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It’s the law in Virginia to use specialist child seats for infants and children. Older children may be placed in booster seats before they are large enough to use adult seat belts. Often parents use adult seat belts on children who are too young. This can cause injuries. It’s important to follow child booster seat laws in Virginia.

At the Smith Law Center, we fight vigorously against drivers who have harmed children in car, truck, motorcycle or school bus accidents. Few things are more traumatic than when your child suffers a serious injury. Using the correct infant or booster seat can help protect your child.

The Four Phases of Child Car Seats in Virginia

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles sets out the four phases of child car seats in the Commonwealth.  They are:

1 The Rear-Facing Car Seat

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises all children ride in rear-facing in the back seat until they are 2-years-old or as long as the safety seat manufacturer permits.

2 Forward-Facing Car Seat

Parents should not use forward-facing car seats until the child is at least one and weighs at least 20 pounds. The child should have reached the maximum allowed weight to fit in a rear-facing safety seat. Use forward-facing child restraints until the child reaches the top weight or height specified in manufacturer’s instructions or detailed on the seat’s labels.

3 Booster Seat

Use a booster seat when the child reaches the highest weight and height limits specified for a forward-facing car seat. The booster seat is a small seat placed on the rear seat of a car. It pushes up the child allowing the car’s safety belt system to be used safely.  A child should remain in the booster seat until he or she reaches 8 years of age and is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall.

4 Adult Seat Belt

A child should be at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and at least 8 years of age before an adult seat belt is used. The child should be:

  • Tall enough to sit comfortably without slouching;
  • Able to keep his or her back against the back of the vehicle;
  • Able to keep his or her knees bent completely over the seat’s edge;
  • Able to put his or her feet comfortably and flat on the car’s floor.

What Are the Child Booster Seat Laws in Virginia?

Under Virginia code, drivers of any vehicle manufactured after January 1, 1968, on the highways of Virginia must ensure any child up to the age of eight is given and properly secured in a child restraint device. It must conform to the standards of the United States Department of Transportation.

Rear-facing child restraint devices must be placed in the back seat of a vehicle. When a car does not have a back seat a child restraint device may only be placed on a front seat if a vehicle lacks a passenger side airbag or the airbag has been deactivated. An airbag can kill a child in a car crash.

Under a new law effective July 1, 2019, drivers of vehicles manufactured after January 1, 1968, in Virginia, must ensure that any child up to eight-years-old who is transported is properly secured in a child restraint device that meets the standards adopted by the United States Department of Transportation. This includes booster seats.

A violation of Virginia’s child restraint laws can result in a parent receiving a traffic summons.

More seriously, the failure to conform with Virginia’s child seat or booster seat laws can cause serious injuries to children.

How Many Parents Are Flouting the Booster Seat Laws?

A study in the United Kingdom in 2016 by Confused.com revealed found many parents are failing to understand the importance of using booster seats and are using incorrect seats.

A third of parents who took part in the research said they had not used a booster seat at all for their child at some point, while almost a fifth (17 percent) said they either rarely or never used a booster seat for their child.

In the United States, a study in Pediatrics found about 25 percent of parents of 4-to 8-year-olds were not using boosters in the family car. When carpooling, as many as half of parents were allowing their kids to ride without booster seats.

Contact an Experience Virginia Children’s Injury Lawyer

At the Smith Law Center, we have handled many cases in which children were injured in car crashes. Infants and children often suffer very severe injuries in wrecks. Please contact us today for further information and help.

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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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