Toxic mold illness is one of those diseases that is almost entirely preventable. When homes and apartment buildings are designed, built, and maintained correctly, toxic mold should never become an issue. When it does appear, it can usually be traced to human error or negligence. Perhaps an architect designed a ventilation system poorly so water collects where it shouldn’t. Or a roof leak occurred in an aging building, and the owner failed to fix it. Or an inspector failed to detect mold in the home before you bought it.
The question is: If you get sick from toxic mold in your home, who gets sued? Who can be held legally responsible for the damages? The answer isn’t always cut-and-dried, so let’s look at a few possibilities.
When You Own the Home or Building
Let’s say you recently bought a home, an apartment/condo, or even a multi-family dwelling. Not long after you took ownership, people started getting sick, and you discovered the culprit was mold. Who might be liable for the damages? It depends on the circumstances and available evidence, but some possibilities may include:
The seller. If the seller failed to disclose the existence of mold, they could be liable.
The building inspector. If the inspector failed to detect the presence of mold, they could be responsible.
The architect. If mold developed due to a faulty structural design (typically if it recurs in the same place), the architect might be liable.
Builder/contractor. If mold occurs due to faulty materials or the contractor failed to follow the blueprint, the builder/contractor may be at fault.
Condo/HOA association. If you buy a condo or co-op in New York City, for example, the condo association or HOA may bear some responsibility if they were negligent in removing the mold or fixing the design flaw.
When You Rent a House or Apartment
Typically, landlords are responsible for taking care of mold problems in buildings they own. If your landlord fails to address a mold issue properly, or if the mold occurs due to prior negligence, the landlord will usually be liable.
Proving Liability in Toxic Mold Cases
While someone is usually to blame for toxic mold, proving liability can sometimes be challenging. For example, if you rent and fail to report toxic mold immediately, it can be more difficult to hold your landlord responsible. When you own the home, as seen above, the responsibility could lie with several different people, and it will require careful investigation to determine who is responsible. That’s why it’s crucial to have skilled legal representation in toxic mold cases—someone who knows how to sort through the evidence and build a compelling case. If you or someone you love is suffering due to toxic mold in your home, we can help you hold the right people accountable and get you the financial help you deserve. Call our offices to learn more.