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Car Accidents

Mr. Smith did everything he promised and more. He comforted me when I was worried, and fought hard for me. He was my friend. I have already recommended a co-worker to The Smith Law Center and will speak very highly of your firm when asked about my case for years to come. Mr. Smith is truly and asset to your firm, as he is a terrific person and attorney. Thanks for excellent representation.
– Sincerely yours, Joe


The time period immediately following a car wreck can be stressful and confusing. As experienced accident lawyers in Virginia, we at The Smith Law Center understand what you’re going through. This page covers a checklist for what to do right after you’ve been in an accident, frequently asked questions about car accident lawsuits and a list of the types of car accident cases our law firm accepts.


If you have a question and do not find your answer here, please do not hesitate to call and speak to our attorneys for free at 877.537.4340 or fill out this short form. We welcome your questions!

Were you just involved in a wreck? Click the button for a checklist of 9 Things to Do if You’ve Just Been in a Car Accident.



How much is my car accident case worth?

Each person’s situation is different, so this answer will vary depending on several factors. We highly recommend having a qualified car accident lawyer in Virginia review your unique circumstances to provide you with the most accurate value for your potential case. Factors such as damage to your vehicle, the severity of your injuries, all related medical costs and how much work you missed due to the accident will all combine to count as economic damages. You may even qualify for non-economic damages, such as emotional pain and suffering. A car accident can cause significant distress, especially if you’ve lost a loved one or developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These are examples of non-physical damages that you may be able to claim in your case.

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?

Car accident lawyer fees will vary between law firms. However, the attorneys at The Smith Law Center only collect a fee if we are successful in winning compensation for you. This means the filing fees, investigations, court appearances and everything else that goes into building a strong case on your behalf is at no cost to you if we do not win your case.

Can I hire your firm if I don’t live nearby?

Yes! Our firm accepts  car accidents cases all throughout the U.S. and Virginia. We also understand that certain individuals are not able to travel due to their injuries, in which case we are more than happy to come to you at a hospital or even your home.

When should I hire a car accident lawyer?

The best way to make sure you receive maximum compensation for your losses is to hire a car wreck attorney as soon as possible following your accident. Not only does this ensure valuable, time-sensitive evidence is secured, it gives your car accident attorney time to dispatch investigators and build an effective case on your behalf.

client and lawyer

How can a lawyer help me?

To put it simply, a car accident attorney is going to protect your best interests when your insurance company is not. Your losses deserve to be recognized and compensated for, and your attorney will go to bat for you so that you can properly heal. Auto accidents can be devastating; we will shoulder the burden while you focus on getting your life back together. Compensation from a lawsuit can help cover the financial stress that often ensues after a wreck to pay for costs, including:

  • All related medical expenses, including ambulance rides, doctor appointments, medication and physical therapy
  • Missed wages due to time away from work, so that you have adequate time to rest
  • Repairing or replacing your vehicle
  • Emotional pain and suffering, including counseling or therapy for trauma related impact
  • Loss of a loved one, if necessary

You are not required to hire an attorney after a car accident, but it is a wise decision to. You can trust the experienced lawyers at The Smith Law Center with the details of your specific situation.



What’s the deadline for filing a car accident claim?

In Virginia, you have until two years from the date of the accident to file a car accident claim. There are rare exceptions to this rule that most will not qualify for. If you’re unsure about the details surrounding your case, please call to speak with our Virginia auto accident attorneys today. Your call is completely free of charge.

How is your law firm different?

The Smith Law Center has recovered more than 1 billion for clients, including record-setting verdicts. We have 300+ years of combined experience as one of Virginia’s largest personal injury firms. The Smith Law Center is internationally-recognized, specifically for our work with serious and catastrophic injuries, including brain injury.

Firm director Stephen Smith is a graduate of Marquette University’s Neuroanatomical Dissection of the Human Brain and Spinal Cord program. His experience with a scalpel gives him an edge in the courtroom.™ At The Smith Law Center, you’ll find the caring and aggressive representation you want with the experience and skill you need.


african american person had an car accident

Single-vehicle Accidents

Single vehicle accidents occur when no other car, truck, motorcycle, or cyclist is involved. More than 60 percent of single-car accidents are run-off-road crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Single Vehicle Accident Liability

The driver is responsible for these accidents in the vast majority of cases. Passenger injury claims in single-car accidents caused by the driver are typically straightforward. Passengers who are hurt or bystanders like pedestrians often bring injury claims. It may be possible to shift this liability to a third party who is responsible for a dangerous condition.

