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The presence of toxic mold can be extremely damaging to the occupants of a home or apartment. The development of toxic mold is often caused by water intrusion into the house due to construction or design defects or some other unforeseen condition, such as burst pipes or storm damage. As a result of the moisture, toxic mold can grow.
Even though your insurance company may claim otherwise, your homeowner’s insurance company or renter’s insurance may be responsible for cleaning up physical damage to the home and any mold growth that results. It is possible to seek damages if your health has been damaged by mold exposure or if an existing illness has been aggravated by mold exposure. Most homeowners’ insurance policies actually cover mold, despite some attempts to exclude it. The insurance company should pay for mold remediation if the damage occurred as a result of a covered loss. The insurance company may be liable for additional damages in some jurisdictions if they ignore your claim or fail to process it in a timely manner, which causes additional damage.
If you have a toxic mold claim, it would be wise to consult with an attorney who specializes in such claims. Moreover, a Ruskin toxic mold lawyer can assist you in representing your interests in court, as well as evaluating your case. In the event that you or a family member have been exposed to toxic mold, we can help. Call us at Calandro Law to schedule an initial consultation.
WHAT IS TOXIC MOLD?
Most of us have heard the words “mold” or “toxic mold” in our lifetime, but do we know what toxic mold actually is? Mold is a type of fungal organism which forms in multicellular structures called hyphae. Black mold has the scientific name Stachybotrys chartarum, and it’s black or green in color. A common place to find this mold is in dark, moist places like attics, bathrooms, and beneath sinks.
Mycotoxins are toxic chemicals released by black mold. The toxins are present in mold spores when released into the air, and they are often inhaled by humans who are exposed. Any form of mold is hazardous to your health, but black mold is particularly harmful. Significant exposure to it can trigger severe allergic reactions and cause pneumonia.
Additionally, these toxic spores are detrimental to the nervous and mental systems of a person. Black toxic mold sometimes produces trichothecene mycotoxins, considered neurotoxic. When inhaled/ingested, the toxins attack the neurons in the brain. A person’s mental capabilities can be compromised by exposure to mold of this type. This can result in nervous system disorders like tremors or dramatic personality changes including irritability and mood swings.
HOW FAST CAN MOLD GROW AND SPREAD?
Mold takes 24 to 48 hours to germinate and grow in ideal conditions (optimal temperature and humidity). A typical spore colony typically takes 3-12 days to colonize and has a visible appearance after 18-21 days. The time required for different types of mold to grow varies, depending on the conditions of each, the type of surfaces, the amount of moisture, the temperature, and so on. Regardless, the longer time passes, the greater the probability of mold developing and spreading to other areas of the house or other buildings.
It takes just a few hours for mold to spread. Moist organic materials attract mold spores, which grow in porous surfaces and feed on organic materials. Microorganisms attached to moist materials start spreading within hours, threatening the structural integrity of the materials. Mold quickly fills the air in your home with thousands of spores that spread throughout the building, affecting more and more surfaces as the days pass. Consequently, you will need to dry your home within 48 hours of an incident with water damage if you want to prevent mold from growing in your home.
SYMPTOMS OF TOXIC MOLD
Florida’s Department of Health states that toxic mold causes the following types of health problems:
ALLERGY AND IRRITATION
Mold sensitivity may be higher in people with allergies. If they are exposed to mold, they might experience symptoms including:
- Runny or blocked nose
- Watery, red eyes
- Dry cough
- Skin rashes
- Sore throat
Shortness of breath can be a severe symptom of mold allergies.
For people with a strong immune system, mold is not an issue. Fungal infections are harder to treat in people with weakened immune systems, including those with HIV, transplant patients, and people undergoing chemotherapy
TOXIC MOLD LEGAL REMEDIES
It is often expensive to treat toxic mold-related illnesses or repair mold-infested property. The victims of toxic mold exposure in the home or workplace may sue in order to recover damages. Victims can bring suits under a number of theories of liability:
FAILURE TO DISCLOSE
Generally, potential buyers are required to be made aware of any known defects in a property by its owner. The previous owner may be at fault if he or she didn’t disclose the existence of mold or a condition that could lead to mold to the buyer.
Individuals may sue contractors, subcontractors, architects or suppliers of construction materials for negligence. In negligence, one fails to take reasonable care to ensure that the property is free of leaks or plumbing issues that could lead to mold growth in the future.
BREACH OF WARRANTY
Builders and architects are required in many states to provide a guarantee of their work. In the event that a property suffers from water damage or mold infestation before this period has expired, the builder or architect could be held responsible for the damage.
FLORIDA IS A NO-FAULT STATE
The laws of the state in which the accident occurred will also play a role in how fault is looked at after an accident. Florida is a no-fault state. This means that neither party is held liable for a car accident.
Instead, every Florida driver is required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance up to $10,000 which can cover:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of benefits
- Property damage
Serious car accidents can lead to injuries and damages that exceed what is covered under a PIP policy. Under these circumstances, victims can pursue reimbursement for their pain and suffering from the responsible party or their insurance. The Riverview car accident lawyers at Calandro Law can help you recover compensation if you have been injured in a head-on collision.
TOXIC MOLD INSURANCE IN RUSKIN
Mold claims may be covered by some insurance companies depending on what caused the mold. As long as your particular policy includes coverage for the cause of the mold, your insurance provider will be responsible for any damages caused by the mold. Flooding and water exposure are usually not covered by Florida homeowners’ insurance policies. As a result, the cost of mold damage caused by water would not be covered by your insurance policy. Your insurance policy should be examined for the types of damage that are covered by it and to determine if there are any provisions excluding mold damage or the cause of the mold damage.
The insurance company will often dispute the cause of mold and point to something excluded by your insurance policy as the reason for its growth. When you have a dispute with your insurance provider or find that the provider is acting unfairly, it is important to hire a Ruskin toxic mold lawyer to mediate on your behalf.
FILING A TOXIC MOLD CLAIMS IN RUSKIN
If you want to avoid making any big mistakes while filing a claim, you should consider speaking with an experienced toxic mold attorney first. In the case of an injury, once you have discussed the situation with your Ruskin mold lawyer and established your best course of action, you should call your insurance company. However, it is important to not delay this process, as property damage claims due to toxic mold have a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations (SOL) is the period of time during which a claim can be filed. After the deadline passes and someone tries to file a claim, they will be barred. In Florida, the statute of limitations for most property damage claims is four years. Stat. § 95.11.
Lastly, keep a record of all conversations you have had with your insurance provider and any receipts you receive from repairing the damage, as well as documentation of the damage when it is discovered and throughout the repair process. Insurers may argue the repair costs are excessive and claim that the damage was not extensive. You will be able to recover more if you keep all the evidence you have. You may also be required to mitigate further damages under your insurance policy. Your insurer may deny your claim if you could have prevented additional damage to your property.
Under a new law in Florida, insurance companies can withhold payment during certain insurance claims until the damage has been repaired. The policyholder is initially responsible for paying for any damage before their insurance company reimburses them.