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ATV Accidents in Virginia


ATVs are popular vehicles, particularly in rural parts of Virginia. Although it’s fun to drive All-Terrain Vehicles, they are among the most dangerous vehicles on four wheels. They are also popular with younger riders who don’t always realize the hazards.

The combination of heavy ATVs and younger riders who are not able to handle them properly is a deadly one. According to some studies, ATVs are more dangerous to riders than motorcycles.

At the Smith Law Center, we are well aware of the hazards of ATVs. In the past, it was very difficult to recover money from an insurance company after an ATV accident with injuries. A recent change in the law helped the injured. At the Smith Law Center, we have been helping injured people since the 1940s. Please contact our Virginia ATV accident lawyers if you or a family member has been hurt.

How Serious Are ATV Accidents in Virginia?

All-Terrain Vehicles are improperly named. They are not ideal for all conditions. Riders may take them off-road and run into trouble if a gradient is too steep or conditions are too slippery.  They also handle poorly on paved roads. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, hundreds of people lose their lives every year in ATV accidents. The commission warns:

  1. 135,000 people are injured every year due to accidents on ATVs.
  2. More than 700 people lose their lives in ATV accidents.

About a third of those killed in ATV accidents every year are under 16-years-old. A report in USA Today noted in 2010 at least 55 children under age 16 died in ATV accidents. More than 28,000 others were seriously injured. June and July are the peak months for injuries and deaths on four wheelers, according to experts.

Using proper safety precautions would save many lives a year but many younger people are ill-equipped to handle these vehicles.

People often suffer serious injuries when ATVs overturn. In some cases, they collide. In 2017, four children were hurt, three of them seriously, when two ATVs collided in a field in Prince George County in Virginia. News reports suggested it was illegal for the children under 16 to be operating the ATVs in the first place.

Although a disproportionate number of young people are involved in ATV accidents, adults are also killed and seriously injured. In 2018, a 36-year-old man was killed riding an ATV in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

He hit a guidewire and his ATV flipped on property belonging to Norfolk Southern Railroad.

What Are the Causes of ATV Accidents in Virginia?

All-Terrain Vehicles are more complicated than people imagine and they flip over easily. These are some of the main causes of ATV accidents.

  • Riding an ATV without adult supervision
  • Being a novice rider – accidents are more likely in the first month of using an ATV
  • Driving an ATV on a paved road. ATVs are designed for off-road use and are difficult to handle on paved roads
  • Riding double on a vehicle not designed for passengers. Most ATVs are built for a rider only
  • Performing dangerous maneuvers and other tricks on an ATV
  • Getting into areas of unfamiliar territory, wild and hilly terrain
  • Racing ATVs

ATV Accidents in Virginia and Insurance Coverage

In past years, people who suffered severe injuries in ATV accidents found it difficult to make a claim for their injuries due to inadequate insurance coverage. They included passengers on ATVs who were injured due to a driver error or people hit by ATVs.

Many ATV riders did not carry sufficient insurance to adequately compensate people catastrophically injured on All-Terrain Vehicles.

A ruling from in the Western District of Virginia made it easier to be compensated for your injuries in an ATV accident.

The ruling followed a case in which a passenger on an ATV that collided with another ATV suffered serious injuries. The victim claimed both operators were at fault for a brain injury that resulted in over $500,000 in medical bills. The operators had a minimal $25,000 in liability insurance coverage.

A judge dismissed the claims of the insurance company that an ATV was not a “motor vehicle” under the policy. This allowed the victim to use underinsured motorist coverage to increase her payout.

Talk to a Virginia ATV Accident Lawyer About Injuries and Deaths

At the Smith Law Center, we are well aware of the dangers posed by ATVs to the residents of Virginia. If you have been injured due to the carelessness or the recklessness of an ATV rider or lost a family member, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. In some cases, people injured on ATVs have filed lawsuits against manufacturers for deadly defects. Call the Smith Law Center today for advice 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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