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Drivers who are in their own cars are covered by their personal auto insurance if they are hurt in an accident. But, what happens when we drive a borrowed car or allow a friend or a family member to use our car? If we are hit by someone who is not the car owner can we sue a driver in a borrowed car in Virginia?

The key issue under Virginia law is that of permission. Virginia law deals with liability insurance under Virginia Code § 38.2-2204. It requires the driver that borrowed the car to have the permission of the owner to be protected by insurance coverage.

People who are hurt by a vehicle driven by someone with permission should experience few issues in making a claim against the car owner’s insurance policy if the other driver was to blame.

However, these cases can be complicated. It makes sense to talk to a seasoned Virginia car accident lawyer.

What Happens When an Accident Involves a Borrowed Car in Virginia?

If the driver borrowing a car has the owner’s permission, the owner’s insurance will provide coverage.  Insurance policies typically say the driver is covered if he or she has the expressed or implied consent of the person named in the policy.

If the driver who is borrowing the vehicle has their own insurance policy, this policy can provide additional coverage on top of that taken out on the borrowed vehicle.

The Virginia code also says the driver who is borrowing the car has to remain “within the scope” of the permission to be covered in the event of an accident.

This can complicate matters after a wreck. It means the person who borrows the vehicle has to abide by the owner’s terms. If the owner, for example, tells the driver he can only use the car to drive to York County and back, driving it to Washington D.C. is not within the scope of the permission. If the driver caused an accident in Washington D.C., the victim would likely not be able to make a claim on his insurance.

In scenarios when the driver is acting outside of the scope of his permission, the driver’s own insurer may argue he was not covered. It’s, therefore, a troubling scenario for any accident victims.

Use of a Parent’s Car by a Teenager?

If your teen son or daughter takes your car without permission, any accident victims are not able to rely on the parents’ car insurance policy unless the teen is included on a family policy.

However, if a teen has the parent’s permission to take the car, any victims of an accident can make a claim against the parent’s policy if the teen driver was at fault for the accident.

A more complicated scenario is when the teen loans the car to a friend. Usually, the person who borrows the car from a teen can rely on the teen’s permission to borrow the car and is covered by the parents’ insurance policy. Under a 2011, case in Virginia, a teen may even be able to rely on implied permission to borrow the car.

Virginia law also suggests the person who borrows a car or truck may be able to rely on that permission even if the parent told his or her teen the car was for their sole use.

This rule provides some redress to accident victims in cases where the person who borrowed the car believed he had permission to use it, even though it’s an alarming situation for parents.

Talk to a Hampton Lawyer About Suing a Motorist who Caused a Crash in a Borrowed Car

In most situations, a victim can sue a driver in a borrowed car in Virginia. However, the issue of permission is key. When permission is in dispute, it may be difficult to make a claim. That’s where our Virginia car accident lawyers can help. We will explore every avenue to fight the insurance company.

At the Smith Law Center, we have helped people who are hurt in car crashes since the 1940s. Our trial lawyers take on cases involving serious injuries all the way to the courts. Please call us today for a free consultation 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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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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