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Vaping has become increasingly popular in the United States in recent years. The industry is now worth billions of dollars and electronic cigarettes are particularly popular with teens. At the same time, vaping and e-cigarette injuries and deaths are rising.

While the vaping industry promotes electronic cigarettes as safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes, this is not the case. E-cigarettes cause serious health conditions, according to recent studies. However, the most serious injuries are reported from explosions of e-cigarettes.

The e-cigarette industry is now a $7 billion global industry made up of roughly 500 brands

At the Smith Law Center, our attorneys represent people injured by dangerous devices across the country. E-cigarettes are poorly regulated and among the most hazardous products to hit the markets in recent years.

Is Vaping Linked to the Deaths of Smokers?

In Feb. 2019, William Brown, a 24-year-old man from Texas, died from injuries he sustained after the vape pen he was using exploded, according to a local medical examiner’s office.

The vape pen burst suddenly and severed his carotid artery, according to Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The Texas death was the second recorded in the United States from an e-cigarette explosion.

In 2018, Tallmadge D’Elia from Florida was killed when his vaping device exploded and fragments drove themselves into his cranium.

A report in The Register noted the Florida man was using an e-cigarette manufactured by Smok-E Mountain. An investigation by the Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner’s office found the explosion launched two fragments of the vaping device into the victim’s head, killing him.

D’Elia also suffered burns to 80 percent of his body, according to media reports. The explosion started a fire in his home. Firefighters found his body when they broke in to tackle the inferno.

Vaping and E-cigarettes are also linked to multiple injuries in smokers.

A recent report by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency found almost 200 incidents of vape pens overheating or exploding reported between January 2009 and December 31, 2016. They resulted in 133 acute injuries to users, 38 of them categorized described as “severe.”

E-cigarettes have caused severe facial disfigurement and serious burns. The industry is poorly regulated.

What Are E-Cigarettes?

The term “electronic cigarette” includes a wide range of devices with many different shapes and configurations. E-cigarettes are also referred to as e-cigs, personal vaporizers (Vapes), electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) or mods.

E-cigarettes are powered by batteries. They simulate traditional tobacco smoking by producing a heated vapor that resembles cigarette smoke. E-cigarettes or vapes became a popular alternative to smoking in recent years. They are not necessarily a means of helping smokers stop their habits and are often used by people who don’t smoke.

Vaping and the Dangers of Lithium-Ion Batteries

Most of the vaping accidents are caused by lithium-ion batteries in E-cigarettes exploding.

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency report describes the inherent dangers of the lithium-ion batteries found in e-cigarettes.

The report concludes the combination of electronic cigarettes and lithium-ion batteries is a “new and unique hazard.” It said there is no analogy in present consumer products to the risk of severe and acute injury posed by vaping.

This is a damning indictment. However, few users of e-cigarettes are aware of the danger they are in. Although explosions are not common, they can cause devastating and life-threatening injuries.

The most common vaping issues are burns and disfigurement injuries.

In August 2018, a man from Arizona suffered serious burns when an e-cigarette exploded in his pocket.

He felt his leg start to get warm when he climbed out of his truck. He saw sparks flying from the bottom of his shorts and felt the terrible pain of his skin burning. Forty percent of his leg sustained second and third-degree burns.

Is Vaping and E-Cigarette use Harmful to Your Health?

E-cigarettes appear to be less lethal than conventional cigarettes, reported Harvard Medical School.

However, e-cigarettes are a relatively new product. Nicotine in these devices is associated with several negative health effects. Chronic nicotine exposure may cause type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. When a user inhales nicotine, it can increase heart rate and blood pressure.

Nicotine is very addictive. It can cause changes in a smoker’s brain making them more likely to become addicted to other drugs. Nicotine is linked to the impairment of prefrontal brain development in young people.

Research conducted by the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California San Francisco revealed vaping has many potentially damaging health impacts.

Director Stanton Glantz said the center’s research found people who use e-cigarettes every day almost double their risk of having had a heart attack, on top of the normal heart attack risks of any cigarette smoking that they may be doing.

Another frightening side-effect of flavored e-cigarettes is the hazards posed by diacetyl, which is associated with a rare lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans.

The disease may cause permanent damage to the tiny airways in the lungs called the bronchioles. This condition is also known as popcorn lung.

Lawsuits Over Vaping and E-Cigarettes

A series of recent explosions of e-cigarettes resulted in multiple lawsuits against manufacturers. People who suffered serious injuries are seeking compensation for physical, emotional, and financial injuries in Virginia and elsewhere.

Our Hampton personal injury lawyers are also concerned at how e-cigarette manufacturers appear to be targeting children with brands like Cotton Candy, Bubble Gum, Cupcake vapes.

The explosions associated with lithium-ion batteries can be serious. In some cases, cars have even been blown apart by the force of explosions in tiny e-cigarettes.

If you or a family member has been harmed by vaping, please contact our Hampton injury lawyers 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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