In spite of sweeping changes in the laws, lead poisoning continues to be a leading cause of permanent injury and deaths throughout the world. As a result, many individuals and families are devastated by the effects of lead exposure, which can take place over many months, possibly years, before the symptoms become obvious. At that point, the victim is left with serious complications, including elevated blood pressure, loss of appetite, seizures, and brain damage. The most vulnerable patients are children under 6 years old, whose growth and development can be compromised by prolonged exposure to lead.
Are you or one of your loved ones suffering from the effects of lead poisoning? Laws at the state and federal level allow such victims to sue the party that has injured them. Unfortunately, many people run into stumbling blocks along the way, due to their inexperience with the legal system. To obtain the full range of damages you are entitled to, contact our office right away to speak with a lawyer experienced in lead poisoning cases. We can provide answers to any question that’s currently on your mind, including:
“How long is the process to settle a lead poisoning lawsuit?”
Length of Time to Receive Payment from a Lead Exposure Lawsuit
Even in this day and age, it’s not unusual to hear about the effects of lead exposure, especially in older homes and apartment buildings. Then, there are cases that go back many years and are revisited from time to time to remind us of the devastation caused by lead poisoning. A famous example is the California lawsuit against ConAgra Brands and Sherwin-Williams, which took 19 years before the victims received justice from a $305 million settlement.
Looking at such cases might cause you to wonder if it will take many years to receive the funds you need in order to cover your losses. We want to assure you that most lawsuits do not take this long. This was an unusual case involving thousands of victims and a prolonged trial, along with an appeals process which reduced the original verdict of over $1 billion to $305 million. Because each stage took several years, the total amount of time that was spent in litigation was close to 20 years.
How long your own lead injury case will take to settle is based on many circumstances, including the health complications you’ve suffered and the impact they will have on your life. As we previously mentioned, the majority of lead poisoning victim are children, who are susceptible to the following injuries:
- Interrupted or slow growth and mental development
- Brain damage
- Loss of hearing
- Problems with speech
- Nervous system disorders
Those who are responsible for lead poisoning incidents (landlords, for example) are generally reluctant to admit liability. If they do admit fault, the payments they offer are typically insufficient for the level of harm inflicted on the victim. As you can imagine, their goal is to pressure you into a settlement while you’re desperate and emotionally vulnerable. That’s also the reason they will discourage you from hiring an attorney, as they want to settle the case for as little as possible, which is the most likely outcome if you try to negotiate with the insurance company on your own. For these and various other reasons, resolving your case through private negotiations may not be possible, and we may have to proceed with a lawsuit.
Once you’ve decided on a lawsuit, there is a period of investigation, questioning, and evidence-gathering, which is known as the “discovery” phase. During this time, lawyers on both sides will spend around 6 to 12 months on the following tasks
- Depositions – asking questions and recording statements from witnesses.
- Investigating the incident and compiling evidence.
- Obtaining experts to testify on your behalf, and finding out information that will be presented by the other side’s expert witnesses.
You are correct, by the way, if you have guessed that these are the actions for an upcoming trial. Keep in mind that many of these lawsuits settle without the need for a trial, but it’s important to lay the foundation just in case. How soon your trial will be scheduled largely depends on the court’s schedule, but in high population states like California, it can be one or more years before your case is heard by a judge and jury.
Compensation for Lead Poisoning Injury Victims
The science is clear when it comes to lead poisoning and its lifelong effects on the victim’s life. That’s why it’s essential to fight for each and every damage you are entitled to if you’ve suffered health issues from exposure to high levels of lead. Here are the possible damages you can recover with help from a lead poisoning lawsuit attorney:
- Medical expenses, including future medical costs for severe injury cases.
- Wages that were lost by the victim or the parent of a victim who was forced to take time off or quit their job to take care of their child.
- Compensation for trauma-based injuries, like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and mental anguish.
Another form of payment that may apply to your situation is punitive damages, which must be awarded by a jury. Punitive damages are awarded when a defendant’s negligence, which led to the plaintiff’s injuries, is particularly outrageous. What does this mean when it comes to a lead poisoning lawsuit? Let’s look at the following example:
A California landlord is aware that his rental property contains high levels of lead, due to the old paint on the interior walls and siding on the house. In fact, he’s rented this home out with this knowledge for many years in spite of repeated complaints from tenants. Instead of removing his property from rental listings and taking care of the issues with the paint, he keeps renting out the property without informing the new renters of the possible dangers. One family decides to take action by contacting a lawyer, and the case eventually goes to trial. The jury finds that the landlord’s actions constitute gross negligence and awards the family $2.5 million in punitive damages.
