Multiple inquiries have been made recently regarding compensation in tort for exposure to toxic mold. Many people are exposed to toxic mold in their homes without their knowledge. Not all mold is toxic, but unfortunately, individuals cannot know for certain without scientific testing.
What should you do if you find mold in your home? If you own your own home, contact your homeowner’s insurance company. Chances are there is coverage for such exposure. You will then have to have your home inspected. If there is mold throughout the house, your insurance policy, if coverage is available, will cover the expense of inspection, repair, temporary housing, and, if the mold is found to be toxic, any medical screening and treatment. If you rent your home, contact your landlord immediately and follow the same steps as listed above.
One important thing to keep in mind is that if mold is found in your home, whether you own or rent, you must insist on alternative housing. A defense of your insurance provider or landlord is a failure on your part to mitigate your damages once you discovered the existence of the mold. You must do everything you can to reduce your exposure.
If you are told by your insurance adjustor or your landlord that they will not provide you assistance based on a lack of coverage in the insurance policy or the rental agreement, call our office immediately. Most often they are misinterpreting or taking a literal reading of your insurance policy or rental contract and the coverage. For example, your insurance policy or agreement may not actually have a provision for “mold exposure,” but will rather be covered under “water damage.”
Furthermore, if there is nothing providing coverage in the policy or rental agreement, you may have alternative options under the law, such as the Implied Warranty of Habitability. This is Court protection against defects that render a property unsafe or unsanitary, and thus unfit for occupancy.
The medical repercussions of mold exposure can be long-term. Once again, contact our office immediately if you discover you have been exposed to mold.