Mold exposure is a complex issue and can result in many different forms of damage. It is critical to work with attorneys with experience in this law area.
It is also essential to have experienced attorneys who can review and challenge a physician’s testing, diagnosis, and treatment plan.
Time is of the Essence
An old proverb suggests “no time like the present.” This phrase underscores the notion that prompt action can prevent a situation from deteriorating. This is particularly true in the context of insurance coverage for mold damage.
Many property owners need help getting their insurers to cover these losses. In addition, insurance companies have made several attempts to dampen these claims by filing policy exclusions with state insurance departments.
Toxic mold can cause serious health problems, including lung and sinus issues, cognitive dysfunction, allergies, depression, anxiety, dermatitis, and even nerve damage. These conditions can be life-threatening, especially for children.
A lawyer with experience in toxic mold exposure claims can help victims seek the compensation they deserve for their medical bills, property damage, and other losses. Toxic mold cases often involve multiple parties. These may include a property owner, the seller of the home or business, a real estate broker, and a professional property inspector.
Insurance Companies Don’t Want to Pay
Homeowners’ insurance typically doesn’t cover mold damage unless it stems from a named peril, such as a burst pipe or a fire. If you can demonstrate that your mold problem was a direct result of a named peril and that you promptly reported it, then you may be able to get a claim approved.
Otherwise, if you haven’t been diligent in performing regular maintenance or upkeep on your home and mold has formed from environmental moisture, it probably won’t be covered. So, it’s essential to maintain a routine maintenance schedule and use a dehumidifier in humid climates.
Some insurers offer a mold-damage rider or endorsement to add to your policy. It generally involves testing indoor surfaces and air quality and developing a remediation plan, including mold removal, containment, and disposal. Talk with your independent insurance agent to determine whether such coverage is available in your policy.
Insurance Companies are Trained to Deny Claims
Insurance companies whose policies cover property damage from mold tend to treat the claims as if they were garden-variety personal injury cases, and their adjusters are trained to settle such matters for far less than the policy owner is entitled to receive. This approach smothers settlement negotiations in bad faith and often leads to denying a claim.
In residential cases, a homeowner may have a claim against the prior owner of a home for failure to disclose mold infestations in violation of state disclosure laws. The builder or contractor constructing a house, apartment, or condominium building may also be liable if the mold was caused by faulty design or materials.
In addition, workers’ compensation benefits may be available if you have developed health problems due to toxic exposure to mold at work. If your symptoms have lasted over three months, you should consider hiring an attorney to pursue a case against your employer.
Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Hire an Attorney
A common sign that there may be a toxic mold problem in your home is unexplained respiratory problems and headaches. Other signs are a musty smell or visible discoloration of the walls and ceiling.
Exposure to certain types of mold, such as black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum), can lead to serious health issues, including organ damage and mental impairment. Some individuals suffer these symptoms for months or years before the problem is diagnosed.
Toxic mold cases require the assistance of medical and construction experts to prove that a person’s injuries were caused by exposure to toxic mold. Liable parties could include:
- Property managers.
- Previous homeowners who failed to disclose a mold problem violated disclosure requirements.
- Builders or contractors who violated building codes or used faulty materials.
In many cases, a claim against multiple liable parties can increase the amount of settlement funds. A successful case also includes documentation of a plaintiff’s injuries and the costs of remediating the mold.