Premises Liability for Mold Causing Personal Injury and Illness
Toxic Mold and a Property Owner’s Duty of Care to Prevent Injuries and Illnesses
Mold is usually harmless and can typically be cleaned up with over-the-counter cleaning supplies. However, there is a type of black mold that is toxic, which can make people very sick. If you are living or working in a building that contains black mold, you should notify your landlord or the owner of the property to have it removed as soon as possible. If they choose not to resolve the situation, then you may be entitled to file a premises liability claim.
Below, our experienced premises liability attorneys will discuss the health risks of black mold and how it relates to premises liability claims. If you have suffered injuries as a result of toxic mold in places such as your home or the workplace, our expert legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers are always here to answer any questions you may have about this type of claim and available damages.
The Health Risks of Black Mold
Mold generally exists in damp places. A tenant is, for example, responsible for removing any mold growing in the bathroom from daily shower usage. This type of common mold rarely causes any health problems and is safe to remove.
Black mold, known as stachybotrys chartarum, releases unhealthy toxins into the air. This type of mold can cause infections and breathing difficulties, especially for those with asthma or a weakened immune system.
Symptoms of black mold poisoning include:
- Upper respiratory problems
- Asthmatic symptoms
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
If you see black mold in your home, do not attempt to clean it up on your own. You may unintentionally release toxic spores into the air. It is always best to hire a professional.
Toxic Mold and a Property Owner’s Duty of Care
All property owners have a duty of care to reasonably maintain their premises. A duty of care for a property owner essentially encompasses any actions that a reasonable property owner should take or should have taken in similar circumstances.
As far as the law is concerned, all landlords, homeowners, and property managers must take care of serious mold buildup before it can negatively affect people’s health. If that doesn’t happen, an aggrieved individual is entitled to compensation for their losses.
If you notice that there is black mold in your apartment or home, you should contact your landlord before anything else. As mentioned, most forms of mold are not dangerous, and it’s a good idea to have it tested before assuming the worst. Ideally, your landlord will do the right thing and hire a company to test the mold. If the mold tests positive for toxicity, your landlord should hire a professional to remove it.
What if your landlord doesn’t take you seriously? You may have to hire someone to test it yourself. However, the money you spend to test and eliminate toxic black mold will either be returned to you or added to the damages you may be entitled to recover should your claim go to court.
However, there is one caveat. The mold must have been caused by a landlord’s failure to adequately monitor the property for any issues. If the tenant caused the mold due to lack of proper housekeeping, then they would be responsible for the buildup, not the landlord. For example, if a tenant leaves all the windows open during a stormy weather, they would be responsible for that mold buildup, not the landlord.
Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate for an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.
A few examples of economic losses include:
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:
- Emotional Distress
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.
Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.
Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers to Find Out How We can Help
If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a premises liability accident, our team of expert attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation.