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Under the law of premises liability, property owners have a duty to keep people they invite into a building or onto land safe from harm. This can extend to negligent security, which is a failure to protect people from crime.

In some cases, people who became victims of crimes at malls, apartments, and colleges successfully sued owners or managers over assaults committed on them.

However, there are limits to negligent security. The owners or operators of buildings must be found to be at fault for a lack of security or a failure.

Virginia sets a high standard for negligent security claims. The attack victim must show there was a high probability of harm due to previous incidents. The owner or manager of a property must have been aware of the dangers but failed to make the environment safer.

Who can Face Negligent Security Lawsuits?

A number of parties can be sued for negligent security. These cases may be brought against:

  • Shopping mall owners or management when security is lax or non-existent;
  • University and college authorities for rapes or other attacks on campuses;
  • Nightclub owners or operators;
  •  Owners and management companies of apartment complexes;
  • Owners and operators or restaurants and hotels;
  • Nursing home and assisted living facility owners;
  • Owners and operators of daycare facilities;

Reasons for Negligent Security Lawsuits

Common reasons for negligent security lawsuits include the following:

  • A lack of security in areas like shopping malls;
  • Undertrained or inadequate staffing;
  • A lack of security cameras or other surveillance;
  • Faulty locks and poor maintenance;
  •  Inadequate lighting.

The Elements of a Negligent Security Case in Virginia

Some of the elements of a negligent security case in Virginia were highlighted in a 1994 case before the District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia.

The case was brought by a woman who worked in a mall kiosk. As she was closing up her kiosk, a gunman forced her into his vehicle. He raped and robbed her in the parking lot of the mall.

The woman sued the mall authorities for a failure to provide security in the mall parking lot. The victim’s lawyers later discovered a mall security guard failed to show up for duty on the night of the attack. Lawyers for the woman discovered about 150 crimes had been committed people at the mall. The woman’s lawyer also uncovered evidence of funding problems that affected mall security. The case was settled for $350,000.

A case in Florida highlights how the failure to maintain equipment can impact a negligent security case.

The case concerned the killing of a 24-year-old man from South Florida. The man and a co-worker were working at a car wash when three men tried to rob them. The victim was shot dead by a 16-year-old as he tried to flee the crime scene.

At a subsequent trial, it was revealed the surveillance cameras at the gas station and car wash had not been working for more than two years. The jury heard the crime occurred in a dangerous neighborhood and four previous crimes were committed at the car wash. The manager of the car wash would not show up to work without an armed escort.

The jury awarded the family of the dead man over $5.6 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Negligent security cases are also known as inadequate security cases. These are difficult cases to win under Virginia law. It’s not enough to show you were harmed by a third party at a mall, an apartment complex or another venue. The owner, operator, or management company must have known the area was dangerous and been aware of past incidents. The entity in charge of security must be shown to have taken little or no action to rectify the problem, leaving visitors in danger.

Hire an Experienced Virginia Negligent Security Lawyer

At the Smith Law Center, our attorneys have represented people injured across Virginia for decades. Our trial lawyers take on difficult cases and fight for your rights. If you have been hurt at a shopping mall, a hotel, a school, a college or any other building due to the negligence of another party, please contact us 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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