Holding Your Landlord Responsible for Personal Injury Related to Mould Exposure: Five Things You Need to Know
Mould exposure can cause serious illnesses and property damage, and if you have suffered from mould exposure as a tenant, you may be able to hold your landlord financially responsible through a personal injury lawsuit. Here's what you need to know:
1. Understanding landlord liability for personal injury related to mould exposure
Mould spores are attracted to moist or wet areas near showers, on floors, under leaks and in kitchens or other areas. If you breathe in the mould spores, it can cause a myriad of health problems including asthma, respiratory infections and even brain damage.
If you have been exposed to mould in a rental property and it has made you ill, you may be able to hold the landlord liable for your medical bills, lost time at work and other costs incurred related to your illness. In order to claim those monies, you will need to work with a personal injury lawyer to argue your case in front of a court.
2. Making claims for damaged property
In addition to holding your landlord liable for your medical bills and costs related to your illness, you can also hold him or her responsible for any property that was damaged as a result of mould. A personal injury lawyer can help you recoup financial losses related to clothing, toys, furniture or any other property damaged by mould.
However, in order to make a claim for lost property, you must have made reasonable precautions to have protected the property. For example, if you knew there was a leak but continued to store items underneath it, you personally contributed to your items getting mouldy and may not be able to hold the landlord liable.
3. Pursuing compensation for loss of enjoyment or pain and suffering
In addition to helping you get compensated for money spent and lost, a personal injury lawyer can also help you stage a case for non-fiduciary losses. Also called pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment, these losses are intangible.
Did living with mould give you psychological damage? Did it cause PTSD? Did the medical effects of the mould exposure cause permanent and lasting damage that sincerely affected your enjoyment of life?
For example, if mould exposure gave you asthma which caused you to have to quit your job, or if it gave one of your children brain damage, your lawyer could help you try to secure compensation for pain and suffering.
4. Preparing for the counterargument
If you contact a personal injury lawyer to help you stage a case against your landlord for injuries related to mould, your landlord will likely create a defense, and you need to work with your lawyer to create a counterargument for the defense.
Your landlord can argue that he or she didn't know about the mould. Ideally, to counter that argument, you need copies of letters you sent to the landlord about the issue. In some cases, the landlord may argue that you caused the mould yourself. To prove that you didn't cause the damage that led to the mould, you should ideally have photographs of the property when you moved in, showing that the damage was already there.
5. Exploring alternative lawsuits
If you are unable to get compensation from your landlord for personal injuries related to mould, you may be able to hold other people liable. If the home is relatively new and the mould was a result of the builder's negligence or incompetence, you may be able to hold the builder or the construction company liable for your injuries.
Similarly, if the architect designed the home with too little ventilation, which created an atmosphere for mould to flourish, you may be able to hold that person liable for your injuries. Other potential ideas to explore with your lawyer include the suppliers who may have sold builders mouldy materials, property management companies who may have mislead you about mould or inspectors who failed to notice mould on a pre-lease inspection.
For more information, contact experienced personal injury lawyers.