You feel like you’ve had a cold forever…coughing, wheezing, running nose, irritated eyes and throat. You’ve tried different remedies but nothing works. Finally, your doctor tests you for allergies and you find that the culprit is mold. But your bathroom is spotless! Where is this mold and what can you do about it?
What is Mold?
Molds are various types of fungi that grow in filaments and reproduce by forming spores. These tiny spores are not visible to the naked eye, and are very hardy and can survive under conditions in which mold cannot grow, such as in dry and harsh environments. Spores travel through outdoor and indoor air. When the mold spores land on a surface where moisture is present, mold can then start to grow. Certain mold grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint. Mold can be found in essentially any environment or season.
What are the health problems linked with mold?
In addition to cold-like symptoms, many people have asthma reactions, and some people will even experience neurological symptoms such as headaches, trouble concentrating, shortened attention span, memory loss and dizziness. These symptoms could be a sign that there is toxic mold growing somewhere in your house which is poisoning you.
How do you know if it’s in your house?
Although we typically think of mold on food or in showers or bathtubs, mold can live anywhere that is warm and moist. You may not see it, but if part of your home smells moldy, it’s likely that mold is there and you should have a professional inspection. If you’ve had long-term moisture problems in your home, leaks or flooding, you should test for mold. Other signs of possible problems are surface abnormalities like peeling, bubbling or cracking of the paint or wallpaper. If your walls are bowed, bulging or warped it probably means moisture has gotten into them. And mold isn’t always green or black; different types can be gray-brown, gray-green, white or may even appear orange, pink or purple.
Who is responsible?
If there is a mold problem in your home, you may have legal recourse if there is evidence that it was ignored, concealed or covered up prior to sale or lease. Depending on the circumstances, you may have a claim against:
- The seller who may have neglected to disclose the information
- Landlord or property managers
- Contractors who may have worked on the house
- Developer who built the house
- Suppliers who provided inferior materials
What are the consequences?
In addition to the health hazards for occupants, toxic mold can be costly and invasive to repair, often requiring complete removal and replacement of drywall. Because of disclosure laws, mold also can be an issue should you choose to resell your property and can affect market values.
What can you do about it?
If you suspect that you have toxic mold in your home that is the result of someone else’s negligence, you should seek legal advice immediately. Health problems can escalate causing additional stress and damage, and you want to know your best course of action before beginning any clean up or repairs on your own.
It is important to keep information that is helpful and necessary to document your case. It can be very helpful to write down everything you remember including when you began to have symptoms and when you first noticed evidence of mold. Also keep any correspondence regarding the situation including, emails, medical bills, doctor’s reports, construction estimates, plumber’s reports and invoices, etc. as well as photos and videos of the affected area.
The Palm Springs Law Office of Jeffrey M. Yoss has extensive experience representing victims of mold and construction defects, and handles cases from all of the desert cities, including: Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio, Coachella, Thermal, Desert Hot Springs, Banning, Beaumont, El Centro, Temecula and beyond. Call the Palm Springs Law Office of Jeff M. Yoss at (760)322-6690 for a one-on-one consultation to discuss your case.