Petrarca and Petrarca Law Offices

Woman looking at black mold in upper corner of room in Providence Rhode Island

What Is Black Mold Exposure? Toxic Mold Lawsuits in Rhode Island

Black mold is everywhere in our world. There are over 2,000 known species of mold that dwell both indoors and outdoors. While some mold species are harmless to humans and helpful to the environment, others aren’t so benign. Exposure to toxic mold can lead to mold allergies or health problems in children and immunocompromised people. 

If exposed to toxic mold by a landlord, property owner, or contractor, you have rights. We’re here to explain everything you need to know about mold exposure and mold lawsuits in Rhode Island. 

Different types of mold 

Mold comes in a full spectrum of colors, including white, pink, yellow, orange, red, green, and even more. There’s one mold color that usually receives the spotlight–black mold. 

Stachybotrys chartarum, more commonly known as black mold, is a type of fungal growth that can be dangerous to humans. Known for its patchy black color and distinctive pungent scent, this species of mold produces airborne mycotoxins, which can lead to health problems. 

How does black mold form and spread? 

As with all molds, the primary cause for black mold is moisture. Think leaky pipes, improper ventilation, humid rooms, clogged gutters, or flooded rooms. Drywall, wood, and fabric are all prime breeding grounds. You can find black mold lurking in all kinds of indoor surfaces, including walls, windows, doors, pipes, air conditioners, toilets, and even beneath floorboards. 

Once mold spores take root, they can grow at lightning speed. Black molds can spread within 24-48 hours and often become a widespread problem before a property owner even realizes that something is wrong.

What are the health risks of black mold?

There’s a lot that’s still unknown about how toxic mold exposure can affect humans. The intensity of health problems is dependent upon a person’s individual health and the amount of time they are exposed to black mold. 

Mycotoxins from mold spores can induce an allergic reaction in healthy people. Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction to mold include: 

  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath, 
  • Congested sinuses
  • Headaches
  • Cognitive issues such as brain fog, confusion, or forgetfulness
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Aches, pains, and muscle cramps 
  • Nerve pain
  • Insomnia, depression, or anxiety 

Those with asthma, chronic illnesses, or anyone else with a compromised immune system may be at a higher risk of suffering negative effects. Almost 93% of people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome tested positive for mycotoxins in their bloodstreams, suggesting that mold exposure might lead to long-term health effects.

Studies also suggest that children may be especially vulnerable to mold exposure. A 2016 study found that high levels of mold exposure were associated with asthma in young children. Elderly people might also be at a greater risk of suffering ill effects, especially if they suffer from an underlying condition like COPD or another respiratory disease. 

Black mold exposure options. What should I do?

First things first, remove yourself from the environment immediately and seek out medical attention. While mold exposure doesn’t always cause negative effects in humans, it’s always better to be on the safe side. From there, you can work on removing the mold from the area. 

The process of removing mold is called “mold remediation”, and is costly when done by a professional. It’s possible to remediate mold by yourself, although you’ll need proper ventilation and respiratory protection to prevent inhaling spores. View EPA guidelines on mold remediation and a list of mold remediation specialists in Providence RI here

Is it possible to sue for black mold exposure?

Yes. If you were exposed to toxic mold in your place of work, apartment, school, or even in your own home and suffered ill effects, you may have a legal case on your hands. Currently, there are no federal regulations for mold, so state regulations and past legal cases are the thresholds here. 

Suing for mold exposure is a relatively new concept, with an increasing number of mold cases undergoing litigation every year. There is precedent for large mold lawsuit settlements related to mold exposure in several states, some with settlements upwards of $1,000,000. It’s likely that Rhode Island will see a surge of mold-related cases in the future as this new type of lawsuit continues to gain traction. You can view some examples of mold lawsuit settlements in other states here

Can I sue for black mold exposure in Rhode Island?

Generally, you’ll need to provide evidence that exposure to mold caused a negative effect in your life, such as an extended hospital stay, or the sudden appearance of a new health condition. Expert testimony is often a key player in convincing a jury that toxic mold was responsible for your health problems.

For example, if you reported a leaky pipe to your landlord and they failed to address it in a timely manner which resulted in toxic mold growth, it could be possible to sue the landlord for negligence. Black mold cases are brought against landlords, but you are allowed to sue business owners or contractors for mold if you’re a homeowner. For instance, if a contractor is responsible for a poor design that allowed water to stagnate indoors, such as improperly placed drainage pipes, it could be possible to sue the contractor for negligence, breach of contract, or breach of warranty. 

Who are the best lawyers for mold lawsuits in Rhode Island?

If you need help filing a lawsuit after toxic mold exposure, call Petrarca Law. With over 40 years of combined legal experience, we know Rhode Island law inside and out, and we can help you stay up-to-date with the latest cases on mold. 

We’ll work with you personally to assess your case and come up with the best battle strategy for legal success. We’ll take care of every aspect of the lawsuit for you, so you can focus on recovering. Contact our office today for a free consultation.