Toxic Mold and Your Business Liability

by Rebbeca Binder on October 27, 2013

(U.S. Personal Injury Law and generally) Owning a commercial business or managing a property can be hard work, but many individuals gladly accept this burden due to the benefits that come along with it. Unfortunately for these people, the benefits also come with great responsibilities. One issue that business owners, property managers and even landlords are confronting these days is that of toxic mold. This mold may cause serious health issues in those who work in or own a business, and if the problem isn’t handled correctly, serious legal implications could follow.

Legal Implications

While the health effects of toxic mold were traditionally a contentious issue, that didn’t stop over 9,000 U. S. lawsuits from being filed related to the issue when it was first coming to light between the years of 1992 and 2002. Individuals who suffer certain health issues in the presence of toxic mold can easily bring forward a personal injury lawsuit, and this can prove damaging for landlords and commercial professionals.

It can be difficult to prove a direct causal effect between mold and health issues, but even with this being the case, some juries have awarded tens of millions of dollars to both employees, renters and commercial building tenants due to toxic mold. Because of the huge legal and financial implications of this problem, it’s imperative for a person to know how to efficiently handle the issue. Stachybotrys mold (aka black mold) has been found to cause symptoms to manifest from “chronic fatigue or headaches, fever, irritation to various areas including the eyes, mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and throat, as well as other symptoms such as sneezing, rashes, and chronic coughing. The controversy began in the early 1990s after analysis of two infantile deaths and multiple cases in children from the poor areas of Cleveland, Ohio due to pulmonary hemorrhage.”

Cause and Prevention

Of course, the best way to properly handle toxic mold is to prevent it from ever developing on a property. This can be done by keeping a keen eye out for wet spots or condensation on the property and fixing any leaks that develop on a building’s exterior or within its plumbing system. In addition, HVAC systems should be routinely inspected. When building properties, it’s also important to provide proper drainage to prevent any potential water buildup.

Unfortunately, moisture can still make its way into a commercial or other type of structure. If carpets become wet during any disastrous event, such as a flood or burst pipe, it’s imperative to get rid of that carpet to minimize the chances that mold will develop. Unfortunately, all of the preventative measures in the world aren’t guaranteed to stop mold formation, and in these instances, properly ridding the property of the nuisance is imperative.

React Quickly or Pay the Consequences

When mold is discovered within a facility, it’s imperative to pinpoint the cause of the issue. Mold most often develops due to roof leaks, condensation from HVAC systems, improper building maintenance, flooding, leaky pipes and even humid conditions. There are ways to solve each of these problems, including using humidifiers and increased ventilation for temperature issues, but it will also become necessary to hire a mold testing and remediation company. Luckily, these companies are guided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, so they can usually quickly handle the problem and help a property manager avoid litigation. Using industry professionals can minimize the likelihood that black mold will spread, as well as remediating any that has already developed.

Toxic mold has become a hugely litigious area of the law, and this reality isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. Many times a property being sold will be found to have black mold in the structure, which can cause the value to spiral downward. Sometimes a fast cash sale, using a renovator/liquidator such as can reduce your chances of facing serious legal implications and heavy financial loss.

Rebbeca Binder

Rebbeca Binder

Rebecca Binder is a stay-at-home mom to two daughters. She has been a freelance writer for five years and enjoys writing on topics relating to law and consumer information. Aside from her writing and family, her hobbies include playing piano and fitness.
Rebbeca Binder

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