Cast Iron Pipe Injuries: What You Should Know

Cast Iron Pipe Injuries: What You Should Know

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Cast Iron Pipe Injuries: What You Should Know

The median age of homes in the US is about 37 years old. Homes in the Northeast part of the country are approximately 57 years old, which means many of these homes used cast iron pipes in their plumbing. Cast iron was an innovative material that enjoyed a golden era of use in home construction from the early 19th century up until the early 1980s. In the 1930s, indoor plumbing became more common. At that time, cast iron pipes were the only option available, so entire neighborhoods of homes are still inhabited today that have this kind of plumbing.

While cast iron is known for its durability and strength, the material does have a downside in that over time, the material corrodes. Furthermore, these pipes are put together using joints, straight fittings, and screws that contain lead more often than not. Making cast iron pipes is hugely labor-intensive and, therefore, costly. When PVC pipes were invented, builders and plumbers switched because PVC is easier to make, offers excellent tensile strength, and allows builders more flexibility.

When cast iron pipes age, they are more likely to break or leak, which introduces a whole host of problems. Although it's very costly to replace an entire home's plumbing, landlords have a duty to ensure their tenets don't suffer illnesses or personal property damage because they want to delay investing in modern plumbing. Suppose you think you or your family has been harmed by old cast iron plumbing. In that case, you may wonder what to know about cast iron pipe injuries and if you have legal recourse against your landlord. We're here to help. Contact us today about a possible claim. Here are just some of the serious issues regarding old cast iron pipes.

Damaged cast iron pipes can cause health concerns

Some home repairs can wait, like peeling wallpaper, holes in drywall, and other cosmetic annoyances. Still, a leaky cast iron pipe has to be addressed quickly because of health risks. 

Class 3 water - This is also known as black water and is dark, dirty water that can be full of contaminants like backed-up sewage, fungi, bacteria, all of which can cause serious illness. When a cast iron pipe isn't draining properly because of a leak or break, your home's wastewater has to go somewhere, which is why you may be seeing this kind of water in sinks, bathtubs, and showers. Exposure to this kind of water is a serious health hazard, especially to children and pets that may not understand the dangers.

Pest infestation - Breaks in cast iron plumbing can allow contaminants from the surrounding soil, and pests like rodents and roaches into your home. Besides being disgusting, these pests bring disease and cause damage to your possessions. Rodents can chew through electrical wires, causing fire hazards and also wreak havoc on soft materials like clothing, stored items, and furniture. Rodent feces, urine, saliva, and blood are also known to transmit life-threatening diseases such as Hantavirus, Tularemia, and Plague. The most common way people become ill from rodents is through rodent contaminated food.

Cockroach infestation - Cockroaches carry bacteria, and when they come into contact with food, these bacteria can cause salmonella, staphylococcus, and streptococcus. All of these bacteria can lead to serious infections. They can even be deadly, especially for children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. According to the World Health Organization, cockroach infestation has been linked to intestinal diseases like dysentery, typhoid fever, diarrhea, and cholera. Cockroaches' enzymes have been linked to severe allergic reactions and asthma.

Mold - Cast iron pipes are most commonly out of sight, which means leaks or breakages can be hidden, thus giving mold a prime habitat in which to grow and pollute your home. Exposure to mold can cause a variety of health problems ranging from allergic responses like sneezing, skin rash, runny nose, and red eyes. In people that have asthma, exposure can cause asthma attacks. Exposure to black mold can be very harmful over a long period of time. Still, if a person already has health problems, even short-term exposure can cause harm. Research has shown that infants and children exposed to mold have an increased risk of developing asthma.

Polluting aquifers - Broken cast iron pipes can contaminate local underground water sources like aquifers, which means the pollutants not only can make you ill but also your neighbors. If you believe that your neighbors' neglected cast iron pipes are the source of unexplained illnesses, one of our personal injury lawyers may be able to help you get compensation.

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  • What should your landlord do to prevent cast iron pipe injuries?

    As stated previously, replacing an entire home's plumbing is not cheap. Repairing a small isolated leak is a reasonable solution. Still, the issue probably isn't small or isolated if you're experiencing health problems or damage to your property.  

