For those who live in Virginia, mold is no uncommon sight. With high levels of humidity, the climate supports mold growth and proliferation. And while small amounts of mold–like the few mold spores that accumulate on the shower curtain–probably won’t cause any harm, mold exposure may lead to adverse health consequences, especially if the mold is toxic black mold.
If you have been exposed to mold and have suffered harm as an effect, or if you have a mold infestation in your home that needs to be treated and you have questions about liability, our law firm can help. Please reach out to our Virginia lawyers directly for everything you need to know about mold cases.
Is Mold Dangerous?
Mold is very common in homes and buildings. In fact, even if you can’t see it, it’s likely that your home has mold in it. Especially in areas of high moisture, such as the bathroom, mold growth is probable. While a little bit of mold here and there probably won’t cause you any harm, large mold growths–which can usually be seen or smelled (but not always!)–could be more worrisome.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mold exposure can have a variety of health impacts or none at all. Some people may be sensitive to mold or have a mold allergy, typically characterized by sneezing, wheezing, red or itchy eyes, a runny nose, etc. Those who are exposed to large quantities of mold, such as farmers who work around moldy hay, could have more severe reactions, including shortness of breath and even a fever.
Large amounts of mold can be more serious. In fact, mold has been linked to upper respiratory tract symptoms, such as wheezing, in otherwise healthy people. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also identified a potential link between mold exposure and the development of asthma in children.
Black mold, scientifically known as Stachybotrys chartarum and often referred to as “toxic mold,” could be dangerous. While there is not a proven link between the mold and specific health outcomes, there are some reports of adverse health events after exposure to this mold type.
Who’s Responsible for a Mold Infestation?
If you have a mold infestation in your home, you surely want it remedied. Not only may you and your family be at risk of adverse health events as a result of mold exposure, but mold can also lead to structural damages. Here’s a list of against whom you may be able to file a claim for mold depending on where the mold is located and your relationship to the property–
Mold in your home that you own
If there is mold in your own home, it can be difficult–but not impossible–to hold another party liable for the mold and to recover damages to have the problem remedied.
Typically, the first avenue to consider to recover monetary compensation for mold damage is your own homeowners’ insurance policy. However, not all policies cover mold damage and, if your policy does cover mold damage, it may only be in certain situations. It’s recommended that you hire an attorney who can review your policy and provide you with an overview of your options.
Depending on the cause of mold in your home, it may be possible to bring a claim against another party whose actions caused the mold. For example, if the mold growth was the result of poor construction, inadequate or defective materials, poor architecture or engineering, etc. and you can prove it, then you may be able to file a claim against a contractor, engineer, material manufacturer, etc.
In some cases, you may also have a claim against the prior owner of the home if the seller knew of mold and failed to disclose it, in violation of their disclosure requirements. If the seller knew or should have known, they could be held liable for the cost of mold remediation. Their realtor could also be held responsible if they knew of the mold. A home inspector who failed to identify or report the mold could also be held liable.
Mold in a home or building that you do not own
If there is mold in a home or building that you do not own–i.e., if you are a tenant who is renting your home from a landlord–then the landlord of that building/home has a duty to ensure that the home is livable and free from any health hazards. You should immediately report the mold to the landlord and request repairs; if the landlord refuses or is slow to respond, you should hire an attorney who can advise you on what steps to take and how to hold your landlord responsible.
Mold at work
In some cases, mold exposure may occur on the job. When this is the case and you suffer harm as a result, workers’ compensation benefits will likely apply. In some cases, a party other than your employer may be responsible for the mold, such as the property owner where the exposure occurred. When this is the case, you maintain the right to bring forth a third-party liability suit. Note, however, that you cannot sue your employer if you are covered under workers’ compensation insurance.
How Our Mold Cases Attorneys Can Help
Mold in the home can seem insignificant and, often, it is. However, large amounts of mold or toxic mold could lead to adverse health effects and structural damage within the home, both of which can be costly. If you are being exposed to mold, you have legal rights and you may be able to bring forth a claim for damages against the responsible party.
Our mold cases attorneys at the Law Office of Steven D. Barnette, P.C. can help. We will investigate your case, bring in experts who can assess the cause of the mold growth and its likely impacts, identify the liable party, bring forth a claim, negotiate your settlement, and more. Our goal is to make sure you get the compensation award that you deserve.
To learn more about what to do if there is mold where you live or work, please call our Virginia mold attorneys directly today for a free consultation. We are here to help you!