Toxic Mold Legal Claims
Health problems can arise from mycotoxins (fungal poisons) that exist in different types of mold. Common toxic black molds like Stachybotrys chartarum and Aspergillus niger grow in moist areas. The health effects of mold growth can be sinus problems, memory loss, and even lung infections in people with weaker immune systems. People with existing health conditions are particularly vulnerable to mold spores. For example, an Aspergillus infection can cause a person to cough blood and suffer fever chills.
If you have been exposed to toxic mold in your home or the workplace, you may be considering a toxic mold claim. A number of different claims are possible in cases of toxic mold exposure. Your specific claim will depend upon:
- The level of mold
- The circumstances of your exposure
- The facts surrounding your injury
This article will give you some basic information about personal injury and property damage claims that may arise as a result of toxic mold exposure.
Toxic Mold Injuries: Who Is Responsible
If you suffer harm as a result of toxic mold exposure, you may sue those responsible. Your toxic mold lawsuit will involve personal injury claims for:
- Your illness
- Property damage
- Mold remediation costs
Liable parties (defendants) may include:
- Contractors and subcontractors (including general contractors, roofers, framers, and siding/stucco contractors)
- Architects and structural engineers (parties who have failed to incorporate mold prevention in design)
- Building material suppliers and manufacturers (including window drywall, ceiling, flooring, and siding manufacturers)
- Previous homeowners or property owners (for failing to disclose known problems)
Your claim against these parties will involve tort law. Torts are an area of the law dealing with wrongful civil actions that cause personal harm to others. The goal of your toxic mold lawsuit will be to recover money (damages) from the defendants.
Toxic Mold Injuries: Possible Damages
Medical bills: You may have a claim for medical testing and treatments. You may have suffered an illness because of a toxic mold problem at your home or place of work. Your claim amount will depend on the severity of your illness and resulting medical expenses.
Clean-up and real estate remediation: Water and mold can cause serious structural damage in a home or commercial building. Legal claims for property damage may include the cost of fixing structural elements such as:
- Walls and windows
- Moldings and ceiling tiles
- Moldy floors
Many times, such structural elements will have to be removed and replaced because they have been weakened. They may be ineffective in keeping out moisture. Cleaning would not do enough to return such structures to a habitable state.
Cleanup costs for infected ventilation systems can also be very high. It is very difficult to inspect a ventilation system without professional assistance. It is possible that the whole system will have to be replaced. Mold remaining in the system can use the system itself as a gateway to all rooms within the structure.
Legal Theories of Liability
Negligence liability: Negligence is the most common theory of recovery in mold cases. Negligence is the legal term for carelessness that leads to injury. It is the failure of a responsible party to work with the degree of care that a person of reasonable prudence would use under the same or similar circumstances. For example, a contractor in a mold case may be negligent because they failed to use reasonable care in sealing the moisture out of a commercial building. That failure was the causation of mold that resulted in:
- Structural damage
- Excessive clean-up costs
Breach of warranty: Many states have statutes requiring builders and architects to warrant their work for a specified period of time. The law may prevent them from using disclaimers (waivers) to shirk responsibility. If your home or commercial building suffers from a mold infestation problem because of faulty workmanship, you may have a warranty claim. You should contact an attorney as soon as you discover mold or water intrusion, as there may be time limitations for your claim.
Failure to disclose: Most states require previous owners to disclose material facts that affect the value or desirability of the property they are selling. This includes the known presence of mold, construction defects, and water damage. If a previous owner knew of a potential mold problem and failed to tell the potential buyer, the buyer's toxic mold case will allege missing disclaimers. In general, a seller must provide disclaimers regarding all known adverse conditions on their property.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
A toxic mold attorney is a specific type of injury attorney with experience in mold litigation. A mold lawyer can fight insurance companies in personal injury cases outside and inside of court. They can provide you with legal advice on your personal injury case.
You should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you discover a mold or water intrusion. States have filing deadlines known as statutes of limitations, after which you will be barred from filing your complaint.
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