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Tour bus crashes have highlighted a poorly regulated industry for more than a decade. Although regulators took action in recent years, the issues continue. Innocent passengers are paying the price of negligence in the tour bus industry.

The crashes continue. Two people died and 44 were injured in DeSoto County, Mississippi in 2018 when a tour bus overturned in icy conditions. The bus company involved in the crash had a record of violations on file with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). It was just the latest crash to shed light on safety issues in the tour bus industry.

Although the FMCSA took action against some of the worst bus company operators, the serious crashes continue.

In 2012, in the wake of a series of horrific tour bus crashes, the Department of Transportation shuttered 26 tour bus companies in what it described as the “largest single safety crackdown” in its history.

The DoT described the bus companies as “imminent hazards to public safety,” according to a statement.

The operation followed a 12-month-long investigation into the small, badly regulated bus companies. Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the action was intended to send a message to other tour bus companies.  Regulators closed down three larger bus companies, Apex Bus, I-95 Coach, and New Century Travel.

The operation followed a series of high profile bus crashes, one of them in Virginia.

In 2011, a bus hit a light pole that sheared off its roof and overturned in the Bronx in New York, killing 15 people and injuring 10.

A year later, a jury found the driver not guilty of manslaughter. The prosecution argued he was sleep-deprived before the World Wide Tours bus departed from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut and headed down I-95 toward New York’s Chinatown.

In the same year, a tour bus crash on Interstate 95 North in Caroline County in Virginia overturned killing four people and injuring many others.

Driver Kin Yiu Cheung was convicted of manslaughter. He fell asleep as he was driving a Sky Express bus from Greensboro, N.C., to New York City on May 30, 2011.

The National Transportation Safety Board said driver fatigue likely contributed to the crash. It concluded the driver had limited opportunities for quality sleep the previous few days, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Your Rights in a Virginia Your Bus Crash

When you travel on a commercial bus, you trust your safety to the driver and the operator of a tour bus company. However, the recent bus crashes reveal how some tour bus operators play fast and loose with safety.

Department of Transportation probes have revealed how unacceptable pressures and long hours are imposed on bus drivers. Many of the bus operators were accused of maintenance violations.

One of the bus companies closed down by the FMSCA was Scapadas Magicas, an operator responsible for a bus crash in California that killed eight people. The company failed to maintain its buses and ensure that its drivers were licensed, CNN reported.

The FMSCA’s hours of service regulations provide rules for drivers of passenger carrying vehicles. They may drive a maximum of 10 hours after eight hours of rest

Although many smaller bus operators were identified in probes, larger bus operators have also been involved in fatal wrecks.

In 2018, eight people were killed in a Greyhound Bus wreck in New Mexico. A lawsuit accused the California-based trucking company and one of the company’s drivers of negligence.

A semitrailer crashed into the bus after the tread separated on one of the truck’s tires and it veered across the road, causing the crash.

Private bus companies like Greyhound or MegaBus are considered common carriers. They are regulated by specific state and federal laws.

Bus operators and their drivers have a duty to the highest degree of care to ensure the safety of its passengers.

Contact an Experienced Virginia Bus Accident Lawyer

Although tour bus and other commercial bus crashes occur less frequently than truck and car accidents, they are often very serious and involve the loss of multiple lives.

When tour buses overturn, crashes are often deadly and injuries are horrendous. At the Smith Law Center, we help the victims of tour bus, transit bus or school bus crashes. If you or a family member has been hurt in a bus crash, you may have grounds to sue a driver or an operator. Please call us today for a free and confidential 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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