Toxic mold can cause serious health complications and aggravate existing health conditions. Toxic mold may also cause property damage which requires extensive resources in order to remove the mold and ensure that the building is safe for residence. Depending on the location in which the patient was exposed to the toxic mold, patients may be entitled to compensation for expenses associated with toxic mold damage and illness. Since toxic mold litigation is still relatively new, it is important that patients consult experienced toxic mold attorneys.
Toxic Mold in Homes
If toxic mold is found in a home owned by the patient, homeowner’s insurance is generally responsible for covering damages. Homeowners must carefully evaluate the details of the homeowner’s insurance policy to make sure that the mold damage will be covered. Mold develops as a result of water damage and the water damage must be caused by a “peril” which is covered within the policy. Unfortunately, many homeowner’s insurance policies list mold infestations as an exclusion from covered perils. Fortunately, other parties besides the homeowner’s insurance company may also be liable for toxic mold that is found in a home.
Home Construction Liability
If toxic mold is the result of a design defect, the architect or firm that designed the home may be fully or partially liable for the development of toxic mold. If the construction of the home was the cause for the toxic mold growth, the builders, contractors, or construction company may be accountable for covering costs associated with the mold. If the materials used to build the home were contaminated, the supplier of the wood, drywall, or siding may be legally responsible for damages associated with the mold.
Home Sale Liability
Sellers are generally required by law to disclose any known issues such as mold infestation to home buyers. If the seller of a home knowingly sold the home with a mold infestation, the seller may be liable for covering expenses stemming from the mold damage. If a realtor helped a seller to hide the presence of toxic mold from a home buyer, the realtor will also be held liable. Home inspectors that miss mold contamination during a home inspection may also be liable. However, some inspection companies may include disclaimers in the inspection agreement that exempt the company from liability. Homeowners must pay close attention to the language used in a contract before attempting to recover compensation for mold damage from a home inspection company.
Toxic Mold in Rentals in Florida
If toxic mold is found in a rental home, apartment, or condominium, the landlord or condominium association may be responsible for repairing damage. The landlord or association may also be held liable for covering medical costs stemming from the patient’s exposure to the toxic mold. In addition, the landlord or association may be responsible for covering all or a portion of temporary residency fees while the apartment, condo, or home is being repaired.
Filing Toxic Mold Claims in Florida
Toxic mold lawsuits may touch on a variety of different legal areas. Toxic mold attorneys should have experience with personal injury law, toxic torts law, housing law, and contract and construction defects law in order to successfully pursue legal action against parties responsible for a toxic mold infestation within a residence. Toxic mold attorneys may need to utilize different aspects of these laws during a toxic mold exposure lawsuit, as these lawsuits may become increasingly complex.
It will be necessary to submit evidence presenting the extend of toxic mold damage when filing a legal claim. Home residents can take pictures of damaged walls, ceilings, or floors to show the mold damage and any repairs that are made to rid the home of the mold. Medical records such as lung x-rays, bills, and diagnoses may help to prove the medical effects of the mold exposure. Qualified experts may also be called on to provide testimony of the effects of mold exposure on the patient. Any bills for home inspections, mold experts, or repair crews may also serve as evidence and help to calculate costs associated with the mold exposure.
“Facts about Stachybotrys Chartarum and Other Molds.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Sept. 2012. Web. 25 Sept. 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm>
Lillard, Susan. “Mold… What Is It All About?” Mold-Help.org. Mold-Help.org, 28 Jan. 2013. Web. 25 Sept. 2014. <http://www.mold-help.org/>
“Mold Resources.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 19 Nov. 2012. Web. 25 Sept. 2014. <http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldresources.html>