When you move into a new home, you have the right to expect it to be safe for you and your family to occupy. You may not anticipate that health risks like black mold may be lurking beneath the flooring, behind the walls, or elsewhere in your house.
The presence of toxic mold can put the safety and health of your family in jeopardy. You may be able to recoup lost wages, medical expenses, and other costs associated with toxic mold exposure by pursuing a toxic mold lawsuit.
What is a Toxic Mold Lawsuit?
A toxic mold lawsuit is a civil case that homeowners and renters can file against people and organizations who may have either purposefully or inadvertently concealed their knowledge of toxic mold being present in your home. These cases are most often filed against:
- homeowners' insurance companies
- real estate agents
- management companies
- home inspectors
They allege that the structure has a defect related to its materials, construction, or architectural design. They can also accuse former owners of failing to reveal the presence of toxic mold within the building.
Toxic mold lawsuits can either go to trial or be settled out of court. They are more likely to go to trial and be decided by a judge or jury if they are filed against a homeowners' insurance company. Insurance companies often have the legal resources to pursue a case to its fullest in court.
However, other parties like private landlords, management companies, and contractors typically prefer to settle out of court. Settling a case helps both the plaintiff and defendant avoid trial-related burdens like:
- court costs
- attorney fees
- laboratory testing costs
- expert witness fees
Further, settling out of court allows defendants to avoid bad press and the embarrassment of having to admit wrongdoing. Before you agree to settle your lawsuit, you should consult your lawyer and ensure that this resolution best satisfies your case.
How is a Toxic Mold Lawsuit Settled?
If both parties agree that a settlement would be in their best interests, lawyers for both the defendant and plaintiff can then work out the specific details to bring the case to a full resolution. In most circumstances, settlements are based on previous cases. The amount that you can expect to settle for should be close to the same amount of previous cases that were similar to yours.
However, the legal system does allow for a slight discount in settlement amounts in most cases as well. This slight reduction implies that the smallest amount of doubt could exist when it comes to the defendant acknowledging its guilt or involvement. The reduction also infers that the causation of the black mold is not fully known.
With that, you may wonder how much of a discount you can expect when it comes to the settlement amount that you will be offered. Most lawsuits are settled for around 30 percent less than the amount awarded in similar cases. The reduction depends on the type of lawsuit and the circumstances of your case, however.
The Process of Settling Toxic Mold Lawsuits
If you and the defendant agrees to settle the case, you can expect your legal team to notify the defendant's lawyers that you wish to work out a settlement. Your attorney will send both a demand for settlement letter as well as a settlement brochure to the defendant's attorney. The letter will urge the defendant to settle the case while the brochure will outline your specific claims.
The defendant's attorney will then discuss the terms of the settlement with the defendant's insurance company. Depending on the outcome of that discussion, your attorney and the legal team of the defendant can then compromise on the settlement terms until a resolution is agreed upon by both parties.
The process of settling a case ideally should only take a matter of days if not a week or two to be carried out in full. Once the settlement is reached and agreed upon by both you and the defendant, the case is considered by the legal system to be fully resolved.
Examples of Toxic Mold Lawsuits
As noted, previous toxic mold lawsuits will impact your own case. Some of the examples considered by both the courts and lawyers include:
- Broward County Courthouse, Florida – In 2013, this lawsuit was settled for $166,500. It involved a suit filed by a state prosecutor who claimed that toxic mold in the building caused her to suffer from severe sinus congestion.
- Baxter Health Corp. North Cove Plant, North Carolina – Baxter Health Corp agreed to settle this lawsuit for more than $2 million after an employee proved that black mold could be found in the air filters in a room where sterile products were made. No one was injured or made ill while working in the plant, however.
- Crenshaw Lumber Company, California – This lawsuit tragically centered on the severe brain damage inflicted upon a child. The lumber company did not store lumber properly before it was used in the construction of the child's home. The child's parents filed the lawsuit and won a $13 million settlement.
Filing Your Own Toxic Mold Lawsuit
If you have found toxic mold in your new home and suspect that parties like the real estate, previous owner, or others could be at fault for not notifying you, you may have a legal case to pursue against them. Before you file, you should consult with an attorney who practices real estate, personal injury, or other related areas of law.
By allowing an attorney to help you build your case and advise you throughout the legal process, you may be able to recoup the damages inflicted on your health, family, and your own ability to work and earn an income. You also may recoup money for lost income, medical expenses, and other monetary burdens.
Toxic mold poses a particular danger to your family and your home. You may have the legal basis to pursue a toxic mold lawsuit and win a settlement that is based on cases like yours.