Your Home has Mold – Now What?


What to do when something doesn’t smell right.

Imagine that you have just moved into a spacious, high rise apartment that is not only walking distance from your job, but provides a gorgeous view of an Arizona sunrise. As you wake up to your first morning in your new apartment, you are not only greeted by the gorgeous sunrise that was advertised to you, but a hefty, earthy stench that was not advertised to you. After a lengthy investigation, you discover the stench is originating from mold near the bathroom vent. The potent stench aside, mold can pose some serious health risks for yourself and those you choose to invite over. While it was relatively easy for our hypothetical tenant to find the mold in his or her hypothetical apartment, it might not be so obvious in the real world. It is important to know to look for mold before you can raise any warning flags. If it turns out you have mold, fear not; you do have possible remediesyou can turn to should you ever have the misfortune of coming across it in your apartment.

Thee first step towards dealing with a mold problem is confirming that you have one. This newspaper site provides some simple and helpful tips towards uncovering a smelly situation. One of the first things the article says to look for is some sort of discoloration in the structure of your apartment; such structures include, but are not limited to, drywall, plywood and flooring. As stated in the hypothetical story above, if you get a whiff of an earthy, musty scent, chances are you have some mold in your apartment. Besides the smell of mold, there are physical reactions you could experience that could tip you off to the presence of mold. Such physical reactions could be headaches, a tightening of your nose, or a form of irritation when you are in the presence of mold. While toxic molds require immediate action, other molds can cause some of the symptoms covered above.

So if you find mold, you would likely ask yourself what to do next? You’re not alone if you don’t know the answer to that.  Less than one percent of 40,000 parties of eviction proceedings in one city realized there were remedies available to them when an apartment was not up to habitability standards. Many states, like Arizona, have laws that layout what a landlord’s responsibility is for keeping residences livable and the remedies available to tenants when that responsibility is not met. Arizona law requires landlords to have rental properties in compliance with applicable building codes to meet an “implied warranty of habitability.”  This warranty provides that a rental home or apartment must be a safe and livable one. If you feel that the landlord is not complying with this warranty, you can deliver a written notice that states that he or she has 5 days, within receipt of the notice, to remedy the health or safety hazard, or the landlord will be in breach of the lease. You, the tenant, also have the option of recovering damages or requiring the landlord to take action due to the breach.

While the discovery of mold in an apartment is never the most pleasant experience, it need not be a catastrophic one for you either. Just remember this check list and carefully take the next steps should you ever find yourself in an unfortunate situation like this. If you suspect that your apartment or rental home is not meeting the implied warranty of habitability, feel free to reach out to the Law Offices of Michael Cordova to see what we can do to help.

Did You Help Cause the Car Accident?



Imagine you are on the driving on the freeway during afternoon rush hour traffic.  While you are checking out email on your smartphone, someone cuts in front of you, without signaling, causing you to crash into the rear of their car.  At first glance you would think this is a clear case of fault; the other person failed to use a signal. The other driver could claim you were contributorily negligent because you were gawking at your smartphone while driving. What is contributory negligence when in a car accident? It’s behavior that increases the risk of harm to yourself or others.  This can be potentially damaging to a personal injury claim you have against the other party, even if they are clearly in the wrong.  There are some things you can do while driving that can decrease the chances of an opposing party using contributory negligence against you if you find yourself in a personal injury suit.

One way you could find yourself contributorily negligent in a car accident is if you have a penchant for exceeding the speed limit by a significant amount.  There are a number of things you can do that can help you ease off the gas while on the road.  One way you can reduce the need for speed is by giving yourself extra time to get to your destination; doing so will allow you to compensate for unforeseen events like traffic jams and unexpected road closures that could cause you to take a path which is longer than the one you planned out.  Being patient is easier said than done, but finding a way to temper impatience could help shield you from sharing the blame in an accident.  Relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and playing more easy going music have been known to help drivers exercise more patience than not.

If you have been on the road for a prolonged period of time, fatigue can cause costly mental errors you would never imagine doing when fully energized.  If you anticipate having to take a long road trip, try taking pre and mid-drive naps.  It goes without saying there are benefits to getting a good night’s sleep, but when that it isn’t possible, taking a short nap before taking off should increase your road awareness.  Taking advantage of rest stops along the way should help; take a 20 minute, mid-trip nap to help you make it the rest of the way without dozing off.  It never hurts to travel with someone either; having a travel buddy to tag along with you can allow you to make the long drive in shifts, so that both of you get an equal chance to stay rested.  If all else fails, try coffee.  The good news about coffee: the caffeine will enhance your alertness for a few hours.  The bad news about coffee: the caffeine wears off after a few hours.

As much as we think we can multi-task on the road, we really can’t.  Although reducing distractions while driving can appear to be a daunting task, it can be done with a few helpful tips.  Establish a rule for yourself to only answer your phone if you suspect it’s an emergency.  If you’re a person that just has to pick up your phone when it rings, try putting on silent while you’re driving.   If your car is set up for Bluetooth, sync your smart phone to your car’s Bluetooth system.  However, if you have a new car, fiddling with the radio or other buttons on your dashboard can take your eyes off the road for a longer period of time than you think.  Before you take off for a trip of any length, take some time to get familiar with layout of your car’s dashboard so button pressing becomes more instinctual while you drive.  Limiting the use of your rearview mirror to keep an eye out for traffic and not for grooming or getting dressed will go a long ways towards keeping you focused on the road.

