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Riding a motorcycle is considerably more dangerous than driving a car or a truck. According to government statistics, motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to suffer a fatal crash per mile traveled than car drivers.

This alarming statistic from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should not put people off riding a motorcycle, but it does make the case for riders to take safety tips seriously.

Every day on the roads of Virginia, a motorcyclist is killed or injured due to the fault of another driver. Often, drivers make turns without seeing an oncoming rider or they suddenly change lanes. The injuries sustained by motorcyclists can be very serious. It’s important to recover as much money as you possibly can. An experienced Virginia trial lawyer at the Smith Law Center will represent your rights and fight for what you deserve.

How Can Virginia Motorcyclists Protect Themselves?

Drivers are unpredictable. They often weave across lanes. They may be distracted or drunk. Motorcyclists lack the metal frame of a car for protection. Although wearing a helmet will increase your chances of avoiding serious injury, it’s no guarantee you won’t suffer a serious or life-threatening brain injury.

As a rider, you should drive defensively and anticipate the movements of other vehicles. You should also maximize protection by wearing the correct clothing.

Top Virginia safe motorcycling tips include:

1 Wear a helmet with protective eyewear.

Motorcycle helmets can and do save lives on a regular basis. It’s also the law to wear a motorcycle helmet in Virginia.

In 2005, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a paper that suggested wearing a helmet is 37 percent effective in saving the lives of riders.

The research was based on a comparison of fatal crashes involving motorcycles with two riders, at least one of whom was killed. The National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) of the NHTSA carried out painstaking research on this issue.

Although the research is over a decade old, its findings remain valid.  In 2003, there were 3,661 rider deaths in motorcycle crashes. An effectiveness of 37 percent for helmets means a further 1,158 additional motorcyclists would have died if they were not wearing helmets.

States such as Pennsylvania that repealed their motorcycle safety laws saw a large increase in hospitalizations of motorcyclists in the years following the move.

Eyewear is important on a motorcycle because debris can fly into the face of riders on the road or bad weather can affect your eyesight. If you don’t have a visor on your helmet, use goggles.

2 Wear Protective Clothing

While a helmet is the most important piece of equipment a rider can wear, other protective clothing can increase your odds of avoiding serious injury or death in a crash.

It’s important for riders to wear a proper motorcycling jacket. The “Hurt Report” compiled by the National Technical Information Service in Virginia suggested motorcyclists should protect themselves with leather or another abrasion-resistant fabric.

You should also wear leather or abrasion-resistant fabric pants. This can reduce the risk of road rash if your legs scrape along the pavement. Gloves and footwear are also important. These can protect riders from the elements. You should never ride a bike with flimsy footwear such as flip-flops.

 3 Avoid Bad Weather

Many studies suggest more cars and trucks are involved in crashes in wet weather or icy conditions. The risks are exacerbated on a motorcycle, which has less stability. If rain, ice or snow are forecast you should leave your bike at home. That’s easier said than done in the summer in Virginia when sudden and extreme storms can hit. High winds and driving rain can overturn a motorcycle or impact your grip on the road’s surface. If you see storm clouds ahead, pull over and get back on the road when the rain has stopped.

4 Take a safety course

Riding a motorcycle safely is a lot more difficult than driving a car. It makes sense for beginners to take a course. In Virginia, the Department of Motor Vehicles lists classes for novice and experienced riders including courses here in Hampton at Thomas Nelson Community College.

5 Ride Defensively

Defensive riding or driving saves lives. Many serious motorcycle accidents are caused by a driver failing to look for a motorcyclist before making a left turn.  If you see a driver about to make a turn, don’t assume he will see you. Slow down and be ready to stop. Always ride with your headlights on. Keep out of a driver’s blind spot. Make sure to signal well in advance of any change in direction.

6 Don’t Ride When Tired or Drunk

In 2017, about 6.5 percent of motorcyclists who were involved in crashes in Virginia were drunk. You should not get on a motorcycle if you have consumed alcohol. While driving a car is difficult when you are impaired, it’s doubly so to control a bike. Likewise, fatigue is also a cause of motorcycle crashes. You need to have your wits about you to be safe on a bike.

7 Be Prepared to Ride

Carrying out basic checks on your bike can save your life. Motorcyclists should look out for signs of wear in their tires such as cracks, bulges, low tire pressure or worn tread.  Checks could save you from a blowout.

Look under the bike for signs of oil or gas leaks and make sure your lights are working properly. You should check hydraulic and coolant fluid levels every week.

Once you are on your bike, check your mirrors, horn, brakes, and throttle are working properly.

Contact an Experienced Virginia Motorcycle Injury Attorney

Even if you take adequate precautions on your motorcycle, you may be injured by the careless or reckless actions of another driver. There are many causes of accidents to bikers in Virginia. It’s important to hire a personal injury lawyer with a track record of fighting big cases and winning large verdicts. The Smith Law Center has been helping clients since 1949. Please contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation. You only pay us if you make a recovery.

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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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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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