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Summer is the most dangerous time to be on the roads of Virginia or another state. Millions of families make a summer road trip in the United States for vacations or to see their families. They seldom realize this is the most hazardous time to drive.

The summer months see a huge influx of visitors to places like Virginia Beach, Hampton, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. People attend parties and drunk alcohol. The sheer volume of traffic and the increase in the number of people on motorcycles, bikes, and scooters adds to the risks.

Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association reveal the summer months from Memorial Day to Labor Days are the most hazardous days of the year for young drivers. This period is sometimes referred to as the 100 most dangerous days.

When you are planning a summer road trip, you should make sure to plan ahead and be aware of potential hazards.

Why Are Summer Road Trips So Dangerous?

Summer road trips are more hazardous than those at other times of the year for a number of reasons, namely:

1. More Young Drivers on the Roads

When school’s out for summer, more teens get behind the wheel. This can be problematic because teen drivers are less experienced and are more likely to make basic driving mistakes. Teen drivers are also more likely to be on their cellphones. Studies show distracted driving causes as many as 1 in 10 of teen driving deaths.

Parents can take measures to keep their kids safe. Make sure a designated driver is appointed for parties or order a ridehailing service. Don’t give the car keys to your teen if they won’t agree to avoid alcohol at a party and set a time to return home.

2. Construction Projects

Considerable construction takes place on the roads over the summer period, particularly in states in the north where it’s too cold to carry out roadwork over the winter period.

Work zones are dangerous places with elevated accident rates. Off-ramp closures, diverted lanes, work trucks, and reduced speed limits can be distracting to drivers. Always pay close attention in work zones and slow down to posted speed limits. Fines are higher in work zones.

3. Increased alcohol and drug use

People are more likely to use alcohol and drugs when they are on vacation. The Addiction Center points out pool days, BBQs, beach parties and nightclubbing at holiday resorts is associated with a spike in alcohol and drug use.

Unfortunately, some people take the risk and get behind the wheel when they are drunk and drugged. Every summer, we see a spike in deaths and road accidents associated with intoxicated driving in Hampton Roads.

4. Congestion

Traffic congestion spikes over the summer months. Workers often take vacations in July and August and kids are off school. The New York Times reports Americans take about 14 million domestic vacations over the summer months. Statistically, more cars on the roads increase the chances of accidents occurring.

5. Vehicle Maintenance Issues

Extreme summer heat puts your car or truck to the test. Your car is more likely to overheat in the summer and tires may blowout, causing a serious accident. Make sure to inflate your tires regularly and check the tread levels.  Before setting out on a long road trip, ensure you are up to date on oil changes, your wipers work, and you have enough coolant and screen wash. Make sure you have breakdown coverage and a first aid kit and warning triangle in your car. Many accidents occur when people in broken down cars are struck by other traffic on busy roads.

6. There are More Cyclists and Motorcyclists on the Roads

More cyclists and motorcyclists are out on the road in the summer. Drivers should be prepared to share the road and give those on two wheels more space. Many American cities are now seeing an influx of deckles electric scooters. Increasingly, electric scooter riders are getting injured in Virginia.

Often drivers are not familiar with electric scooters. They are shocked to see a rider appear in front of them.

Motorcyclists are a more familiar hazard but drivers still fail to see them. Recently, seven riders were killed when a pickup truck hit a group of motorcyclists in New Hampshire.

Tips to Deal with the Dangers of the Summer Road Trip

Some basic precautions will help you when setting out on a summer road trip.

  1. Get your car serviced before you leave to minimize the dangers of a mechanical breakdown.
  2. Leave early for your destination so as you do not have to rush
  3. Plan your route carefully and avoid bottlenecks if possible;
  4. Take regular breaks and drunk coffee to stay alert;
  5. Switch drivers at regular intervals if possible;
  6. Don’t drink alcohol or take drugs while driving;
  7. Avoid distractions. Program your GPs before you leave and use a hands-free device.

 

Talk to a Virginia Car Accident Injury Attorney

We hope you have a safe and enjoyable summer road trip, no matter how far you plan to travel. If you are unfortunate enough to be hurt in an accident, 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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