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Every year, backover accidents cause hundreds of deaths in America. Backover accidents are caused by reversing cars, trucks, and SUVs. They usually occur at low speeds and the victims are often children. Every year, we hear about tragic cases in Virginia in which a parent kills or injures a child when backing up the family car or a reversing car in a parking lot causes severe injuries.

A rise in the popularity of big SUVs in America has increased the prevalence of backover accidents. However, many new vehicles are now equipped with rear cameras and sensors that warn of the presence of an obstacle when reversing. Cameras became mandatory on cars manufactured from 2018 onwards.

In a recent report to Congress, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated backover accidents kill about 183 people a year. The figures were based on crash records and death certificate reports. Additionally, backover crashes leave about 6,700 to 7,419 people injured every year.

As personal injury lawyers, we are concerned about backover accidents in Virginia. If you or your child ended up hurt in a backover accident, please contact us today.

Why are Children Often the Victims of Backover Accidents?

According to the non-profit KidsAndCars.org, about 50 children are hurt in backover accidents every week in America.

It points out the average blind zone is 15 to 25 feet and every vehicle has one. Shorter drivers experience a larger blind zone. More than 60% of backover accidents involve a larger vehicle like a truck or an SUV.

KidsAndCars.org states a parent or a close relative is the driver in about 70% of backover accidents that involve children. Most of these tragic accidents take place in driveways and parking lots.

The organization cites the “bye-bye syndrome” as a factor behind many of these reversing accidents.

Children hate to be left behind when they hear a parent or another relative saying “bye bye.” They often follow the driver out. He is she does not realize the child has left the home and is standing behind the car and keeps on reversing. According to KidsAndCars.org, one-year-old children are most likely to be hurt or seriously injured in a backover crash. Toddlers have just started running at this age and are more likely to run behind a vehicle. Most backover accident victims are under 5-years-old.

KidsAndCars.org states all cars can be fitted with backover cameras but many still lack them.

The scale of the backover accident problem in Virginia and elsewhere may be underestimated. Many of these accidents occur on private property. This means they are not recorded in state and federal databases.

How Effective are Vehicle Backover Avoidance Cameras?

In its report to Congress, NHTSA noted it tested several camera systems on vehicles. Some of the results were alarming.

Testing found that the performance of sensor-based parking aids that use ultrasonic and radar parking aids to detect children behind the vehicle was “typically poor, sporadic and limited in range.”

Calculations based on the distance a car requires to stop suggested the detection ranges of many of the cameras are insufficient to stop collisions with pedestrians or other objects.

The NHTSA concluded that the camera-based systems offer the greatest potential to give drivers reliable assistance in identifying people in the path of the vehicle when it is backing up.

Although camera-based systems offer the greatest potential to prevent backover injuries, according to the NHTSA, the technology has limitations.

Bad weather like fog and rain can obscure people who appear in the camera as can glare on a bright day.

A federal rule that went into effect in May 2018 makes backover cameras mandatory in all new cars.

Safety advocates said the change took a long time. Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety said:

“It took a long time, and sadly, along that journey, we had more families joining us in our fight because they had lost their children while knowing there is this preventable technology. It’s heartbreaking.”

All cars, buses, and trucks under 10,000 pounds which are manufactured to be sold in the United States must have rearview video systems. The field of view from the vehicle must include a 10-foot by 20-foot zone to cover the blind zone behind the vehicle.

The Chicago Tribune reported how Ford standardized backover cameras on all of its cars and trucks weighing under 10,000 pounds. Toyota and Nissan both comply with the rule as well.

Contact a Lawyer Over Backover Accidents in Virginia

Backover accidents are often tragic. If you or a child has been hurt by a reversing car, truck, van, bus, or SUV please contact the Smith Law Center as soon as possible at (757) 244-7000.

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If you or a relative had a severe reaction to military housing mold, it might be time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Mold is everywhere, and can be dangerous. Researchers have linked mold to serious respiratory illnesses in some individuals.

Smith Law Center may be able to help if a property owner failed to keep you safe from mold in your military housing. We are one of Virginia’s oldest and most successful firms. We know how to hold negligent property owners responsible, especially when the military is involved.

Call us at (757) 244-700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. There’s no fee for learning more about Virginia mold laws, your rights, and your legal options.

Mold in Military Housing

Black mold in military housing became widely known when Reuters published an investigation in 2018. Since then, the Department of Defense and the housing providers were supposed to take steps to improve the situation.

Unfortunately, a 2020 audit by the DoD Office of Inspector General found many issues, including the need for mold remediation, still persist.

Monetary Awards in Military Housing Toxic Mold Cases

If the property owner lets toxic mold run wild and continue to cause you harm, talk with our toxic mold attorneys about filing a lawsuit.

You may receive financial compensation for:

Service members and their families do not receive different types of damages than civilians. These are civil lawsuits in traditional courts of law.

Military Housing Mold Toxicity Symptoms

The Institute of Medicine discovered there was evidence connecting exposure to indoor mold with:

  • Upper respiratory tract symptoms;
  • Coughing;
  • Wheezing;
  • Asthma symptoms in individuals with asthma; and
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals with weak immune systems.

