The legal system is full of loopholes, especially involving mold legislation. Now, I don’t know why the loopholes exist, but you know what happens with legal loopholes. (Legal loopholes are like a fisherman’s net with weave too big to catch the fish. Responsible parties sometimes get away, and the victims sometimes do not have adequate legal recourse. )
So let us observe how this can happen in the world of mold and mold victims.
SITUATION: San Diego. Employees of a Toyota dealership became sick from mold in the workplace. The dealership and the dealership’s insurers did not acknowledge that mold in the workplace placed employees health at risk.
The hole in the net: Whether or not this mold exposure is covered is apparently a judgment call on the dealer and/or insurer. One wonders if they are presenting medical evidence in the case.
Counteraction: The employees who became sick from mold exposure and were denied health benefits by the dealership and/or the insurer are accusing that the “workers compensation insurer and legal counsel have engaged in
criminal schemes and intimidation of workers to shift the
healthcare costs to DI disability insurance, SSI and other
providers; thereby defrauding the public.”
As an environmental hazards, mold is controversial. It is NOT UNCOMMON for employers, renters, and insurance companies to deny mold claims for an assortment of reasons:
- The particular type of mold did not sicken anyone.
- The connection between the illness and mold exposure can not be proved.
- There is debate even within the scientific and medical community concerning which molds, which situations, pose risk.
- There is difficulty determining how or even if the mold was ingested, inhaled or otherwise exposed to the victim.
- No federal law sets permissible exposure limits or building tolerance standards for mold.
- State Laws vary regarding guidelines and regulation of mold in indoor air.
Please note that school systems do not consider mold law so precious. When children are threatened by mold, school systems act, and they act promptly. Just watch your own local headlines and you will see schools go after mold. No one wants to risk the possibility of endangering the health of children.
But where is the concern for adult employees?
Just as standards were developed for lead, eventually states will develop identification and remediation standards for contractors, owners, and landlords, at which point evasion by insurance companies and employers will become criminal fraud. But we’re not there yet.
But drug companies know mycotoxins affect people. They even use a lot of mycotoxin derivatives when they make certain drugs. Don’t be surprised-you knew this before and forgot. Remember penicillin?
Allergies develop through exposure, so even if you might not be affected now, if you’re around a mold a lot, there’s a rising probability that you’re going to develop an allergy, even if you’re not elderly, a child or immune-compromised. This is just common sense.
So a lot of eyes will be on the Poway Toyota dealership case pressuring the system to hold responsible parties accountable. It’s a step.
Some molds make mycotoxins which make everyone ill. That’s what the word mycotoxin means: toxins made by mold. So by definition mycotoxins make people ill. But they don’t all make all people ill, and it usually takes a lot to do it.
Mycotoxins do not always make people sick. Yes, they are toxins but it takes a tremendous amount of spores to get you sick, UNLESS you have a sensitivity to that species that developed the mycotoxins.
The reason litigation is still at a stand still is there is no dead bang legal proof of causation. You can’t prove that because there is mold showing in the living room you develop a rash. There is evidence that if you have asthma, and you have a high sensitivity to mold or to mold that develops mycotoxins, no matter how tiny the exposure, your asthma can get worst.
That’s why people who sue each other on mold exposure can win on property damage but very difficult or nearly impossible to win on medical because of the causation factor. There are cases out there where some have prevailed but few.
We’ll be watching.