Over time, mold can affect a person’s living environment, including their health and property. Those exposed to toxic black mold will often become debilitated by it the longer they remain in the apartment, house, or unit. Long-term exposure can cause serious health problems, which worsen as time progresses. The more exposure a person has, the greater the threat to their bodies. In many cases, the toxic mold is not discovered until the tenant suffers catastrophic damage such as respiratory harm, internal organ damage, or mental impairment.
A lawsuit could result if toxic mold is discovered in your home, apartment, or other property, especially if there was a pre-existing issue with the building, or if there wasn’t proper cleanup after a flood or other issue. Speak with a toxic mold attorney to learn if you may be eligible for compensation after being exposed to harmful mold. This article covers the fundamentals of toxic mold lawsuits: who might be liable, what kinds of losses can be recovered, and why you might need to act as soon as possible.
What Is Mold?
Mold is a fungus. It can be found almost anywhere in the environment, including the air. In general, low amounts of mold in the environment do not pose a serious health risk to healthy people. Black mold is not a specific mold – many molds are black. When people use the term, they may mean Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as Stachybotrys atra. No scientific studies have shown that S. chartarum is more hazardous than any other mold.
In large quantities, mold may cause health issues in just about anyone if it is inhaled in large quantities. However, certain people may be more sensitive to mold spores, and they may develop respiratory symptoms after inhaling even a small quantity of spores. As such, mold growth in the home should be removed and steps should be taken to keep it from returning.
The Difference Between “Toxic Mold” And “Black Mold”
Toxigenic molds produce toxins, specifically mycotoxins. As with other types of mold that can grow in your house, molds that produce mycotoxins may present hazards.
Mycotoxins are not produced by all fungi, and even those that do will not produce them in all surface or environmental conditions. Mold growth, usually in the form of spots, can appear in a wide range of colors, and can smell musty. Color does not indicate how dangerous mold may be; it should be removed and the source of moisture that encouraged its growth should be removed.
The reported health effects of toxic molds within homes are rare, such as pulmonary hemorrhage and memory loss. In these reports, the presence of toxigenic mold has not been proven to be the cause for these conditions.
The Symptoms Of Black Mold Exposure
The growth of mold is most common in moist areas, including bathrooms, around windows, near pipes, and anywhere there has been flooding. The fungus can grow on a wide range of surfaces, including cardboard, wallpaper, carpet, and drywall.
Obvious signs of mold can include black stains on the wall as well as mushrooms growing out of the carpet.Mold problems are often only discovered when people begin to experience health issues. As a result of mold exposure, you may experience:
- Nose congestion
- A flare-up of asthma
- Feeling short of breath
Mold can trigger upper respiratory issues in people who are more sensitive to it. You are more likely to develop serious health problems if you are exposed to mold for an extended period of time, including organ damage and mental impairment.
Check your property for mold if you experience allergy-like symptoms or what feels like a persistent cold. In the event that mold is present and has caused significant damage to your health and/or your property, you may be able to sue your landlord for damages.
Black Mold And Your Landlord’s Responsibilities
It may be possible to file a lawsuit against anyone who has caused or contributed to the presence of toxic mold in your home or other property if you or a family member have suffered health problems or property damage due to the presence of toxic mold.
You might have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit, a property damage claim, or even a professional malpractice claim, depending on the specifics of the situation.
Let’s see who might be liable for toxic mold harm:
- Renters can sue their landlord or property manager for health problems and damage to personal property caused by mold exposure. Renters’ insurance can also cover property damage.
- You may be able to sue a previous owner for most categories of losses after buying an existing home, but typically only if they knew about a defective property condition that led to a mold problem, were required to disclose the defect, and failed to do so.
- It could be the architects, builders, and contractors who violated building codes, did not obtain appropriate permits, or used faulty materials that contributed to toxic mold in a newly-built home. The suppliers of any faulty or faulty building materials could additionally be liable.
- Suppose you had toxic mold in your house after a flood, hurricane, or other disaster, and you hired a company to clean and repair it. The negligent company might be liable.
- A homeowner’s policy, renter’s policy, or health insurer policy may provide coverage for mold damage, or health problems caused by exposure to mold. You may be able to sue the insurer if it takes too long to decide whether a mold-related claim should be paid or if it denies a mold claim in bad faith (arguing that coverage for mold is excluded, for example).
What Kind Of Losses are Covered?
In a lawsuit stemming from toxic mold, the compensation categories (and amounts) that may be available may differ considerably depending on the particular facts of the case.
- A mold inspection and a price estimate are needed to assess the extent of damage and determine the cost of remediation.
- Resolve the issue and eliminate hazardous mold by making structural repairs, performing new construction or contracting work, as well as undertaking other remediation-related measures.
- Replacing damaged household items
- Housing costs during the repairs or for any period where the residence is not habitable
- You will be reimbursed for any medical treatment needed as a result of mold exposure (including ongoing testing and monitoring) provided you can prove that the exposure is linked to your health issues.
- Lost income due to health problems caused by mold
- If applicable and available, compensation for pain and suffering, anxiety, and/or emotional distress.
Steps To Take If You’ve Been Exposed To Black Mold
As soon as you suspect your house has been contaminated by mold, it is imperative to have it tested. Take these immediate steps:
- Take Photos and Video: You should immediately take pictures and video of water damage, property damage, and anything else that may have caused the problem you can use the video and pictures as evidence for your case.
- Have the Property Tested: Test the property for the amount, type, and level of mold using a qualified testing company. For mold at your workplace or office, you may require a microbiologist or industrial hygienist (OSHA describes industrial hygienists as highly skilled professionals who create engineering and work practice controls to prevent exposure to health hazards).
- Give Notice to the Landlord and/or Property Manager: The landlord may fix the problem without your assistance – depending on the facts – for instance, if the landlord was aware of the condition before they rented the property to you, you might have a case. When you give notice to the landlord or property manager, you should do so in writing and keep good records of all written communication.
- Keep All Receipts and Make a Record of Any Damages: Take note of any property that is destroyed or damaged by the mold, including moving costs, testing costs, and property damage, as well as hotel and restaurant bills you incur.
- Seek Medical Attention Immediately: It is important that you seek medical attention if you have become sick due to toxic mold exposure. If possible, go to a doctor who is well-versed in mold injuries, such as a pulmonologist, allergist, or a toxicologist.
Toxic Mold Lawyers at Calandro Law
Calandro Law provides legal representation for those dealing with toxic mold in their homes, condominiums, or apartments. For more information, contact us anytime. As an injury law firm specializing in toxic mold issues, we’re fully prepared to assist you. You can trust that our legal team will stand by your side throughout the whole process to ensure you receive the settlement you deserve.
Schedule a free consultation today by calling us at (813) 563-6463 or filling out the form on the right side of the page.