Florida Mold Damage Attorney
Exposure to mold can cause permanent physical damage to those exposed to the substance. Typically, growth occurs as a result of water intrusion into a home. The source or intrusion may stem from a general lack of maintenance, a special occurrence or a construction defect.
If you have been exposed to or believe that you may have been exposed to Mold, you may be able to pursue recovery against your landlord or renters’ insurer, if you are a tenant. Otherwise, if you are a homeowner, your homeowners’ policy of insurance may provide coverage for the clean-up.
The most common forms of toxic mold include:
Exposure to mold can cause respiratory issues and systems similar to allergic reactions including headache, red eyes, coughing and even memory loss. If you are a homeowner, it is critical that you take measures to prevent mold growth inside your home and have the issues remediated promptly if they do arise. If you are a tenant, your landlord has an obligation to remedy the issue after you place them on notice of the mold intrusion.
What Are My Damages if I have Mold in Florida?
As with any case or claim, your injuries and damages will very. Nonetheless, the category of recoverable damages is consistent and will generally consist of the following:
- The cost to remediate the mold
- Medical care
- Lost wages
- Replacement cost value of damaged personal property
- Pain and suffering
If you have been exposed to toxic mold in your home or residence give us a call. Exposure can lead to dangerous health consequences if not immediately remediated. Our office will provide you with a free consultation and a plan to move your case or claim forward.
Your Homeowners Insurance
Unfortunately, in the State of Florida, we see many insurance claims for mold coverage that go denied based on an exclusion rooted in the source of the mold, water intrusion. Most insurers who do provide coverage for mold intrusion attempt to deny coverage on the basis that the mold arose from a water-loss which was excluded. The methods of entry for water damage leading to a covered mold claim are very specific. Often, a repeated seepage over time exclusion is used by the insurer to attempt to avoid coverage. Evidence of whether a water intrusion created mold from repeated seepage over time can be very arbitrary, and it has been our experience that many insurers who have denied a claim on this basis quickly move to settle mold and water claims that were previously denied on this basis in litigation.
As with any insurance claim, do not rely on your insurer to conduct an objective and unbiased investigation of the claim. Keep a detailed record of the mold claim including who visited your property and when. Also, take photographs of the mold. Finally, as with any property insurance claim, your insurer may retain an “unbiased” expert to perform a mold investigation. It is critical that you obtain your own independent investigation or at the very least and independent peer review of your insurer’s investigation. If your mold claim has been denied or you need an expert to review the mold investigation conducted by your insurer, our office can help. Don’t let your insurer intimidate you into accepting a denied claim assessment or low-ball offer.
If You Are A Tenant Dealing With Mold In Florida
If you are renting from a landlord and your premises are covered with toxic mold, you have some important rights under Florida law. Your rights are governed in part by the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. For your reference, this is codified in Fla. Stat. 83.40.
Specifically, Fla. Stat. § 83.51 (1)(b) provides that the landlord has a statutory obligation to “maintain the roof, windows, screens, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations and all other structural components in good repair….”
In addition, pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 83.51 (2)(a):
(2)(a) Unless otherwise agreed in writing, in addition to the requirements of subsection (1), the landlord of a dwelling unit other than a single-family home or duplex shall, at all times during the tenancy, make reasonable provisions for:
- The extermination of rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs. When vacation of the premises is required for such extermination, the landlord shall not be liable for damages but shall abate the rent. The tenant shall be required to temporarily vacate the premises for a period of time not to exceed 4 days, on 7 days’ written notice, if necessary, for extermination pursuant to this subparagraph.
- The clean and safe condition of common areas.
Toxic mold is a wood destroying organism and of the type of remedy encompassed in the above referenced statutory provision. Additionally, as a tenant, you have an implied warranty that your premises are free from toxic substances. The common law warranty of habitability provides:
The owner of a residential dwelling unit, who leases it to a tenant for residential purposes, has a duty to reasonably inspect the premises before allowing the tenant to take possession, and to make the repairs necessary to transfer a reasonably safe dwelling unit to the tenant unless defects are waived by the tenant. This duty may be modified by agreement of the parties. After the tenant takes possession, the landlord has a continuing duty to exercise reasonable care to repair dangerous defective conditions upon notice of their existence by the tenant, unless waived by the tenant. Mansur v. Eubanks, 401 So.2d 1328, 1329-1330 (Fla. 1981).
Finally, if you and your landlord have a lease agreement, the failure to remediate mold damage can result in a constructive breach of the agreement since your landlord has violated his duty of good faith in the performance of his obligations.