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Suing for a Dog Bite Injury


Dog bites can be extremely serious. As well as the initial pain and discomfort, dog bites can become septic and result in additional complications. In extreme cases, victims have died or suffered amputations. Our Virginia dog bite lawyers represent people who have been injured by dogs due to the negligence of an owner or another person.

When Can an Owner or Another Person Be Held Liable for a Dog Bite?

Virginia may hold an owner or another entity legally liable for a dog bite if that person’s negligence or violation of an animal control ordinance resulted in the injury. However, Virginia does not have a strict liability dog bite statute. That makes these cases more tricky and worthy of the attention of a Hampton dog bite injury attorney who has fought these cases.

Lawsuits for dog bite injuries may be brought in Virginia when the animal’s owner or keeper is negligent.

Negligence and Dog Bites in Virginia

In Virginia, the owners of dogs must use “reasonable care” in restraining and controlling their animals, whether or not the owner is aware that the dog is dangerous.

The victim of a dog bite may be able to recover compensation if he or she can show that the injury resulted from the owner’s failure to use reasonable care to restrain or handle a dog. For example, when an owner leaves the gate of a property open and a dog escapes and bites a child he has failed to use reasonable care.

If you are hurt by a dog you may be able to show negligence if the owner or keeper of the animal failed to obey a relevant leash law or ordinance. These cases are known as “negligence per se.”

The owner or keeper’s violation of the leash law may be enough to establish negligence. The law considers the failure of the owner to follow a leash law as a failure to take “reasonable care.”

What’s is Virginia’s “One Bite” Rule for Dog Injuries?

People who are seeking compensation over a dog bite may be hampered by Virginia’s “one bite” rule for these injuries. This means a canine’s owner is only liable for injuries if he or she knew the dog was dangerous or aggressive. It’s known as the “one bite” rule because the owner typically must know the animal has bitten at least one other person previously.

This is an archaic law with its roots in common law developed in England centuries ago. Hundreds of years ago, many animals wandered the streets of England and bites and attacks were commonplace. The judges held the owner of an animal would not be held liable unless it had bitten someone previously.

A minority of states retain the “one bite rule.” However, most states have modified it with their own statutes. States that modified the rule typically have a “strict liability” rules for dog bites which hold the owner liable for injuries irrespective of whether the dog has bitten anyone previously.

Even in states like Virginia that retain the “one bite rule,” the victims of dog bites are permitted to present other types of evidence to show the owner was aware or should have known the dog that carried out the attack was dangerous or aggressive.

The victim of a dog bite does not necessarily have to prove that the dog attacked previously but he or she must show that the animal has a propensity to be aggressive and dangerous.

What Can You Recover in a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Virginia?

People who have been injured due to the negligence of an owner or the violation of a local leash law can seek compensation for a number of types of losses. These are:

  • Lost past and future earnings
  • Medical expenses and other related costs
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma

 

Dog bite cases can be tricky given the restrictions in Virginia. It makes sense to hire an attorney who has previously fought these cases.

At times, people are hesitant to bring lawsuits against a neighbor or a friend whose dog has bitten them or a family member. However, any lawsuit related to a dog bite is brought against the dog owner’s homeowners’ insurance rather than his or her personal assets.

What Are the Most Dangerous Dog Breeds in Virginia?

Recently, InsideDogsWorld listed the most dangerous species of dogs. The list of the top five breeds most likely to bite and attack should come as no surprise. They are:

  1. Bull Mastiff
  2. Dobermann Pinscher
  3. German Shepherd
  4. Rottweiler
  5. Pit Bull

 

Hire an Experienced Virginia Dog Bite Lawyer

Dog bites can cause terrible injuries. Attacks by dogs may even prove to be fatal. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog attack, you may face an uphill task in holding an owner accountable for injuries. Our Hampton, VA dog bite lawyers have litigated many of these complex cases. Please contact us today for help.

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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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We are one of Virginia’s largest and most successful law firms.

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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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