Suing for Toxic Mold in Your Home: Who Is Liable?

Posted on: 25 August 2015

When you discover that your home has thousands of dollars worth of mold damage needing to be repaired, it can be a rude awakening—especially if you don't have the funds to pay for it. Depending on your living situation, you actually could take someone to court to help cover the costs of the damages.

Also, if you or a family member developed health problems as a result of the infestation, those hospital bills could potentially be covered if you can prove that someone else was responsible for the damage. Here is a list of people and situations that would remove at least part of these expenses from your shoulders. 

Insurance

While your insurance isn't "responsible" for the mold damage, they can still help cover the damage EVEN IF your policy excludes mold. It just depends on what actually caused the infestation in the first place. For example, if water damage is covered by your insurance policy, and the mold came as a direct result of a leaking basement or burst pipe, the repairs required (including mold remediation) could be covered. If you are sure that your insurance company should by handing over at least part of the amount needed, but they are unwilling to do so, contact a personal injury or accident lawyer to pressure them into paying their share.

Realtors & Inspectors

If you bought your house with the help of realtor and had the home inspected before the purchase and became aware of the mold problem shortly afterward, you could look into suing the realtor or the person who inspected the house. If a realtor was trying to make a commission or was pushing your to purchase and if you can prove that they were aware of the mold problem before the house was sold, you will have a case strong enough for court. 

Contractors & Builders

Mold problems often develop because a home is not build, vented, or waterproofed properly. There are building codes in place to protect buyers, but sometimes, especially if your house is renovated after it is built, there can be poor construction that directly causes mold growth. If you purchased your home new and mold develops within a few months or years, you can start building a case by looking at similar homes in your area that were built by the same company or under the same general contractor. If mold is a problem for many, you can take steps to prove that the contractor or building company is responsible for the mold. 

Also, sometimes new homes are built under a warranty. If the mold occurs within warranty and poor construction is the cause, you can sue or retrieve funds from the company as they breached the terms of the warranty. 

Previous Owners

Previous owners are required by law to disclose problems with the house when they are selling it—these sometimes include mold. If you can prove that a homeowner knew about the mold problem and did not tell you, you can sue them for negligence. For example, if you have mold problems in your attic because of poor venting and there is clear evidence left behind that someone tried to fix the problem with a DIY solution (duct tape, bleach, old rags, etc), the homeowners could be responsible for a portion of the remediation cost. This becomes more difficult if the home has had multiple owners, or if the home was rented out, since previous tenants could have done "repairs" without the knowledge of the landlord.

You don't have to bear the brunt of mold costs yourself. Talk to a personal injury lawyer in your area about who might liable to help share the financial burden. 

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