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Powerful motorcycles like Harley-Davidsons are becoming increasingly popular with older riders. The baby boomer generation is increasingly getting on two wheels post-retirement. However, the popularity of bikes with older people comes at a cost. When more mature riders wreck, they are more likely to be seriously injured or killed.

Research finds older riders are not as well equipped as young people to handle a powerful bike. Their bodies are more vulnerable to the trauma associated with a serious motorcycle wreck.

In September, a tragedy in Richmond claimed the lives of three riders in their 40s and 50s. The three were killed when four motorcycles crashed on a ramp to I-95 in Richmond.

Five motorcycles were traveling together onto the ramp at Maury Street to Southbound I-95. Seven people were involved in the crashes. Virginia State Police said excess speed was a likely factor in the deaths.

This was a terrible tragedy. Motorcycles are among the most dangerous vehicles on the road and sometimes older riders struggle to keep powerful bikes under control. Our reflexes slow down with age and one mistake can prove to be fatal. Police said three motorcycles had double riders. All of the victims were wearing helmets.

The victims were a male and female rider and passenger aged 56 and 53 and a 41-year-old woman from Petersburg.

Although the cause of the crash in Richmond is unclear it follows a clear trend. Increasing numbers of older riders are losing their lives in bike crashes.

National statistics show more middle-aged bikers are dying on the roads of America. The Chicago Tribune reported that 80 percent of motorcycle fatalities involved riders 29 years old or younger in 1975. The age group most likely to die in motorcycle wrecks is now 50 and older. This age group accounts for 35% of all deaths states the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the nonprofit highway safety research group the auto insurance companies fund. More than 90% of those killed in 2015 were male.

Why Are Older Motorcycle Riders More Likely to Experience Fatal Accidents?

The experts point to two main reasons why older bikers are more likely to end up as statistics. One of them is the spike associated with the baby boomer generation. About 76 million American residents were born from 1946 to 1964. Inevitably the baby boomer generation will make up a large percentage of the deaths occurring.

Insurance Institute spokesman Russ Rader said the economic upturn has led to a rise in crashes involving all vehicles.  Another reason for the rise in middle-aged biker deaths is people who stopped riding when they were in their 20s to start families began riding again in their 50s or 60s, not realizing their reaction times were not what they once were, safety experts say. They even have a name for riders who get back on their bikes after years off two wheels – retreads.

Research from Brown University found older riders are three times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in accidents.

The study found changes in the human body with age make riding a motorcycle a hazardous undertaking.  The authors wrote:

“As the body ages, bone strength decreases, subcutaneous and visceral fat (organ fat) distribution may change, and there is a decrease in the elasticity of the chest wall, factors which may lead to more severe injuries after exposure to trauma.”

This advice holds true for all types of crash but people on motorcycles face higher levels of trauma given the extreme forces involved in a wreck and the lack of protection compared to a car which has a steel frame.

Talk to a Virginia Wrongful Death Motorcycle Lawyer Over a Deadly Accident

Although motorcyclists can cause fatal accidents by speeding or riding drunk, careless motorists are a leading cause of motorcycle deaths. In Virginia, about 13% of road deaths involve motorcyclists, even though riders only make up about 3% of road users. Few things are as traumatic as the loss or a loved one in a traffic accident. It’s important to hire a veteran lawyer who can fight for your rights in Hampton, Newport News, Richmond, Norfolk or elsewhere, all the way to trial if need be. Call the Smith Law Center 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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