Mold Lawsuits and Mold Lawyers

Steps to Take Before a Mold Lawsuit

Before contacting mold lawyer and launching into a mold lawsuit, homeowners need contact their insurance company and renters should be sure their landlord’s insurance company company has been notified. as soon as a mold infestation has been discovered.

Your insurance company will dispatch a mold inspector to figure out the source of the damage, if the mold is toxic and what kind of remediation is required. The insurance company should pay for the inspection services. Inspections usually run a minimum of $1500. If you disagree with the inspectors findings you should hire your own inspector for their evaluation of the situation. aren’t happy with the inspection done by the insurance company, you may want to hire your own inspector for a second opinion.

Gavel Icon for Mold LawsuitsUsually a mold lawsuit needs to be filed within a year of when you first became aware of the mold. Look for the “no action” clause in your policy to confirm the timeframe. You also need to be aware of  the “statutes of limitation”  for your state which will also restrict the timeframe in which you can take a legal action after initially discovering the mold.

If your insurance company does not offer a suitable payment to cover mold damage or if they claim mold damage is not covered under your policy you will need to move quickly to contact  a personal injury lawyer or specialist in insurance law.
Property owners  have a legal responsibility to “mitigate your damages”.  This means you must have the mold removed within a reasonable time. This requires repairing the source of the the water damage to stop the continued growth of mold whether it is from a leaking foundation, burst pipes or flooding. Mold abatement may also require ripping out floors and walls to locate and eliminated black mold.

Because molds can be toxic and many people have adverse allergic reactions to it you may need to move out while the mold removal is being done. If you are a renter you may be “constructively evicted” for your own health. If this is the case your landlord should cover the related costs
A number of insurance companies have reacted to the increased number of mold claims and lawsuits by adding “absolute exclusions” for mold in policies and are refusing any coverage for claims involving toxic mold.

Documentation You Will Need

Success in negotiating with an insurance company, or if you need to hire a mold lawyer, file a mold lawsuit and go to court, comes down to how well you can present your case. Stay organized and document every aspect of your ordeal. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Document any expenses the mold contamination has lead to. Keep all related receipts for the inspection, remediation, relocation costs, medical costs and damaged items you needed to replace.
  • From when you first find the mold growth, through the inspection and remediation take photos. Be sure to include photos of the source of water damage, the repair process and include pictures of any household items the mold has contaminated.
  • Medical records and expenses

What Kind of Lawyer Handles Mold Cases

You’ll want to find a lawyer who has had experience negotiating with insurance companies about toxic mold issues but also has a proven record in taking mold cases to court. Personal injury lawyers generally handle mold cases.

 When to file a mold lawsuit

You may have a legal claim of negligence if you or your family has had health problems brought on by toxic mold. You would make your claim against:

  • The contractors who built the property
  • Your landlord and/or property managers
  • The people you purchases the property from if they did not disclose the mold issue if they were aware of it
  • Manufacturers and/or suppliers of building materials that may have caused the problem

Your legal action may let you recover the following expenses:

•    Mold Inspector
•    Remediation
•    Replacing  items ruined by mold
•    Alternative accommodations during mold removal
•    Medical costs
•    Ongoing medical costs brought about by mold exposure
•    Emotional distress

Who are Mold Lawsuits Filed Against?

Mold lawsuits often stem from the actual design of the building where the architect or contractor is sued for negligence because of insufficient air exchange thereby creating an environment conducive to mold growth. Contractors may also be sued for negligence based on allegations that they used damp wood or other cellulose building material and did not allow enough time to dry before  building continued.

Claims can also be brought against individuals or companies that cause water damage leading to mold by breaking pipes, fire extinguishing systems or ice/snow damage.

Mold lawyers may go after condo associations or landlords for not maintaining common spaces where mold can grow like attics or crawl spaces. If condo owners or apartment renters become ill from mold it is the associations or landlords that can be found liable.

Problems with Mold Lawsuits

Mold lawsuits can be difficult from an evidentiary standpoint. It can sometimes be problematic establishing a specific source or single cause of the mold. Sometimes the mold growth can be tied to a specific event that triggers water intrusion, allowing moisture to provide the conditions mold can establish itself.

Frequently mold lawsuits involve multiple parties. A building owner may bring a suit against the genreral contractor and the contractor will involve sub-contractors, the architect and additional parties. When losses due to mold are significant there may be as many as 100 people or “entities” included in the suit.

  • These lawsuits become expensive quickly because there are a number of “experts” needed to testify:
  • structural engineers to testify as to water damage origins and level of water penetration
  • environmental scientists, toxicologists and/or industrial hygienists for determining strain of mold and concentration of spores
  • for medical claims the mold lawyers may need to call on neurologists, pulmonary physicians, environmental medicine experts or ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctors (otolaryngologists)

Damages for remediation of the mold can cost tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Sometimes, remediation is not possible (or is too expensive) and demolition of the structure is necessary.

Damages in mold lawsuits can run into multi-million dollar settlements. Consult with Nolo for additional legal information on Who to Sue for Mold.