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Causes of Motorcycle Accidents


When motorcyclists are involved in wrecks they are more likely to be seriously injured than the occupants of cars or trucks. There are many causes of motorcycle accidents but other drivers are often to blame.

Studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration based on 2015 figures suggest motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to be killed in wrecks than car drivers.

In Virginia, increasing numbers of riders are losing their lives. According to the Virginia Highway Safety Office, 107 motorcyclists were killed in Virginia in 2017, representing 12.7 percent of all road deaths. Motorcycle wrecks left 1,670 riders or passengers injured. Motorcycle accidents comprised just 1.7 percent of traffic crashes that year. The figure highlights the disproportionately dangerous nature of motorcycle wrecks.

The 2017 figure was a significant increase on 2016 when 72 riders were killed in Virginia and 1,565 were injured.

It’s common knowledge that riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car. However, many drivers fail to respect riders or give them the space they deserve. Every year, motorcyclists are killed on the highways of Hampton, Newport News or elsewhere due to drivers who fail to see them or give them enough space.

As a rider, you can anticipate some of these problems through defensive driving, anticipating problems and moderating your speed.

However, there may be nothing you can do when a car makes a sudden turn or appears in front of you on the highway.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Virginia

1) Cars and Trucks Making Left Turns

Often when our Virginia motorcycle accident lawyers help an injured rider or the family of a deceased rider, the wreck was caused by another driver making a left turn.

As many as four in 10 motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers making a left turn. The driver frequently fails to see a motorcyclist or misjudges the speed of the rider, causing the motorcycle to hit the side of the car. In many cases, a rider will swerve to avoid a car making a turn and crash.

Intersection crashes can prove deadly for riders even at relatively low speeds. By anticipating drivers who are poised to turn, a rider may be able to take evasive action to avoid a crash.

Be aware of your surroundings and look out for signs that a vehicle may be about to turn front of you. When you are approaching an intersection on your motorcycle, you should slow down and prepare to brake and even take evasive action. Watch out for gaps in the traffic that another driver may seek to move into.

2) Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is a common cause of motorcycle accidents. It occurs when a motorcyclist drives in between two lanes of traffic when it has stopped or is moving slowly. This can cause a dangerous situation because drivers don’t anticipate a vehicle passing them.

If you are worried you are going to be hit from behind and feel forced to lane split, be careful and do it slowly. Sudden movements can cause accidents.

3) Blind Spots While Passing

Most cars have blind spots and trucks have large blind spots. Drivers can miss another car seeking to pass them and change lanes, causing an accident. Drivers are even more likely to miss a motorcyclist in their blind spot.

Riders should be aware of the locations of blind spots and be very careful when passing. If possible, move to a far lane away from traffic and make sure not to linger in a blind spot.

4) Entering a Curve at a High Speed

Riders should slow down when entering a curve. They are less likely to lose control and this allows them to see ahead. Losing control on a curve is a common cause of motorcycle accidents.

Make sure to maintain a steady speed when heading into a curve. Only ride as fast as you can see ahead and use visual clues like poles and signs to judge the direction of the road. Watch out for dangerous hazards like gravel on the road.

5) Being Hit from Behind by a Car

Cars may hit motorcyclists if they suddenly slow down. The kind of rear-ender that can cause a fender bender when two cars are involved, can seriously injure or kill a biker. Avoid stopping suddenly if possible and always be aware of traffic behind you.

You can try to avoid this dangerous situation by pulling safely in front of a car at a road intersection, protecting you from a possible rear-ender.   Riders may gain more protection by stopping at the side rather than the center of a traffic lane, keeping their bike in gear and their right hand on the throttle.

6) Opened Car Doors

The scenario of a car door being suddenly opened, hitting a rider is so common it has been given the term ‘dooring.’

Cyclists are particularly vulnerable. They refer to the area close to the door of a stopped car as the ‘death zone.’

Motorcyclists have also been killed or injured when a negligent driver or passenger fails to look and opens a car door on the highway side. You can help minimize the danger from dooring accidents by keeping your speed down and not riding too closely to parked cars.

Lawsuits After Virginia Motorcycle Accidents

If you have been injured in a Virginia motorcycle accident in Hampton, York County, Norfolk, Virginia Beach or elsewhere, you may need to recover as much as possible for extreme injuries and high medical bills. Motorcyclists often suffer serious head, neck and back injuries. Amputations are more common in motorcycle wrecks.

It’s important to hire an experienced Virginia trial lawyer with a long track record in these cases. Please contact us 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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