lead poisoned child in Muskegon.

Get Help from the Best Michigan Lead Poisoning Lawyers

If your child has suffered after being exposed to paint-based chemicals, you are likely to be traumatized and overwhelmed. However, hiring a Michigan lead poisoning lawyer is essential.

Contact the attorneys at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. today to start your case.  We do not charge any fees unless your child wins a settlement.

Lead Poisoning References and Resources

Michigan Department of Health & Human Services

CDC State Programs

American Academy of Pediatrics

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