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Few activities compare to the freedom you feel after hopping on the back of a motorcycle. Over the last decade, motorcycles have grown in popularity with more bikes on the road than ever before. But while going for a motorcycle ride can be a lot of fun, it can also result in severe injuries or even death. A major contributing factor in many of these accidents is drunk drivers. Drunk drivers pose a severe threat to motorcyclists, who are already at an increased risk of harm than those in cars. 

According to Forbes, fatal accidents on motorcycles occur 28 times more often than in cars. In 2019, more than one in ten traffic fatalities were motorcycle drivers or passengers. 

Common motorcycle injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Broken bones
  • Facial fractures
  • Disfigurement
  • Limb amputation
  • Burns
  • Severe skin abrasions (“road rash”)

 

Rear view of motorcyclist in traffic

 

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

There are a variety of causes, that contribute to other drivers harming motorcyclists:

  • Cars and trucks turning left
  • Blind spots
  • Rear-ending a motorcycle
  • Opening car doors
  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving

The Dangerous Consequences of Drunk Driving

The deadly danger that drunk drivers pose to motorcyclists is widespread. It can be seen in numerous instances.

One such instance involved a pickup truck driver who killed seven motorcyclists and was charged with seven counts of negligent homicide. The driver, who was arrested at his home, denied that he was drunk. However, prosecutors stated that he refused to submit to a DUI blood test after the fatal crash occurred. 

Just one month before the crash police responded to reports of the same driver revving his engine and jumping up and down outside of his pickup truck in a Walmart parking lot. He was arrested after failing a sobriety test. 

In another instance, a woman was charged with DUI for causing a crash that left a motorcyclist with serious injuries. According to a GoFundMe page purportedly associated with the motorcyclist, the rider was hit head-on and suffered a broken pelvis and road rash as a result. 

How Many People Are Killed By Drunk Drivers?

Someone in the U.S. dies every 51 minutes in a drunk driving crash. That equates to 28 people who suffer an alcohol related driving death every single day. In fact, one in six people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash during their lifetime. 

In 2019, about 5.5% of all crashes in Virginia were alcohol-related. To put the pervasive nature of this into perspective, almost one-third of all crash fatalities involves alcohol. 

Men are more likely to be convicted of a DUI than women. In 2019, out of 18,648 DUI convictions in Virginia, men accounted for 62.8%. Out of these 7,048 alcohol-related crashes, 264 people died while 4,402 were injured. 

Unfortunately, without the same steel frame as passenger vehicles, motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to being injured or killed in alcohol-related crashes. 

Twenty-six to thirty-year-olds are the most likely age group to die in an alcohol-related crash. However, 21-25 year-olds are by far the most likely age group to be injured in one. Overall, 21-25 year-olds are the age group most at risk in an alcohol related accident. They are also the most likely age group to drive drunk.

Reducing Motorcycle Injuries and Fatalities

While nothing can completely eliminate the risk of motorcycle crashes, there are some things that you can do to reduce the risk of injury. One such thing is to always wear personal protection. Proper riding gear includes eye protection, leather jackets and pants, durable gloves, proper footwear, and of course a helmet. 

Helmets are the most important safety gear that a motorcyclist can wear. They are 29% effective at preventing death and approximately 67% effective at preventing a traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as a concussion. In fact, a rider who doesn’t wear a helmet is 40% more likely to suffer a fatal head injury. That’s why Virginia requires all motorcyclists and their passengers to wear a helmet that meets the standards of one of the following:

  • The Snell Memorial Foundation;
  • The American National Standards Institute, Inc.; or
  • The Federal Department of Transportation.

If another driver is exhibiting signs that they are intoxicated, it’s imperative to maintain your distance from them. Common signs of drunk driving include:

  • Drifting in and out of lanes
  • Speeding
  • Stopping suddenly
  • Driving erratically

Unfortunately, even with the proper protective gear and defensive driving, motorcycle crashes still commonly result in injury or death.

 

Motorcycle driving fast through a tunnel next to a car

 

How Can I Be Compensated?

If you have suffered an injury or if a loved one has died in a motorcycle accident as a result of another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation, known as “damages.” These damages help to cover:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium (relationships)
  • Funeral costs

You may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant, if your injury was intentionally or egregiously caused. For instance, if a driver has an extremely high blood alcohol level of two times the legal limit, their actions may be considered egregious and punitive damages may be awarded. The worth of your motorcycle accident claim is dependent on various factors. 

While you may be entitled to recover damages from the party responsible for the accident, this is only if he or she was 100% to blame. In Virginia a court may find that if a civil plaintiff is partially responsible – even the smallest bit – for the accident he or she will be entitled to nothing.

When to File a Lawsuit

Under state law a person has two years from the date of their injuries to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is called a statute of limitations. If that person waits until after this period of time, he or she will be barred from recovering anything – even if the other party was 100% to blame for his or her damages. 

The only exception to this is when the victim is a minor at the time of his or her damages. The statute of limitations can then be delayed so as not to begin until the minor turns 18. 

Should a motorcyclist be killed in an accident, the statute of limitations begins on the date of the individual’s death but is still two years for a wrongful death claim. 

Since you only have two years to bring a personal injury lawsuit, it’s in your best interest to contact a qualified Virginia personal injury attorney right away. The sooner you hire an attorney, the more time he or she will have to collect the evidence necessary to build your case. 

There is no doubt that bringing a claim for your personal injuries can be complicated, as there are many hurdles to overcome. Fortunately, consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney can make a major impact in the outcome of your case. 

Virginia Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

Smith Law Center, in Hampton, VA, is currently the largest personal injury firm on the peninsula and one of the largest in the state. Founded more than seven decades ago by Joseph Smith, the firm still maintains the same philosophy of helping those who are injured. Today Smith’s sons, Stephen and Howard, operate the firm.

Attorneys and brothers, Stephen and Howard Smith continue to guide the firm under the same principles, goals, and purpose it’s followed since its inception: to provide quality legal representation to victims of negligence.

Mr. Stephen Smith has over 40 years of legal experience. He has litigated catastrophic injury cases throughout the U.S. and the world. In fact, he has also won the largest mild traumatic brain injury verdict in the world and his groundbreaking work in the field of TBI has garnered him international recognition. 

With five decades of experience under his belt, attorney Howard Smith has also consistently obtained numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts across the country. He focuses on cases involving wrongful death, medical malpractice, auto accidents, trucking crashes, and brain injuries. 

At Smith Law Center, we know all too well the devastation that motorcycle accidents can have on the injured and their loved ones. We have the necessary experience to help you obtain the compensation that you deserve to help you move forward with your life 

If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury or have lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash, a negligent or a drunk driver may be to blame. Talk to our experienced trial lawyers about suing the at-fault driver for your injuries. Contact us at (757) 244-7000. Getting started is your first step toward obtaining justice for your losses.

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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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DELIVERING RESULTS SINCE 1949

We are one of Virginia’s largest and most successful law firms.

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Use the simple form below to send a message directly to our lawyers. We will respond within 1 hour or less during business hours.
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