Examples include a local authority if a driver swerved to avoid an unrepaired pothole, a truck driver whose load slipped onto the road causing a wreck, or a contractor who left machinery on the highway. If an animal like a deer ran onto the road and the driver did not have time to take evasive action, the driver may not be liable for the accident.

Rear-end Collisions

Rear-end accidents occur when a driver is hit from behind. Usually, the driver who crashes into the vehicle in front is to blame for injuries, though there are exceptions.

Rear End Collision Liability

The driver of the car that was hit from behind may be at fault if they stopped suddenly, ran a red light or failed to check for other traffic on the road. Virginia’s strict contributory negligence law means you may not be able to make a recovery from the other driver’s insurance policy if you were even 1 percent at fault for a wreck. 

Causes of Rear End Accidents

Causes of rear-end collisions include: 

  • Tailgating
  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Drugged driving
  • Traffic congestion
  • Tired driving
  • Excess speed
  • Road rage
  • Mechanical failure
  • Poor weather

Neck injuries such as whiplash are common in rear-end collisions, but more serious injuries like fractures and brain injuries can also occur.

Rear-End Collisions in Hampton 

I-64 in Hampton, Big Bethel Road and Settlers Landing Road are all known sites in Hampton for rear-end collisions. Stop and go traffic is common, like the kind seen on Jefferson Avenue in Newport News or Warwick Boulevard. Driver inattention or negligence often causes many of these wrecks.

Rollover Car Accidents

A rollover accident occurs when a vehicle tips onto its roof or its side. They are often the result of sudden braking on curves, lane change accidents, or crashes when cars run off the road. The vehicle’s momentum tips it over.

SUVs have a reputation for flipping over. However, improved safety features such as electronic stability control (ESC) have helped. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts rollover testing that assesses each vehicle’s rollover risk. Of the 10 vehicles rated a higher rollover risk, nine were SUVs and pickup trucks.

Types of Rollover Accidents

There are two different types of rollover accidents: tripped rollovers and untripped rollovers. Tripped rollovers are the most common type and occur when a car leaves the road and rolls over on soil or grass or another surface. These crashes have a high fatality rate because drivers and passengers often hit trees.

Untripped rollover accidents occur when the vehicle tips over without sliding off the road or hitting an obstacle. Top-heavy vehicles like SUVs or trucks are more likely to tip over on curves or when the driver swerves to avoid an obstacle or a crash.

Causes of Rollover Accidents

The most common causes of rollover wrecks are:

  • Tripping, which causes about 95 percent of all rollover accidents, according to NHTSA
  • Road hazards such as potholes or construction zones
  • Tire failure
  • Top heavy design on high-sided vehicles like minivans, SUVs and pickups
  • Chain reaction accidents 

Ejections are common in rollover accidents, and the trauma of the impact with the glass compounds often compounds the severity of injuries when this happens. Using a seat belt increases your chances of surviving a rollover crash or escaping serious injuries.


Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk drivers caused 7,285 accidents and 248 deaths in 2017, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Arrests of intoxicated drivers led to 18,701 DUI convictions. Men are more likely to be convicted of drunk driving than women. Almost 70 percent of DUI convictions were male.

Drunk Driving Accident Liability

If you have been injured by a drunk driver or have even lost a loved one, we understand the trying time you are going through. We’re here to help. You may be entitled to full and fair compensation for your losses and potentially more.

Under Virginia code, a court may award punitive damages, which are in addition to the compensation the victim of a DUI crash Smith Law Center is entitled to. The maximum recovery for punitive damages is $350,000. They are not available in every case, though The  has successfully won punitive damages for clients in many cases.

T-bone & Side Impact Crashes

Side-impact collisions happen where vehicles intersect perpendicularly. They are also called T-bone, broadside or side-impact crashes. Unsurprisingly, almost three-quarters of broadside accidents occur at intersections when a motorist fails to stop at a stop sign or a red light.

Although automakers added stronger side impact bars to their vehicles in recent years, this is the part of the car where protection is at its thinnest. Cars contain just a thin piece of metal between the flank of a vehicle and a driver or a passenger. When a heavy pickup or a tractor-trailer causes a crash, the consequences can be dire for victims.

