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Experienced Deck Collapse Lawyers


We are hearing more and more about deck collapses in Virginia and neighboring states as structures built 40 years or longer ago give way. The injuries sustained when a deck collapses can be severe. While these accidents often occur in coastal communities like Hampton Roads and the Outer Banks where salt can corrode structures, they are being reported across the country.

If you have been hurt in a deck collapse accident, a building owner, manager, construction company, or another entity may be to blame. Our experienced deck collapse accident lawyers can advise you if you have a case.

When Virginia Deck Collapses Occur

Many Virginia deck collapses occur when a crowd of people is standing on a wooden structure.

In 2017, more than 20 people were injured when a second story deck collapsed at a house in Richmond’s Fan district during a party. Most of the injured were VCU students attending a party. They sustained broken legs and ankles and sprains.

In the same year, seven people were reported injured in Virginia Beach when a second story deck on a house gave way.

Decks deteriorate if they are not maintained, posing dangers to those who gather on them. Recently, 24 people were injured, two of them critically, when a deck collapsed in Emerald Island, North Carolina.

The deck was constructed in the 1980s. Local officials found nails that were nearly three decades old could not cope with the weight of the people standing on the deck.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Deck Collapses?

Several parties can potentially be held liable for deck collapses. They include:

1 The Homeowner

A homeowner has a duty to ensure that the premises is safe before inviting visitors by eliminating obvious hazards. Part of this duty includes making sure that the deck was not in a state of disrepair, or was sturdy enough to handle all the people that were going to be on it.

2 A Builder

A builder can be held liable for injuries if the deck did not comply with building codes or it was incorrectly constructed.

3 A Property Management Association

The managing company of an apartment complex or another building may be held liable for lapses in maintenance that caused a deck to collapse.

4 A Local Authority

If decks at a public housing complex or a civic building collapse, a local authority could bear the responsibility.

Lawsuits Over Deck Collapses in Virginia

In June 2018, Virginia Lawyers Weekly reported on a case in Halifax Circuit Court, Virginia that involved the total collapse of a deck.

A tenant invited a friend to a rented home. The friend and the tenant were on the deck when it collapsed. The friend suffered severe leg injuries and was signed off work on disability.

The injured friend later learned the tenant requested the landlord, who was also a contractor, to inspect and repair the deck following concerns it was sagging away from the house. The report stated the landlord walked to the rear of the house, looked at the deck and told the tenant there was nothing to worry about. The plaintiff sued both the landlord and the landlord’s construction company based on the conversation.

The case was resolved for $300,000, at a mandatory settlement conference. The figure was the limit of the available coverage.

Limitations on a Landlord’s Liability in a Virginia Deck Collapse Case

There are limitations on the liability of homeowners and landlords for injuries caused by deck collapses in Virginia. A homeowner must either have had actual knowledge of a defect, or the problem must have existed for a sufficient length of time for the homeowner to notice it while exercising ordinary care.

There are further obstacles when a tenant sues a landlord. Under Virginia law, the landlord is not liable to a tenant for failing to make a repair to premises that is leased and is under the exclusive possession and control of the tenant. This restriction on landlord liability was outlined in the 2007 case of Isbell v. Commercial Inv. Assoc.

In other words, a landlord merely has a duty to maintain parts of a leased property that are reserved for the common use of tenants in a reasonable condition. The landlord only has a duty to use reasonable care if the property is entered to make repairs.

 A tenant who is injured by a deck collapse likely will have little success in making a claim against his landlord if the deck is within the part of the property in his exclusive possession and control. There is an exception to the rule if the collapse was caused by a latent defect that the landlord was aware of when he leased the premises.

Hire a Virginia Deck Collapse Lawyer

Virginia and other states are seeing more and more cases of deck collapses that end up in the courts. These accidents can be sudden, unexpected and devastating. If you have been hurt in a deck collapse, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. The Smith Law Center has secured results of up to $60 million. The attorneys at the Smith Law Center have the experience, training, and knowledge to help you get the justice you deserve. Contact us at (757) 244-7000 for a no-cost consultation and to learn what your recovery options are.

 

 

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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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Use the simple form below to send a message directly to our lawyers. We will respond within 1 hour or less during business hours.
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