Get Legal Help With a Toxic Mold Case
Lawsuits involving environmental contaminants, such as lead paint and asbestos, are fairly common. But a new contaminant has become an increasingly common subject of litigation: mold. There's significant debate in the scientific community about whether "toxic mold" is actually toxic. It's also unclear whether mold-related illnesses exist.
Different types of mold can produce varying effects. One type of mold, Aspergillus, exists in soil and can produce toxic substances (known as mycotoxins) which irritate the lungs. Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as black mold spore), is common in buildings with water damage. It can be present in damp basements, especially those with drywall building materials. Mold can also grow inside air conditioning ducts due to moisture build-up, which can cause property damage.
The Centers for Disease Control acknowledges that toxic mold exposure can produce health effects such as:
- Stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing, and wheezing
- Burning eyes and skin rash
- Worsened asthma
- Lung infections in people with weaker immune systems
Given that toxic mold injuries are common, juries have awarded multimillion-dollar verdicts to tenants. Landlords and insurance companies who fail to take measures to prevent mold infestation can become liable.
Toxic mold lawsuits can involve experts who give testimony about:
- Circumstances surrounding mold growth
- Efforts relating to mold remediation, such as proper ventilation
- Health issues arising from toxic mold claims
In court, each side's experts, such as doctors and scientists, will present competing arguments. They might even argue over whether toxic mold really exists. A toxic mold lawyer with experience in mold injury cases can be critical to the success of either side.
Landlord Defenses to Liability
There are no federal laws and few state laws that specifically mention mold. Some states, like California and Texas, require mold remediation and disclaimers. It is generally illegal for landlords to rent a property that is unfit to live in, or "uninhabitable." Mold that causes health problems for tenants arguably makes a living space uninhabitable.
The conditions that produce mold, such as leaky pipes, may even be cause for complaint. One obvious way that landlords can protect themselves is to have the property inspected, treated, and repaired regularly.
If mold is left untreated, landlords may be liable for personal injury claims such as negligence and wrongful death. In other words, an owner's carelessness can cause personal injuries, and even fatalities, in building occupants.
Landlords can also use their lease agreement to make tenants at least partially responsible for preventing mold problems. For example, leases can hold tenants responsible for notifying landlords of mold before personal harm or property damage occurs. Tenants may be required to report any mold or mold-producing conditions when they arise. They may also be required to make a rented property available for periodic inspection and treatment. A lease may waive liability for the landlord where the tenant fails to inform the landlord, or where the tenant created the mold-producing conditions.
An experienced personal injury attorney can be helpful in crafting a strong lease. They can provide legal help to ensure that the landlord and tenant cooperate in preventing mold and mold conditions from arising. In the event of a lawsuit, evidence of a strong lease will help the landlord defend their case. A good landlord will also be able to establish that their efforts to locate and remove mold were thorough.
Tenant Causes of Action (Claims)
Tenants who become ill as a result of the presence of toxic mold may be able to sue their:
- Contractors or subcontractors
- Architects, material suppliers, and manufacturers
- The previous homeowner
Legal action can be taken for monetary damages to cover expenses related to the mold, such as medical expenses. Other than medical bills, tenants can also recover:
- Rents improperly collected while a dwelling was uninhabitable due to mold
- Damages for pain and suffering resulting from mold exposure
- Lost earnings as a result of missing work
- Costs incurred to remove mold
Tenants may sue for negligence where a party created the conditions for mold, or failed to remove mold. They may also sue for the failure to clean up a previous contamination properly. Or they may sue for the introduction of contaminated materials to a previously mold-free space. In addition, previous owners may be liable for failure to disclose the presence of mold.
Find an Attorney
A personal injury lawyer with a toxic mold practice area can help you devise a strategy to recover for these issues. In a case evaluation, they can assist in determining the claims that are most likely to succeed in your state. They can also help identify defendants and retain expert witnesses that can help prove the connection between your medical issues and the presence of mold.
An experienced toxic mold attorney can be helpful regardless of whether you are the plaintiff or defendant. Toxic mold cases often involve complicated arguments about both science and legal issues. They also typically involve multiple claims. This makes them difficult to pursue or defend against. A law office experienced in mold litigation can help you and your loved ones tell your side of the story and obtain relief.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to make sure your rights are protected.