Who to Sue for Toxic Mold
Exposure to mold, particularly toxic mold, is a growing concern in both the healthcare and legal spheres. With the potential to exacerbate health conditions and ruin property, mold can be a formidable force to combat. For those who have suffered health issues, property damage, or any other losses as a result of mold infestation, there might be an opportunity to file a legal claim. Here, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Peter Angelos Law provide insight into the process of seeking compensation for damages caused by toxic mold.
Symptoms of Toxic Mold
The impact of toxic mold exposure goes beyond the inconvenience of having it treated and removed. Toxic mold produces airborne particles that can harm your lungs and lead to general poor health. Toxic mold symptoms often present allergy symptoms similar to hay fever, with common symptoms including stuffy nose, wheezing, red or itchy eyes, allergies, fever, or shortness of breath. In extreme cases, symptoms include memory loss, pneumonia, liver disorders, lung damage, and joint pain.
Exposure to toxic mold also increases the risk and severity of health problems like asthma, allergies, COPD, sinus infections, and even depression. If you have experienced any of these symptoms as a result of mold exposure, it’s important to speak with an expert to begin building your case.
How to Handle Toxic Mold in a Property That You Own
If you discover mold in a home, apartment, or property you own, you may be able to seek compensation for another party’s negligence. While each case is different, the following entities may be held responsible for any toxic mold in your home, apartment, or other property.
Builders and/or Contractors
Sometimes mold is the result of poor workmanship or a failure to properly install ventilation that prevents such an infestation. If this is the case, you must prove the negligence of the builder, general contractor, or subcontractors who failed to prevent mold from growing. Additionally, if your state requires builders or contractors to guarantee the quality of their work in a warranty, you could claim that the warranty has been breached, leading to additional compensation. Proving negligence can be a rigorous process, so it is important to consult with an experienced legal team.
If you purchased the home without the prior seller disclosing any known problems despite their knowledge of a mold infestation, they might also be liable for violating disclosure laws. While each state is different, most have disclosure laws that require sellers to disclose the presence of substances such as hazardous or toxic waste, asbestos, urea-formaldehyde insulation, radon gas, or lead-based paint.
If the realtor, an agent of the seller, sold you a home with a mold infestation, they might also be held liable. Real estate agents are charged with an affirmative duty to thoroughly inspect the property and disclose information to buyers that affects the property value. If realtors fail to make the necessary disclosures, they can be held liable for negligence or fraud.
Architect or Engineer
The engineering or architectural aspects of the house can also contribute to a mold infestation. Because mold can grow at exponential rates in unventilated or improperly ventilated areas, an architect or engineer’s failure to include proper ventilation systems in the design of the home may result in their liability.
Sometimes, mold infestation in the home is the result of moldy construction materials being brought in through a supplier. In this instance, the supplier may be liable for the mold infestation if it can be directly linked to the materials used to build the house or apartment.
Mold in a Plaintiff-Rented or Plaintiff-Leased Building
For mold found in a rented or leased building, the landlord is typically held liable. Under the legal doctrine of “implied warranty of habitability,” the landlord is responsible for keeping the rental property health-hazard free. Since the implied warranty of habitability is state law, no language in your lease can eliminate that responsibility. While there is no federal law governing a landlord’s responsibilities when it comes to mold, tenants who believe they have been harmed by mold in their apartment can sue for damages from their landlord to compensate for the loss. In cases where the mold is a result of a violation of the landlord’s duty to maintain habitable premises or failure to fix leaks, you might be able to recoup compensation from your landlord by proving it has caused a health problem or property damage. While the local housing authority might encourage your landlord to take action, it will likely take legal action to receive compensation for an injury or damage to personal property.
Mold at Your Place of Work
Health problems resulting from a mold infestation at your place of work are typically resolved with a workers’ compensation claim. However, if you have suffered injury or illness, you may be able to take action if the property owner was negligent, if they breached a warranty, or if they failed to disclose the mold. These cases will depend on the specifics and severity of your situation, so it’s key to have an experienced attorney to manage your case.
Mold at School
Mold can also be present in community buildings such as churches, community centers, and schools. If you or a child was exposed to toxic mold at a school, the school may be held liable. In the instance of toxic mold exposure at a public school, sovereign immunity may protect the school from a lawsuit. Read more about how public schools may be immune from lawsuits here.
Consult with an Attorney
Toxic mold can have serious impacts on your health. If you have suffered an illness as a result of mold infestation, you deserve compensation for the damages you’ve experienced. Whether it be necessary renovation reimbursement, workers’ compensation, or repayment for lost income, there are recovery options available to you. Since mold cases are often situational and detail-oriented, it’s vital to hire an experienced attorney to handle your case. To discuss your case with an experienced, talented, and compassionate member of our legal team, contact Peter Angelos Law today.