Hopefully these tips will not only protect you from potential liability in an automotive accident, they will go a long way towards making the roads a little bit safer for everyone.
If you are ever in an automotive accident and you suspect the other driver’s negligence caused it, please reach out the Law Offices of Michael Cordova for a free consultation.


Ride Safe & Free on Your Motorcycle

​The motorcycle is easily one of the most admired and romanticized vehicles in our country.  While they typically represent freedom on the open road, they also present a higher risk of danger to its operator.  From 2003 to 2012, there was a 6% spike in motorcycle related fatalities.  It is a given that style and performance will always be on the checklist when you are looking to buy a motorcycle, making room on the list for safety will help you enjoy your motorcycle experience longer and give your family some peace of mind as you do.  Motorcycle manufacturers, understanding the need to address safety in their machines, have introduced safety features that were only available to traditional automobiles and have implemented ways to ensure that you do not go unnoticed by other motorists on the road.

motorcycle-safety​When shopping for your first or next motorcycle, a safety feature to be on the lookout for will be antilock brakes.  The traditional breaking system for motorcycles is divided from the front and the rear of the bike.  The biggest problem the traditional breaking system presents is that the bike can be sent out of control and eventually fall over if the brakes are hit too hard or if the wheels lock up.  The other problem with this traditional braking system is the problem of not being able to stop the bike in time to prevent a crash because the brakes were applied too softly.  Anti-lock brakes on motorcycles provide two key benefits to the rider:  

1. It allows riders to reduce brake pressure if they feel a wheel lock up is pending, or

2. Apply the brakes with full force without worrying about a wheel lock up taking place.

If you need further convincing that anti-lock brakes are worth consideration, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety(IIHS), in their latest study, vouches for the safety benefits of having them.  The IIHS determined that motorcycles are 37% less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a motorcycle with a traditional breaking system.

​Another safety feature to keep on the check list when shopping for a motorcycle is traction control.  As motorcycle riders likely know already, one of the downsides of riding is knowing that the wheels only have a few square inches of contact to the road.  That’s just one of the problems with motorcycle tires; sometimes the tires have lived beyond their effectiveness, and they can be under-inflated or have uneven wear.  Some of the key benefits of having a motorcycle with traction control is mitigating factors leading to a loss of traction or excessive application of throttle.  With traction control, sensors can detect when traction is lessened and if there is excessive throttle application or other errors on the part of the rider.  For example, the traction control system can adjust engine performance to compensate for the loss of traction that the motorcycle’s sensors are detecting.

​As obvious as the following is about to sound, it goes without saying that you cannot protect what you cannot see.  While wearing dark clothes and being inconspicuous on your motorcycle may be chic and trendy, it puts you in greater danger on the road.  Motorcyclists that wear lighter or more colorful gear are less likely to be hit by other motorists. Equipping your motorcycle to be seen and heard will not hurt either.  There are lights to outfit your ride that can burn brighter and pulsate in order to catch the attention of an oncoming vehicle.  In the event that you have to make a little noise to get noticed in traffic, there are air horns that can replace the stock horn on your motorcycle that will do the job in jolting drivers to pay attention to you.

​If you or a loved one has suffered from a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, or if you suspect a defective part on your motorcycle, do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Michael Cordova for a free consultation.

Symptoms of a Breast Cancer Family

It goes without saying that receiving a breast cancer diagnosis has a seismic impact on a person’s lifekomen-race and, possibly, their outlook on life. The personal impact of breast cancer on someone’s personal and professional life can be too much to fathom at one time. What happens in a family when a loved one is diagnosed? The ripple effects of such a diagnosis can reach so many; a husband, children, and parents. As we are a month away from breast cancer awareness month, it is important to illustrate the true impact of the disease on our country and in our families.

The impact of a breast cancer diagnosis on a spouse can run the gamut. There can be feelings of worry, anxiety, or guilt that a spouse feels. Waiting for test results can be just as stressful for a spouse as it is for the one diagnosed. With the time that treatments and visits to oncology doctors take up, time for communication can be even more strained. Chances are, when it comes to talking about cancer, a spouse is just as unsure as to how to talk about it. The other area of concern for a partner will be the loss of intimacy as treatment progresses since the one diagnosed likely will not have the energy to do the things they were previously able to do.

The reaction of children to the fact that a parent has breast cancer can vary as well. The younger they are, the more likely they could be afraid of being away from that person. Younger children have been known to be scared to leave the house for fear of what might happen to the parent. Young children can become discouraged as well when they discover the parent cannot do the activities they used to do with them because of the side effects of treatment. Teen children could end up distancing themselves from the parent as a coping mechanism when such news is thrust upon them. Daughters who are young adults could become anxious for their own health upon finding out their mother has been diagnosed.

The impact on parents will be no less profound when they get the news of a breast cancer diagnosis. The thought of their child having a life-threatening illness can leave parents in a state of depression, causing difficulty sleeping or troubles with eating. Hearing about such a diagnosis of their child can cause a parent to lash out in anger over their frustration that something like that can happen; such anger is usually directed at the very medical professionals that are working to help their daughter.

Survivors of breast cancer realize that their families are just as much survivors of the disease as they are. The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure provides a way for women and their families to celebrate victory over the disease and raise awareness of the true impact that it has in our country. Join us in the fight against breast cancer, and register for the Komen Phoenix Race for the Cure.

Limiting Liability at your Labor Day Party