There are various toxic substances that can be on a property that aren’t typically considered a hazard. For example, lead-based paint, asbestos shingles, mold and fluids drained out of a vehicle’s motor. If you were visiting a property and were injured by a toxic substance, get in touch with the lawyers at Danker & Aspromonte Associates in New York, NY to go over your legal options.
In majority of the states, it is required for a residential property seller or leaser to disclose known hazardous substances that are present on the property. It is required by federal law to disclose of lead hazards, like lead-based paint and lead plumbing. There are some local and state laws that require disclosure of other types of toxic substances, like asbestos.
Not disclosing this could lead to various penalties, which are oftentimes substantial. Not disclosing a known lead hazard could possibly lead to the seller paying a civil penalty that is triple the amount of the damages that the buyer suffered.
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Under common law in most states, the individual that stores a toxic or hazardous substance on his or her property is the one held liable for any damage caused by the substance being released, even if it’s by accident or unintentional. This rule is effective against property owners who intentionally store or accumulate a toxic material, no matter how careful the owner in storing the toxic substance.
Under federal and state laws, the one responsible for the costs of cleaning up hazardous waste that was disposed of on the property is the property owner or the individual in possession of the property. It’s possible for the landowner to be held liable for the costs of cleaning up the waste, even if he or she isn’t the one responsible for all the waste that was disposed of on the property. It’s also possible for the past tenant or owner of the property to be held liable, even if he or she is no longer in possession of or owns the property.
The definition of hazardous waste is different under certain federal and state laws. For instance, in some states, used oil that is drained from an engine is known to be hazardous waste, so a property owner could be held liable for the oil he or she disposes a small amount onto the ground of the property. There is a list that’s published by the state and federal environmental agencies that lists substances that are considered hazardous waste and whether the owner or occupant could be held liable for the hazardous wastes on the property.
It is the duty of the landlord to fix hazards, such as lead paint if it is mandated by a statute or city health department. Under common law, if a lead paint liability claim is filed against the landlord it is based upon negligence. The only way a landlord can be held liable for lead paint injuries is if he or she has knowledge or notice of the lead-based paint presence. The landlord has no duty to fix the issue if he or she doesn’t have control over the area that has lead-based paint.
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There is great potential to be harmed by toxic substances on a property. To find out how you can handle your case, get in touch with the lawyers at Dankser & Aspromonte Associates in New York, NY for a consultation.