By contacting our office, you can retain the services of a lawyer experienced in lead poisoning injury cases. That way, you can fight for the settlement you deserve, based on your own level of harm and suffering.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Involving Lead Exposure
Depending on the level of exposure, it’s possible to pass away from a case of lead poisoning. If you lost a loved one due to complications from lead exposure, the following types of compensation may be available to you and your family members:
- Cost associated with the burial / funeral services
- Medical expenses left behind by the victim
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of expected earnings and associated benefits (healthcare, retirement savings, etc.)
- Loss of consortium
A settlement cannot give you back what you’ve lost when that special someone is taken away from you. However, there’s no denying the costs – financial and emotional – that are left behind by the decedent’s passing. Compensation will help you recoup these costs, while making it clear that someone else is responsible for the death of your loved one. To learn more about your legal rights, contact us to schedule a free consultation with a wrongful death lawsuit attorney.
Lead Poisoning Lawsuits: Average Case Value
In the previous sections, we went over the monetary damages that can be included in a lead poisoning lawsuit. But what does this mean in terms of the total amount you will end up with? Frankly, lead exposures cases are generally high in value, due to the severity of injuries you can end up with. But there are many issues that must be considered in order to figure out the value of our own lead poisoning injury claim.
To give you a sense of possible settlement values, take a look at the following examples of lead poisoning lawsuits around the country:
- $760,000 award on behalf of a toddler that suffered from lead exposure due to the paint in his family’s apartment.
- $6 million payment for a lawsuit involving brain damage to a child that was exposed to lead paint over a period of several years.
- $4.8 million awarded to the parents of a 12-year-old, who was exposed to high levels of lead since the age of two.
- $320 million judgement for 16 plaintiffs that were exposed to high levels of lead pollution from a lead smelting company.
Statute of Limitations for a Lead Poisoning Lawsuit
Knowing how much time you have to bring forth a lawsuit is essential to protecting your compensation rights as a lead poisoning injury victim. In most cases, the statute of limitations to file a lead poisoning lawsuit is two years, typically from the date of discovering the effects of lead exposure. There are a few exceptions to the rule, mainly for lead poisoning victims that were minors at the time of exposure. These plaintiffs have two years from turning the age of majority (18 years old) to sue the responsible parties, but an extension past the two-year window must be granted by the court. In short, it will be extremely difficult to obtain monetary damages if you end up exceeding the statute of limitations for a lead exposure lawsuit.
To verify the statute of limitations for your case and take action on a compensation claim for lead poisoning, contact the injury lawyers of DTLA Law Group.
Free Second Opinion
Some of you reading this article may have a lawyer that’s representing you in a lead poisoning lawsuit. However, you have suspicions that your case is on the wrong track or find yourself frustrated by your lawyer’s lack of communication when you need updates or answers to important questions. So, what can you do when you have concerns about your lawsuit and need guidance on your rights and legal options? The lead injury lawyers of DTLA can help, with a free second opinion on your active injury claim. We don’t charge for these consultations, so there’s no risk in coming by to use us at your earliest convenience. To schedule a free second opinion, just give us a call here at our office.
Los Angeles Lawyers with Experience in Lead Poisoning Injuries
Even with all that we know about lead exposure, there’s no such thing as a “safe” concentration of lead in the blood system. That means property owners, businesses, and manufacturers have to take all the necessary precautions to prevent others from being exposed to lead. As personal injury lawyers, we have seen firsthand the devastating impact of lead exposure injuries, especially in babies, toddlers, and children under the age of 6. This is our main motivation when we fight for the compensation our clients deserve.
Our law firm operates under the Zero Fee Guarantee, where all clients receive free legal services from day one. You and your loved ones should not have to pay for skilled legal representation when someone else is responsible for your injuries. To that end, we bill all our expenses to the party you are suing, which we only receive by bringing you your settlement award.
A free case evaluation with one of our attorneys is just a phone call away, so contact our law firm as soon as possible.