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Case against the council - mould caused illness

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CiderMonkey | 19:54 Wed 08th Sep 2010 | Law
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I have a friend who was extremely ill in hospital, has now mainly recovered, but has been told the condition could have been caused by mould. He used to live in council property that had a bad mould problem and now wants to bring a case against the council.
He has paperwork to support this but now wants to know the next step to take. Does he need to contact the council or get a solicitor to do it?

thanks

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Any claim against the council would be assessed by the courts on the 'balance of probabilities'. If he (and his legal team) can only show that his medical problems COULD have been caused by mould he won't get a penny (and he'll probably be left with a multi-thousand pound bill for legal costs). Similarly showing that it's QUITE likely that the mould caused his problems would be insufficient. He would need to show that, based upon the balance of probabilities, the MOST likely cause of his hospitalisation was contact with mould (and also that, based upon the balance of probabilities, it was the mould in his home - rather than elsewhere - that was responsible).

Further, he'd also need to show that the council had been NEGLIGENT in dealing with (or failing to deal with) the mould problem. If the council stated that he'd never told them about the mould (and he'd got no copies of letters to prove that he had done so) the court might rule that it was unreasonable to expect a council to fix a problem which it had not even been made aware of.

Your friend will definitely need legal representation if he's thinking of taking action against the council. However, before he even contacts a solicitor (which will start clocking the bills up) he should try to find out whether anyone (such as his hospital consultant) would be prepared to stand up in court and state that exposure to mould was the MOST likely cause of his problems, rather than just a POSSIBLE cause. Without such a favourable expert opinion he'll be wasting both his time and his money if he proceeds any further.

Chris
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Many thanks for your swift and very helpful answer!
What was the mould caused by?

I used to have a flat that I rented out. When the tenants moved they complained (a lot) about mould.

It turns out they didn't bother to do anything about it and it was caused by their lifestyle. They kept all the windows closed, hung wet washing all over the effected room and didn't bother to clean it off so it just grew and grew.

Chris is right(as usual) about the legal side of things but you should also make sure you have done your bit to alieviate the problem either by changing something that exasperates the situation or by telling the relevant authority.
If your friend wants to have a chat to a lawyer before deciding whether to take this further, my colleague will be able to help - his name is Jonathan Wearing on 0113 284 5121 but if he isn't available, anyone in the personal injury department should be able to assist. In any event, I hope your friend is now on the mend.

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