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In past decades schools and colleges knew little about concussions. Players who suffered head injuries were allowed to carry on with their sport. This is no longer the case. Virginia’s school concussion protocol is very strict and important to student welfare.

At the Smith Law Center and Brain Injury Law Center, our attorneys are leaders in brain injury litigation. We are acutely aware of the seriousness of a concussion and the impacts a blow to the head on the sporting field can have on your life.

Guidelines, policies, and procedures on concussions suffered by student-athletes are set out in § 22.1-271.5 of Virginia code.

The legislation states The Virginia Board of Education must develop and biennially update guidelines that are distributed to each local school division. Its members must develop policies to inform and educate coaches, student-athletes, and the parents or guardians of student-athletes about the risk of concussions, their nature, and criteria to remove a student from the field of play as well as the return of the student.

These policies must stress the risks inherent in not reporting the concussion injury and playing on, as well as the effects of concussions on the academic performance of student-athletes.

Virginia’s school concussion protocol recognizes the danger of continuing to play if you suffered a concussion. Research in the journal Pediatrics revealed players who are not removed when they suffer a concussion can take twice as long to recover. The study stated 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur every year in the United States.

Virginia requires each local school division to develop policies and procedures on the handling of suspected concussions in student-athletes and to update them every two years.

The policy states the student-athlete and his or her parent or guardian should review the policies every year before taking part in sports.

After reviewing materials relating to both the short and long-term health effects of concussions, each student-athlete and his or her parent or guardian must sign a statement acknowledging receipt of the information as approved by the Board of Education.

Should Student-Athletes Be Removed from Play Under Virginia’s School Concussion Protocol?

Yes. The laws require a student-athlete to be removed from the activity he or she is playing if the student-athlete’s coach, trainer, or team doctor suspects a concussion or brain injury in a practice or a game. When a student-athlete is removed from play, checked out by a medical professional and suspected of suffering from a concussion or a brain injury, the player cannot return to the field on the same day. The athlete must be evaluated by a licensed health care provider as determined by the Board of Education and receive written clearance to return to play from the licensed health care provider.

The legislation states the licensed health care provider who evaluates student-athletes suspected of sustaining head injuries may be a volunteer.

A “return to learn protocol” can be issued to athletes with the following requirements:

School staff should be aware of possible academic and cognitive issues stemming from a concussion including:

  • Concentration issues
  • Sensitivity to bright lights and sounds
  • Speech and language problems
  • Issues with planning, problem-solving, and reasoning


Faculty should allow for the “gradual return to full participation in academic activities” of a student who sustained a concussion or another head injury based on the recommendation of the student’s doctor on the appropriate amount of time the student should be away from the classroom.

Virginia’s school concussion protocol extends to sports clubs that use school premises. They should establish policies and procedures relating to the highlighting and handling of suspected concussions in student-athletes, consistent with the policies and procedures of the local school division.

Virginia school divisions can provide the guidelines to organizations sponsoring athletic activities for student-athletes on school grounds. Local school divisions are not be required to enforce compliance with such policies.

The Commonwealth takes a strong stance on the issue of concussions. Legislation signed into law in 2019 requires the Virginia Board of Education to work with brain-injury and other experts to biennially update state concussion guidelines.

Untreated concussions can leave athletes with serious brain injuries. It’s vital to keep athletes who sustained a concussion out of action. If your concussion was not taken seriously or you were not removed from an athletic activity, you may have grounds to sue a school, college or sports club. Please contact the Smith Law Center today at 757.244.700. We have won over $1 billion in verdicts and settlement for clients, many of them brain injury victims.

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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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