While children tend to bounce back quickly from minor illnesses and injuries, they may suffer serious and permanent injuries from exposure to mercury. Because they are still developing, children exposed to large amounts of mercury may suffer neurological damage affecting memory, attention span, and speech.
If your child has suffered a mercury-poisoning injury, you may be entitled to compensation from responsible. Child mercury-poisoning-injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino has considerable experience with such child-injury cases. Call attorney Killino at 877-875-2927 to discuss your case.
How does one get mercury poisoning?
Mercury poisoning is typically caused by oral exposure to or ingestion of a large concentration of mercury. Most commonly, these cases arise from one of the following:
- Poor dental practices when inserting or removing mercury amalgam (silver) fillings
- Ingestion of fish with large mercury concentrations
- Exposure to mercury through batteries or paint (often found in children’s toys)
While mercury thermometers are not common these days, some households may still contain these products. Breakage of a mercury thermometer may expose nearby individuals to a dangerous level of mercury.
Common Effects of Mercury Poisoning
Mercury poisoning has the potential to cause the following serious health issues in those who have been affected:
- Peripheral vision, speech, and hearing impairment
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
- Weakening of muscles
- Loss of coordination
- Mental impairment
- Skin rashes
Legal Liability for Children’s Mercury-poisoning Injuries
Mercury poisoning often results from the ingestion of fish, the use of certain products, and the use of equipment, such as that found in dentists’ offices, hospitals and other health-care centers, and labs.
Liability of Industries for Unlawful Mercury Use
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates certain uses of mercury through Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which limit mercury emissions from certain industries, for example, in an attempt to protect the public from the dangers of such admissions.
If a company is found to have caused a child’s mercury-poisoning injury through emissions of toxic levels of mercury, the company may be held liable for the injuries sustained by the child.
Compensation for injuries sustained through exposure to toxic levels of mercury may be obtainable in some circumstances under the law of premises liability. Owners of private homes or businesses may be found liable under premises liability law to certain individuals present on the property who sustain mercury-poisoning injuries as a result of the breakage of fluorescent lights, for example, and the property owner’s failure to adequately remove the mercury that has been released before allowing access to the property by the affected individuals.
Some states allow recovery under this theory only by individuals who were not trespassing on the property at the time the injury was sustained. Even in those states, however, liability may be imposed if the owner became aware of the trespasser’s presence and subsequently failed to take steps to keep the trespasser safe from a known mercury hazard.
Product Liability for Defective Products
Manufacturers of certain products may be found liable in a product-liability action for mercury-poisoning injuries sustained by users of these products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in 2012, for example, that the use of certain skin products may result in mercury poisoning. These products pose serious risks of mercury inhalation even by children who do not use the products, if the children are close enough to inhale the product’s vapors while someone else is applying the product. Children may also ingest such products by placing their hands in their mouths after touching the skin of adults who have used the products.
- Failure to Warn
A product-liability action may be brought against the manufacturer of such products and anyone in the chain of the product’s distribution for mercury-poisoning injuries sustained by children as a result of the manufacturer’s or seller’s failure to adequately warn consumers of the product’s mercury-poisoning dangers.
Negligent Dental Practices
Though the American Dental Association (ADA) promotes and the FDA allows the use of mercury in dental amalgams, the negligent removal or insertion of such amalgams may nevertheless result in liability on the part of a dentist whose negligence is found to have been a cause of a child’s mercury-poisoning injury. Dentists are aware, or should be aware, of the safest methods of mercury-amalgam removal and have a duty toward patients on whom they perform these procedures to take reasonable care to prevent unnecessary inhalation of and other exposure to mercury.
Liability of Hospitals for Mercury-poisoning Injuries
Children may be exposed to toxic levels of mercury due to the negligence of hospital administrators and other hospital personnel. Blood-pressure monitors used in many hospitals, for example, contain mercury to which patients—including children—may be exposed, particularly if the monitor is not properly maintained. If a child is exposed to a toxic level of mercury through the use of such a blood pressure monitor or other mercury-releasing hospital equipment, the hospital, its administrators, and any employee involved may be found liable in an action for negligence if the defendants’ negligence if found to have been a cause of the child’s mercury-poisoning injury.
If the negligent supervision of an adult who is responsible for the care of a child is found to be a cause of the child’s mercury-poisoning injury, the adult supervisor may be found liable in a negligence action for the injuries suffered by the child. The employer of the negligent supervisor may also be held liable for the supervisor’s negligence.
If your child has suffered an injury or permanent disability due to an overexposure to mercury, contact child mercury-poisoning-injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino today at 877-875-2927 for caring and dedicated assistance in pursuing your legal options.