    Over time, cast iron pipes can become compacted inside with debris buildup and rust, leading to burst pipes, sewage back-ups, and sluggish drains. Tree roots are another problem that can only be addressed with clearing options like hydrojetting or picote descaling. Again, these solutions will only clear blockages. Broken and leaky pipes have to be replaced or repaired, which should be addressed by a professional unless your landlord is a licensed plumber.

  • What is my landlord's duty to me as a tenant to provide a safe dwelling?

    Every state has varying laws that dictate landlords' responsibilities towards their tenants. This is usually known as the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. Generally speaking, landlords must provide safe, clean, and habitable residences. They must comply with building codes concerning the health and safety of the tenants. In regards to plumbing, they have the duty to make sure it is maintained and in safe working order. 

    Even if your landlord made you sign something concerning the plumbing, that doesn't mean they are off the hook because they cannot make up rules for the purpose of evading their obligations. The only "disclosure" that could get them off the hook for damages is a lead paint or mold disclosure. However, it's essential to have a lawyer familiar with your state's laws review your contract to determine if they can be held liable for your illness.

  • How can I sue my landlord for cast iron pipe injuries?

    When you move into a home, at no point should you be exposed to conditions that are detrimental to your health. Suppose you or members of your household have developed a health problem, or your health has declined, and you believe it is linked to old cast iron pipes. In that case, you can take legal action against your landlord. Most state landlord-tenant laws stipulate that a landlord is liable for injuries that result from hidden defects that the landlord knew about or should have reasonably known about. 

    To get help proving your landlord's liability will require the help of our legal professionals. Your chances of winning compensation for your injuries are significantly increased when you have our personal injury lawyers on your side. When we take on your case, we work to gather evidence. In a cast iron pipe injury claim, we may contact previous residents to see if they suffered any illnesses similar to yours while being a tenant in the home and find out if they had knowledge of plumbing issues. We can perform investigations into the home's history to learn if the landlord was aware of the problem and what, if anything, was done to remedy the situation. We will talk to your doctors to gain insight into how your illness could be linked to the health hazards mentioned earlier in this article and find out what future medical care you will need.

    Our team of experts will diligently go after your negligent landlord to ensure you get the compensation you deserve, including payment for the inconvenience and disruption to your life caused by hazardous conditions. 

  • What kind of compensation could I get for cast iron pipe injuries?

    Morgan & Morgan personal injury lawyers may be able to win compensation for your injuries and losses that could include the following damages:

    • Medical bills 
    • Cost of future medical care
    • Lost wages due to your illness
    • Loss of future income (should your illness be debilitating)
    • Pain and suffering
    • Mental anguish
    • Loss of companionship (should your illness impact relationships)
    • Funeral and burial expense (in case of wrongful death)
    • Cost of predeath medical care
    • Loss of financial contribution from deceased
    • Personal property losses
    • Punitive damages (if the landlord was aware of the dangers and acted in callous disregard)
  • Why work with Morgan & Morgan?

    Learning what to know about cast iron pipe injuries is just the first step towards gaining compensation. In our 30+ years in business, we've come across all kinds of negligence cases, including landlords that recklessly expose their tenants to dangers so they can save a buck. Sometimes it may be intimidating to sue your landlord, particularly if you know they have resources and wealth. However, that shouldn't be a reason to give up pursuing justice. At Morgan & Morgan, we take cases on a contingency fee arrangement, meaning you don't pay for our services unless we win compensation for you.

    As far as going up against a powerful landlord, you should know that Morgan & Morgan is one of the biggest law firms in the US with nearly a thousand experienced lawyers and thousands more support staff. We've recovered billions in compensation for our clients during our time fighting the good fight against wrongdoers. We're not afraid of the inside of a courtroom either. While many personal injury lawyers cave and accept the first settlement offer, our lawyers don't give in unless you get a fair and just settlement. If your landlord doesn't offer up what is a fair amount, we'll let the courts decide. Reach out today for a free case evaluation. There's no reason to deal with this problem on your own.

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