There is also limited evidence that mold causes respiratory illnesses in healthy children or causes people to develop asthma.

Understanding Exposure to Toxic Mold in Military Housing

The topic of toxic mold is complicated. This Is in part because the term “toxic mold” isn’t accurate. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains mold isn’t toxic or poisonous. However, some molds are toxigenic, which means they produce toxins called mycotoxins.

Mold is common in military housing because it’ll grow anywhere there’s moisture. That includes on and inside walls, carpet, upholstery, wallpaper, and heating and air conditioning systems. This is especially pronounced in humid conditions such as those present in Virginia.

Some people have no difficulties around mold, even large infestations in their homes. Other individuals are sensitive to molds, including those that produce mycotoxins. Someone can have a severe reaction when exposed to a large amount of mold indoors.

People may be more likely to experience mold toxicity symptoms if they have:

  • Allergies,
  • An underlying lung disease,
  • Immune suppression,
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder,
  • Asthma, or
  • Another chronic respiratory disease.

Common Types of Military Housing Mold

When you’re trying to learn more from the CDC and other resources, you’ll see the word “fungus” a lot. Mold is a type of fungus, which is something that exists all around us. Fungi are living organisms different from animals, plants, and bacteria. There are over 200,000 types of fungi and over 100,000 types of molds.

If you discovered mold in your military housing, it could be Cladosporium, Penicillium, Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus, or many other types. Stachybotrys is what everyone knows as black mold. Aspergillus is a common indoor fungus, which releases mycotoxins and can cause illness. Your symptoms may resemble common allergy or asthma symptoms.

Who is Liable for Military Housing Mold?

Since 1996, most military housing has come under the management of private companies:

  • Belfour Beatty Communities: Fort Eustis and Fort Story/li>
  • Lincoln Military Housing: Dahlgren, Little Creek, Naval Station Norfolk, Northwest Annex, Oceana, Portsmouth, Quantico, and Yorktown/li>
  • Hunt Military Communities: Fort Lee and Langley AFB

Outside of Virginia, Lendlease and Corvias Military Living are two more housing providers. Together, these five companies formed the Military Housing Association.

Military families living in on-base housing must take their complaints to their private management company — not the military. The company is responsible for providing habitable conditions and making repairs, including mold remediation.

If you’re unsure about your rights, review your state law and local ordinances about mold. In general, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide a habitable unit, which means it has to be safe to live in. A unit isn’t safe if it’s causing a tenant health issues due to mold.

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires landlords to disclose if there’s mold in the written report of the move-in inspection. If a tenant discovers visible mold in the unit, then the Act requires the landlord to remove the mold and relocate the tenant until it’s gone at no additional cost to the tenant.

Unfortunately, many families find their housing providers aren’t receptive to complaints. Attorney Stephen M. Smith has handled many mold lawsuits against military housing providers who fail to abide by their lease terms and the law when it comes to mold remediation and other hazards.

Other Hazards in Military Housing

Many service members and their families deal with uncomfortable, if not hazardous, conditions in privatized military housing, including:

Lead Paint: Lead-based paint can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, irritability, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, organ damage, and in extreme cases, death.

Asbestos: Exposure to asbestos harms a person’s lungs, and can lead to lung fibrosis (scarring), lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Radon: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. It naturally forms underground, however cracks and gaps in buildings lead to over-exposure indoors.

Poor Water Quality: Dozens of military sites have water with detectable levels of harmful chemicals.

Other issues involve rodent or insect infestations, pesticides, and faulty electrical wiring.

What Happens When a Lot of People Get Sick?

Sometimes mold exposure impacts a single individual or family. However, when the mold spreads throughout military housing, it can impact hundreds or thousands of people.

Occasionally, a large enough group of people are injured to allow for a class action or mass tort lawsuit. A class action lawsuit is one where a class representative acts as the plaintiff on behalf of the group of hurt individuals. Not every victim participates in the lawsuit. There are rules about when a group is big and similar enough to create a class action.

Mass tort lawsuits are different. When there are fewer plaintiffs who have their own set of circumstances, each person files a lawsuit. For efficiency’s sake, one or a couple of law firms may represent most plaintiffs, and the lawsuits are consolidated in a federal court.

Call the Military Housing Mold Lawyers at Smith Law Center for Help Right Away

Mold cases come about in a few ways. You or a loved one may start getting sick, and after weeks or months of struggling to find answers, you finally realize your military housing has a mold infestation. In other cases, you struggle with visible mold and then become ill.

Once you connect the illness with the mold, it’s time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Reaching out to an attorney early helps you build a strong compensation claim. We know how to collect evidence, identify who is liable, and craft a successful argument for a settlement or court award.

Attorney Stephen M. Smith has decades of experience handling injury claims and has been internationally recognized for his work. He has litigated cases involving catastrophic injuries and complex legal and scientific issues. In 2019, he was inducted into the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.

You’re in good hands when you come to Smith Law Center for help. Reach out online or call (757) 244-7000 to schedule your 100% free consultation.

Military Housing Mold Lawsuits: FAQs

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