Toxic Mold: Who to Sue?

Many individuals at some point in their lives come into contact with deadly pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, funguses and mold. Most times contact with these pathogens will not result in adverse effects; however there are a select few that will develop severe complications and some will even die.

A growing area of concern for many health experts is toxic mold. This form of mold has the ability to severaly affect a person’s health, leading to financial devastation and even loss of property. If you have come into contact with toxic mold infestation that has caused you medical injuries and loss associated with removing this mold (mold remediation) you can file a legal claim for compensations.

Before filing the lawsuit you will need to establish which companies or parties are responsible for the toxic mold infestation. The counter-party will depend on where the mold is located, whether it is in a building that you rent or own, a community building, or your workplace.

Mold in your Own Building

If you find that your home, condominium, apartment, vacation house, or any other building that you may own is infested with toxic mold, here is a list of possible defendants that would be liable. When filing your lawsuit you can opt to include all the parties that may be partially or wholly responsible for the infestation.

Homeowner’s Insurance

In many instances your first choice should be your homeowner’s insurance policy. You will first need to find out what your policy says in regards to this type of mold infestation, you will need to know if your home owner’s policy covers or excludes it from the coverage.

Builder or Contractor

If your mold infestation is caused through the results of poor construction, the use of inappropriate materials, and failure to install the correct ventilation, then you may also have a legal claim against the general contractor, subcontractors, and builders. This is known as failure to be reasonably careful. Several states now require that contractors guarantee their work as a form of warranty to protect clients in the even that the builder or contractor has breached his or her agreement/warranty.

Covered Perils

Perils as described in your insurance coverage will often include anything from catastrophic events such as fires to minor events such as a leaky roof. If such a peril caused your mold infestation, then you may have a strong case. Another example of this is if your mold infestation is caused through a leaky roof and this peril is listed on your policy. Your insurance company may be under obligation to cover the cost of fixing and eradicating your mold infestation.

Exclusions

Many policies also come with exclusions; this means that the policy does not cover certain maladies. This will usually include damage caused by termites along with mold infestations, which usually develop over a period of time.

When you approach your insurance company you will have an ace in your hands. Your insurer is bound by a strict legal framework that is called the “covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” This means that your insurance company is held to operate in a high standard based on legal and moral conduct.

In layman’s terms, the covenant of good faith should protect you from the insurance company when dealing with your policy. Insurance companies should not be able to try and trick their way out off an agreement, or drags its feet when it comes on to fulfilling its obligation. If they break this covenant then you will have additional grounds in which to take legal action against them.

Engineer or Architect

If the infestation of mold is caused by inadequate engineering or architecture where proper ventilation was not used in the design of the home, you can file a claim against the structural engineer and/or the architect for being negligent. There are several states that now require that engineers and architects guarantee their work as a type of warranty. If you live in one such state then you can file a claim that the architect breached the agreement/warranty

Previous Owner

By the law in many states home owners and building owners who are putting up their places for sale need to disclose to the public any problems in the home or building. If the person who you acquired the place from knew of a mold infestation and did not disclose this, the previous owner is liable to you for breaking disclosure laws.

Construction Supplier

Another way that mold may enter into your home is through construction materials. If you can show that your mold infestation was created by the use of imported construction materials such as dry walls and siding then you can make a claim against the supplier of these commercial materials.

Realtor

Many times the realtor has knowledge that the home they are selling is mold infested. If this can be proven, then they may be liable for selling a mold infested home.

Property Inspector

If you hired the services of a property inspector to have a look at the building/home before making the purchase and they missed or failed to report a mold infestation, they can also be held liable. You will need to take some time and carefully read the property report after it’s completed. Pay special attention to any disclaimers, as well as the opening with regards to the inspection.

Based on the laws in several states, landlord are subjected to a law known as the “implied warranty of habitability,” this law dictates that it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that his rental property is kept free from mold infestations and other health hazards.

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