Various factors determine the seriousness of a side-impact crash, including:

  • Size and weight of the vehicles
  • Speed of an approaching vehicle
  • Collision points
  • Seat belts use


T Bone Crash Liability

The driver of the car that broadsided another vehicle is often to blame for a wreck, though this is not always the case. For instance, a driver who runs a red light may be broadsided by a car that has the right of way. Likewise, a driver who fails to comply with a stop sign and merges onto a busy highway risks being broadsided. We often see this in rural areas with fast-moving highways like Route 13 on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. 

T-Bone accidents are usually caused by negligence, most commonly by:

  • Red-light runners
  • Stop sign runners
  • Drivers who fail to yield the right of way
  • Drunk motorists
  • Texting or other distracted driving at the wheel
  • Mechanical issues such as brake failures or a tire blowout

Hit & Run Accidents

Drivers should never leave the scene of an accident. They can face criminal charges even in property-damage-only wrecks. You should always wait for a police officer to arrive. Minor fender benders may not require a police investigation, however, be sure to exchange insurance information with the other driver before leaving the scene.

A Virginia driver who hits and damages an unoccupied vehicle is required to make a reasonable effort to find the driver or contact the driver about the accident under Virginia law.

Hit and Run Accident Liability

If you were hit by a driver who left the wreck scene, you can sue the hit-and-run driver.  “Hit and Run” or “Leaving the Scene of an Accident” are charges that can result in serious consequences. These range from a simple fine to a prison sentence, depending on the severity of a personal injury or the extent of property damage.

When a driver causes death or injury, hit-and-run is a felony offense. In cases when police lack sufficient evidence to charge a suspect with hit-and-run, you may still be able to file a lawsuit against this driver. The burden of proof – or the standard you need to prove in the case – is lower in a civil case than in criminal prosecution.

Although many hit-and-run drivers are tracked down by the police, there are occasions when the at-fault motorist is never found. This causes issues for victims who have no party to sue for their injuries. Fortunately, Virginia law allows you to use uninsured motorist coverage to make a claim against your own insurance policy in these cases. 

Red-light Runner

Red-light running accidents are one of the most dangerous types of collisions, often caused by inattention or reckless and aggressive driving. A motorist commits a traffic violation by entering an intersection after the signal turns red. Motorists who are inadvertently already at the intersection at the time the signal changes are not red-light runners.

However, when a right turn on red is allowed, drivers who do not come to a complete stop before turning may be fined for a red-light violation. Turning right on red at intersections where you are not allowed to turn right on red is also considered an offense. 

Red Light Accidents in Hampton, Virginia

Many intersections in Hampton Roads have red-light cameras, including the intersection between Jefferson Avenue and Oyster Point Road, one of the busiest and hazardous on the Virginia Peninsula. Although the cameras appeared in 2012, it remains an accident hot stop. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, more than 350 accidents have been reported here since 2014.

Certain states do not permit left turns on red, though Virginia allows drivers to turn left after stopping at a red light at the intersection of one-way streets. A driver can make a left on red from a one-way street onto another one-way street in Virginia as long as the road is clear and the driver stopped. 

Auto Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents make up roughly 10 percent of Virginia’s fatal traffic accidents and are often caused by careless, reckless, drunk, or distracted drivers. Because they lack the protection of a vehicle frame, even an impact at a low speed can cause fatal or serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries.

Virginia Pedestrian Laws

Under Virginia law, pedestrians must use a sidewalk where it’s available. If they have to walk on the road, they must walk on the extreme left of the roadway. Virginia’s contributory negligence law states that if a pedestrian is at all responsible for their injuries, he or she loses the right to claim damages.

Under Virginia code, § 46.2-924, drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians at:

  • Clearly marked crosswalks
  • Regular pedestrian crossings at the end of a block
  • Intersections when a driver is approaching on a highway where the legal maximum speed does not exceed 35 miles per hour

If you or a loved one were hurt on a crosswalk or other place where you have the right of way as a pedestrian, you may have grounds to sue a driver. The attorneys at The Smith Law Center can help you understand your rights.





A range of factors can cause car accidents, including:

  • Excessive speed
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Driver fatigue
  • Texting or distracted driving
  • Overcorrecting to avoid a hazard
  • Poor weather
  • Animal in the road, such as a deer
  • Faulty mechanic work
  • Mechanical failure, such as a tire blowout
  • Road defects

We cover a few of these in more detail below.


The effects of driver fatigue can be as serious as drunk driving. In fact, driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep is similar to driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, according to The National Safety Council.

