Mold and Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits

The quality of the air you breathe is very important to your health. Especially with the issues our country is dealing with in regard to the corona virus/ Covid 19 epidemic.  However, there are many opportunities for pollutants to enter that air. Inside the home, mold growth can impact your air quality and cause health issues. Most of the time, a person or professional removal company can clean the infestation and remove contaminated construction. However, multi-family residences and commercial buildings present problems that may not be under an individual’s control. That is why there are Florida personal injury lawsuits regarding mold. 

What is Mold? 

Mold is a type of fungus that lives practically anywhere, indoors and outdoors. It is made out of hair-like little filaments that make it often have a fuzzy appearance. Each hairlike cluster of mold is called mycelium, and scientists consider the entire cluster one organism. If allowed to remain on a surface, it will cause the degradation of natural and some man made materials. This is why its presence is equatable to food spoilage and why it can cause harm to physical structures.  

Where Does It Grow? 

Mold will grow anywhere where there is air stagnation, moisture, warmth, and a food source. This makes many structures havens for an infestation. Improperly vented attics and crawl spaces, basements, and underneath cabinets housing leaky plumbing are common sources. Window sills and hoods or other ventilation systems are also common culprits. Once it enters an air system, whether it is heating, cooling, or both, it can spread to the rest of the building. 

Is An Infestation Harmful to Humans? 

The challenge with stating that mold is harmful to humans is that there isn’t concrete proof the actual mold causes the health challenge. However, the courts generally agree that something about mold can definitely harm humans. 

Mold is associated with multiple negative health consequences such as respiratory issues, allergic symptoms, and the exacerbation of pre-existing conditions. Some people are more sensitive to it than others. Immuno-compromised people can suffer serious injury and death from mold exposure. 

Seattle Children’s Hospital has been in the news multiple times for patient exposures. Multiple children have died due to mold in the air vents at the hospital. The University of Maryland also had a deadly infestation. The mold infestation was coupled with an adenovirus outbreak, and the combination proved deadly for some. 

Toxic Black Mold

People commonly refer to dangerous mold as “toxic black mold.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is called Stachybotrys chartarum. They admit there is no test to confirm that black mold has been responsible for certain deaths, but there appears to be a correlation. In response to the ambiguous connection between mold and health problems, the CDC recommends getting rid of any mold infestations. 

What Do You Do If You Have An Infestation? 

There are many ways to detect an infestation. If you can see it growing, you have a problem. You may also notice it by the way it smells (damp and earthy) or respiratory issues. If your issue is fairly contained, you can take care of it yourself. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends  you hire a professional for mold removal services if it is spread to an area over 10 square feet. 

Whether you are removing and cleaning your infestation personally or professionally, it is important to do it safely. The removal process stirs up mold spores, which means they can be carried through duct work to different areas of the home. It is important to properly seal a space before attempting removal. It is also important that people cleaning infestations wear proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This is why it is important to hire a professional if the mold infestation is large, or if you don’t know how to properly remove it. 

Mold removal can be a destructive process. You or a professional will have to remove wood, sheetrock, and carpeting in order to ensure that no mold remains. It is often an easy cleaning task, but it can grow into an extensive and expensive process. 

Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits 

Of course, the most important thing about these  infestations is that it can cause harm to humans. This is especially frustrating when a person is unable to take care of the problem on his or her own. These are cases when mold infiltrates dorms, apartment buildings, hospitals, and other buildings. In this case, it is the responsibility of the property owner or possibly building manager to remedy the problems and protect the people who are inside. If a building’s mold problem harms a person, they may have cause for a personal injury lawsuit. 

Over the past few decades, there have been a few very large lawsuits regarding mold. In 1996, the courts awarded plaintiffs $14 million from a construction company whose faulty construction caused the infestation. In 2003, the courts gave the residents of an apartment complex $25 million due to mold infestations. 

Florida also requires landlords to provide habitable living spaces. People can sue their landlords if they don’t take care of these issues. As with all cases, you must prove that the person you are filing against was responsible to take care of the it, the infestation caused you harm, and there was actual harm. The most difficult thing to prove is that it caused your personal injury. As stated previously, there is not concrete proof that mold causes health issues. The courts can only use their judgement to determine whether or not it was the probable cause of the injury. 

National Lawsuits 

Unfortunately, mold is a problem across the nation, and an infestation inside a living or working space is a common problem. Seattle Children’s Hospital is understandably facing lawsuits. Mercedes-Benz is losing a lawsuit about an infestation in one of their model’s air conditioning units. However, a Mississippi court denied a judgement against a military base because there wasn’t enough proof that the plaintiffs’ injuries were a direct result of mold. 

Across the nation, it is the responsibility of building owners, landlords, and managers to keep people safe from mold. If they don’t, they may be faced with a lawsuit. The challenge is making sure that there’s enough proof that it was mold that caused the personal injury. 

Talk To A Lawyer If Mold Has Harmed You

The most important thing to do if you’ve been harmed by an infestation is to talk to a lawyer who can give you advice about your potential lawsuit. A lawyer who is experienced in these types of lawsuits will understand what type of proof is needed to win a suit. He or she will also be able to explain the process, help you to identify all damages, and come up with a proper amount to ask for. Personal injury lawsuits are meant to monetarily compensate a person for all damages. This could involve non-monetary losses like pain and suffering. It can also include monetary losses such as medical bills, loss of wages, and property loss. You want to have professional help to identify and sue for these damages. 

If you’d like to speak directly to a lawyer about a potential lawsuit, contact Kirshner, Groff, and Diaz. You’ll get a no-obligation consultation about your lawsuit, and you’ll speak to an actual lawyer. Mold is a serious problem with serious consequences, but these types of lawsuits are complicated.

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