Lafave & Rice

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San Diego Personal Injury & Environmental Trial Lawyers

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What to do if you have a mold or indoor air quality problem and may be getting sick

As experienced San Diego mold attorneys, we have witnessed first-hand the devastating effects mold can have on a structure and the people residing inside of it. If you suspect that you or someone you know has a mold or indoor air quality problem in a home or workplace, consider these steps:

1. Take Photographs

Take pictures of anything that looks like mold, water damage, damage to property and anything that you think may be the cause of the problem.  It is important to document the conditions that may be an issue.  Your photographs could become very important evidence.  Also, don’t assume that the condition will always be there – take the photographs immediately.  Sometimes landlords or other potential defendants will “destroy evidence” or “repair” the problem by “cleaning” or painting over the mold and then the evidence may be gone.

Take the photographs with the best possible camera you can obtain.  Photographs taken by a camera built into a cell phone are usually poor quality.  Take lots of photos and from different angles and distances.  Err on the side of taking more photographs rather than fewer.  Take close-ups ad well as photos from a distance that shows an overall perspective.  Check to make sure you are getting decent shots and THEN SAVE THE PHOTOS TO DISC AND A BACKUP DISC.  Also, don’t neglect to photograph outside conditions including potential causes of moisture intrusion and water damage.  For instance, if you think irrigation is leaking through your wall and causing mold, take photos of the exterior irrigation, ponding, water spraying on the wall or other pertinent conditions.  Videotape can also be useful.

2. Have the Property Tested

Ideally, you want to have a professional do testing to verify the amount and levels of mold in the home.  This could include air testing, tape samples and other forms of sampling.  Consult a qualified testing company, including a microbiologist or industrial hygienist.  The cheapest company is not always the best.  Some companies are not particularly qualified.

3. Complain to the Landlord, Property Manager or Responsible Party and Document Your Communications

If the responsible party will fix the problem, then you don’t need a lawyer or litigation.  Also, under most (not all) legal theories, you are required to provide “notice” to the defendant before they can be held liable.  Keep good records of any communications you have with the landlord or responsible party.  If they ignore you or refuse to fix the problem, they may be liable for your damages.

4. Make An Inventory of Any Damages

Keep a written inventory of any property that is destroyed or other damages you suffer as a result of the problem.  This could include moving expenses, investigative expenses, property damage, hotel bills or anything else you incur as a result of the wrongful conduct of the potential defendant.  If you must discard property, ideally you want to take a photo of it.  Keep track of the value of the property, including any receipts you have.

5. Obtain Medical Advice

If you suspect you may be ill because of indoor conditions including mold, then go see the doctor.  Any medical claim must be supported by expert testimony from a physician.  Ideally, you want to see a physician who has experience with injuries caused by mold exposure and/or poor indoor air quality.  Still, if you are sick, seeing your regular physician is a good start.  Types of physicians that often are involved in the assessment of injuries from mold exposure and poor indoor air quality include: allergists, pulmonologists, toxicologists and environmental specialists.

6. Call An Experienced San Diego Mold Lawyer

The San Diego mold attorneys at LaFave & Rice are experienced specialists who will fight against the wrongdoers who made you ill (and their insurance companies) to make sure you obtain whatever compensation you are entitled to under the law.  If you believe you have been exposed to toxic mold and have serious injuries, contact us so we can determine what legal rights you may have.