Fatigue results in 1,550 deaths every year in the US (NHTSA). Almost 60 percent of drowsy driving accidents involve a driver who drifts across the road or into the lane of another vehicle.


Drivers Most at Risk

Drivers who spend long hours on the highways of Virginia or elsewhere are most likely to fall asleep at the wheel. High-risk groups include:

  • Commercial vehicle drivers (tractor-trailers, buses, tow trucks, company vans, etc.)
  • Night shift workers
  • Drivers with untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
  • Senior citizens
  • Drivers using certain medications

Fatigued driving wrecks in Virginia are particularly serious when commercial vehicles are involved. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates about 13 percent of all truckers were tired at the time of their crash. However, it’s not always easy to prove a driver was drowsy. An experienced injury lawyer will look at the underlying facts, such as the driver’s medical history and required break times.

Mechanical Failure & Defective Auto Parts

A carmaker or a third party like a workshop can also be held liable for an accident caused by a brake failure, a tire blowout, or another serious defect. If a defect caused a vehicle to veer off the road and crash, you may have grounds to sue the manufacturers of a car or a component. Claims related to defective cars that cause injuries are complicated.

Tire Blowout

Tire blowouts are often serious because they are sudden and the driver may have little time to take corrective action. NHTSA’s Crash Causation Survey found tire issues caused as many as 1 in 11 crashes (9%). 


Causes of Tire Blowouts

Factors for crashes due to tire blowouts can include:

  • Extremely high temperatures – Triple digits increase tire pressure, stretching tires to their limits. The tire expands, spreading the tread.
  • Under-inflation – Experts say low tire pressure can also lead to a range of problems, including longer stopping distances and added wear and tear to tire components.
  • Tire age – Manufacturers recommend replacing tires that are six to ten years old, regardless of tread wear. If your car is fitted with a used replacement tire, try to establish the age of the tire before it is fitted.
  • Tread depth – With tread depth of 2/32” or less, cars and trucks experienced three times more tire issues before the crash than vehicles with tread depth between 3 to 4/32”.
  • Manufacturer defects – When tires are properly maintained, manufacturer defects can still cause a blowout. Defective tires are more likely to fail in hot weather, but a tire blowout may also be caused by poor fitting of the tire on the rim.

Those injured in crashes due to design defects in a car or its parts may have grounds to sue the manufacturer. However, if poor maintenance was to blame, a driver may accept full liability for damages or injuries.


Two persons involved in a car accident

  1. Do not admit fault – even if you think you might be responsible in any way
  2. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Seek medical attention – even if you feel fine. This will be critical for proving any injuries you’ve had and could also determine how much you receive in damages.
  3. Move to safety if your car is operable to avoid causing traffic or another collision.
  4. Call 911 and obtain a police report.
  5. Limit conversation with the other driver. Avoid offering your opinion or accepting blame.
  6. Collect information, including:
    1. Driver’s name, address and phone number
    2. Witness names and contact info
    3. Police officer’s name, badge number and contact info
    4. Insurance company and policy number
    5. Vehicle make, model, year, registration info and license plate
    6. Collision details:
      1. Date, time and location of the accident
      2. Direction both vehicles were traveling in
      3. Weather, visibility, driving conditions
      4. What happened: Sketch it, write it out or record yourself describing it on your phone
      5. Take photos from different angles with your phone
  7. Call your insurance, preferably from the scene and open a claim within 24 hours.
  8. Do not speak with the other party’s insurance company. This could hurt your claim and we will handle that for you.
  9. Call the car accident attorneys at The Smith Law Center as soon as possible.


Smith Law Center is one of Virginia’s largest personal injury law firms with 28 attentive staff members and a combined 300+ years of legal experience. You’ll find the caring and aggressive representation you need for your car accident, and firm Director Stephen M. Smith is also a graduate of Marquette University’s Neuroanatomical Dissection Course for the Brain and Spinal Cord. His experience with a scalpel gives him an edge in the courtroom.™ Contact us today to find out how you can receive compensation for your damages and injuries. We are more than just your attorneys, we are your advocates.


Award to School Librarian for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Auto Wreck

Awarded: $4,750,000.00

Summary: HAMPTON, Virginia – Company pays $4,750,000.00 to school librarian for mild traumatic brain injury in auto wreck.


Award to School Librarian for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Auto Wreck

Awarded: $4,750,000.00

Summary: HAMPTON, Virginia – Company pays $4,750,000.00 to school librarian for mild traumatic brain injury in auto wreck.

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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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