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When is a property owner responsible for your injuries?

Premises liability refers to personal injury cases where a defective or unsafe condition on someone else’s property caused the injury. If you have been injured on someone else’s property, you have a right to seek financial compensation for your injuries.

State law varies on the procedure and details of premises liability cases so it is important to talk to a lawyer who specializes in this type of law. If you or someone you know has been injured on someone else’s property, you may have a premises liability case.

If you need to speak with an attorney about a premises liability matter please contact the experienced attorneys at the Virginia-based Smith Law Center by calling (757) 244-7000 or by scheduling a consultation with us online.

What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is a unique kind of personal injury lawsuit. Premises liability refers to a property owner’s obligation to keep their property well maintained and relatively safe with respect to all persons who enter their property. If a person is injured on a property owner’s property, the property owner may be held financially liable for injuries suffered as a result of the accident.

The types of injuries that may result in a premises liability lawsuit can vary from a slip and fall in a grocery store case to an injury that occured on a construction site.

Premises liability will be determined by:

  • The legal status of the visitor
  • The condition of the property
  • Whether the owner or visitor is at fault for the injury
  • If the injured person was a child

It is important to note that property owners do not bear unlimited liability and are only responsible for preventable accidents.

Young man with a broken leg sits on the couch

What Are the Top 5 Most Common Premises Liability Accidents?

Premises liability cases are incredibly common and occur under even the most ideal circumstances. If you have suffered an accident, it is crucial to contact a premises liability lawyer as soon as possible so that you can pursue justice and compensation for the injuries you have experienced.

The five most frequently litigated premises liability accidents include: 

1) Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents are the most common premises liability cases. A slip and fall is defined as an accident when a person loses his or her footing and ultimately falls.

Slip and fall accidents may appear to be an everyday occurrence but they can result in broken bones, severe spinal injuries, and brain injuries. Property owners and supervisors must maintain safe walkways, sidewalks, and stairwells, and keep them free of debris. Some examples of slip and fall cases include slipping on ice, stumbling on buckled floors, falling down a flight of stairs, or stepping in a hole or a crack on unkempt flooring.

Slip and fall accidents may not seem serious. However, they account for nearly 8 million emergency room visits every year.

2) Dog Bite Accidents

Dog attacks and dog bites make up a significant number of premises liability cases. More than 4.5 million people report dog bites each year, according to the CDC. Owners must be held responsible for injuries caused when their animals attack. If you have been injured by a dog bite you may be able to bring a premises liability claim.

A recent study observed that, contrary to popular belief, the usual suspects in dog bite accidents such as Pitbulls and Rottweilers were no more likely to bite than other breeds. A dog’s tendency toward aggression may be linked to other factors such as training, heredity, and environment. If you have been bitten by any type of dog, you should seek medical attention immediately, and an attorney as soon as possible.

3) Workplace or Construction Site Negligence

Construction site accidents can affect both construction site workers and innocent passersby. If construction site workers or project managers fail to adequately warn or flag off construction sites, it can create the potential for devastating accidents or injuries.

Construction site accidents typically occur because of the equipment and tools found on most work sites. If not handled properly, this environment can create horrific injuries.

Common construction site injuries include:

  • Broken backs and spinal column injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Head trauma or brain injuries
  • Burns
  • Eye injuries and damage to vision

If you have suffered any of these injuries because of an unsafe workplace or project manager negligence, you may have a premises liability lawsuit, and may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

4) Hotel Accidents

Accidents resulting in injury that occur on hotel property require a lawyer experienced in premises liability cases to get the compensation you are entitled to. If you want to hold a hotel responsible for injuries you have sustained on their premises, you will need to establish that the hotel was negligent or breached a duty of care to you. A premises liability lawyer can help you navigate the legal complexities.

Virginia law defines a hotel as any place offered to the public for compensation for transitory traveling or sleeping accommodations. This may include facilities known as motels, hotels, travel lodges, tourist homes, or hostels. If you have been injured while staying at a hotel. You may be able to recover financially.

Hotels are responsible for your safety in your room as well as in common areas including: 

  • Parking lots
  • Common walkways
  • Swimming pools
  • Public restrooms
  • Fitness areas

If you have been injured while staying at a hotel, reach out to an attorney who specializes in premises liability. They can help you gather evidence, prepare statements and negotiate with insurance representatives and hotel lawyers.

5) Parking Lot Accidents

Parking lots can be riskier than you think. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that tens of thousands of accidents occur in parking lots and parking garages every year. If you have been injured in a parking lot, you may be able to recover from the property owner.

The causes for premises liability injuries in parking lots vary and may include: 

  • Car crashes and pedestrian accidents around blind corners
  • Damaged sidewalks or asphalt (potholes)
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Being the victim of a violent crime
  • Inadequate lighting or security measures

Property owners have a legal duty to maintain safe properties by carrying out periodic inspections and taking care of foreseeable hazards such as snow or ice. When a property owner knows about a problem in their parking lot and fails to fix it, that owner may be considered negligent.

If the property owner of a home, hotel, or business is negligent, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against them for your injuries.

If you have been injured in accidents such as these, an experienced premises liability lawyer may be able to help you get the financial compensation you deserve. The attorneys at the Smith Law Center are standing by and waiting to help. Contact them online or at (757) 244-7000.

Who Is Responsible in Premises Liability Cases?

In order to hold a property owner legally responsible in a premises liability matter, a lawyer will examine the particular facts and circumstances surrounding your case and help determine responsibility. Responsibility in premises liability cases is based on the duty of care that the property owner owes to someone who is coming onto their property.

The duty of care a property owner owes to a visitor are outlined here: 

  • Invitees: An invitee is a person who enters another’s premises as the result of an express or implied invitation by the property owner. Examples of an invitee include a customer entering a grocery store, the mailman delivering a package, or a business’ employees. A property owner must protect the invitee from unreasonable risk.
  • Licensees: A licensee is a person who enters a property with permission but for certain purposes. A licensee may include a city worker, a friend dropping by unexpectedly, or a guest at a party. A property owner must warn the licensee of dangers that the property owner is aware of but may not be easily discovered by the licensee.
  • Trespassers: A trespasser is someone who comes onto another’s property without proper permission. Premises liability may extend to certain types of trespassers, meaning that even if you are on someone else’s property without permission, they may still owe you a duty of care. A premises liability lawyer can help you determine if your situation qualifies for relief.

A skilled premises liability lawyer will evaluate your unique facts and circumstances and help determine if you have a case.

Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer Today

If the injury you suffered on another person’s property could have been easily prevented, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Premises liability cases involving, slip and falls, dog bites, construction site negligence, and more, may limit your quality of life and your ability to provide for and care for your family.

Working with a lawyer who specializes in premises liability cases will maximize your potential for receiving adequate damages. The lawyers at the Smith Law Center are on hand to help you. Contact them online or at (757) 244-7000 to discuss the legal options that are available to you.

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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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