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People who suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are often misunderstood and suffer in silence. For more than three decades, Brain Injury Awareness Month has raised awareness of their issues and tackled public misconceptions.

A brain injury occurs every 16 seconds in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health professionals report 1.5 to 2 million traumatic brain injuries each year. Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability among children and young adults.

The Smith Law Center pioneered traumatic brain injury litigation in the United States. Attorney Stephen M. Smith has more than 44 years of experience in brain injury cases and is an internationally-recognized TBI expert who is often called on to speak about brain damage. Please contact us if another driver, a business, or a healthcare provider caused your brain injury.

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has led the nation in the observance of Brain Injury Awareness Month in March for over 30 years. The theme of the campaign from 2018 to 2020 is #ChangeYourMind. 

The BIAA states on its website that the #ChangeYourMind public campaign is essentially an educational platform. The more we know about the effects of a brain injury, the more we can understand the needs and challenges faced by people who live with TBIs. The awareness month aims to:

  • Empower people who suffered a brain injury and their carers;
  • De-stigmatize the injury through community outreach; and
  • Promote the support available for people who struggle with TBIs.

What Are the Main Causes of Brain Injuries?

A brain injury is often a life-changer for the victim. However, many people who suffer a concussion, which is a mild traumatic brain injury, make a full recovery. Brain injuries are usually unexpected and follow an accident or an acute health condition. The main causes of brain injuries are:

1. Falls

Older people and the young are particularly vulnerable to head injuries in falls. Falls account for about half of all TBIs.

2. Car accidents

Car, truck, motorcycle, cycling, and pedestrian accidents account for about 380,000 brain injuries a year, according to Brainline. Vehicle accidents cause the largest proportion of TBI-related deaths.

3. Impacts with objects

As many as one in five TBI-related injuries are caused by falling objects or being unintentionally hit by another object or a person.

Doctor examining skull x-ray in front of patient with white head bandage

4. Assaults

Assaults cause about 10 percent of traumatic brain injuries. These include punches and gunshots.

5. Sporting accidents

Contact sports can cause multiple concussions that threaten long-term health effects in players. States like Virginia have strong concussion protocols intended to remove athletes from the field if they suffer a concussion. Football, soccer, and boxing are associated with head injuries.

6. Stroke

Stroke is the major cause of a non-traumatic or acquired brain injury. A stroke causes an interruption of oxygen to the brain and can kill cells. Every year, a million people suffer a stroke in America. Studies also show people who suffer a traumatic brain injury face a greater danger from a stroke.

7. Medical malpractice

Mistakes by doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses, and other medical professionals that deprive a patient’s brain of oxygen can cause brain damage. A failure to act promptly to a medical emergency during delivery can leave an infant with permanent brain damage. 

Brain Injury Awareness Month Highlights the Symptoms of People With TBI

The brain is very complicated. A TBI affects different people in different ways. Sometimes auto accident or slip and fall victims don’t realize they suffered a brain injury until family members notice subtle changes in mood and behavior. You are entitled to compensation for changes in your life if another party caused your injury.

A brain injury can cause the following behavioral changes:

  • Memory problems
  • Issues with social relationships
  • Inexplicable feelings of anger
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal
  • Confusion
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Speech disorders
  • Inappropriate behavior in social situations
  • Inability to work or concentrate
  • Insomnia
  • Impulsiveness
  • Uncharacteristic behavior

Talk to a Leading Virginia-Based Brain Injury Lawyer About Your Case

At the Smith Law Center, we help many people who struggle to overcome traumatic brain injuries every year. Attorney Stephen Smith is the founder of the Brain Injury Law Center. He has litigated high-profile cases involving major catastrophic injuries across the United States and the rest of the world. The Hampton-based lawyer won the largest personal injury verdict in Virginia’s history and the largest mild traumatic brain injury verdict ever awarded.

People who suffer a traumatic brain injury sometimes require ongoing medical care for the rest of their lives. Medical bills can reach millions of dollars. It’s vital to hire an experienced Virginia brain injury lawyer to fight the at-fault party and to recover as much money as possible for your serious injury.

If you or a family member suffered a TBI, please call our experienced Virginia brain injury lawyers 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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