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Accidents and Injuries at Virginia Hotels


Every year, thousands of people arrive in Virginia and stay at hotels whether in Virginia Beach, Hampton or Colonial Williamsburg. They expect to have a good time but, on occasions, accidents and injuries occur at Virginia hotels.

Visitors are not always aware that hotels, resorts or bed and breakfasts owe them a duty of care. If a hotel visitor is injured due to no fault of their own a hotel may be held liable.

People who are hurt at hotels or other lodgings should consider talking to a premises liability lawyer at the Smith Law Center.

Types of Injuries at Virginia Hotels, Resorts, and Motels

Although hotel guests have a right to expect a safe environment when they are away from home, there are many things that can go wrong at hotels. They include:

  • Slip and fall accidents on polished floors of hotels and motels
  • Swimming pool accidents and drownings
  • Electric shocks from appliances in rooms
  • Falling window dressings or furniture
  • Falls from defective hotel balconies
  • Injuries from fires at hotels and motels started due to negligence
  • Elevator or escalator accidents
  • Food poisoning and other infections
  • Bed bug bites

 

The Legal Duty Owed by Hotels, Resorts and Motels to Guests

Businesses in Virginia Beach, Hampton, Richmond or elsewhere invite you to stay at their establishments as a guest. The law considers you an invitee. Hotels, motels and resorts owe you a higher duty of care than someone who arrives to do business or a trespasser.

Under Virginia law, a hotel is defined as “any place offering to the public for compensation transitory lodging or sleeping accommodations, overnight or otherwise, including but not limited to facilities known by varying nomenclatures or designations as hotels, motels, travel lodges, tourist homes, or hostels.”

A hotel has a legal duty to exercise reasonable care to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition. The duty extends to warning guests of any hidden dangers that are not obvious like slip hazards on floors or on stairs. When floor cleaning is taking place, a hotel should place signs warning guests of a slippery area.  

The duty does not extend to warning of dangers that are obvious or reasonably apparent.

Hotel management must have been given notice of an unsafe condition. However, this will include instances in which a condition existed for long enough for a hotel to discover it in the exercise of ordinary care. If a balcony was unstable over a period of time, the hotel owners and managers will likely not be able to successfully argue they were unaware of the hazard because they should have known about it.

Hotels, motels and resorts have a duty to maintain stairways and elevators in a safe condition and to provide adequate lighting, security, locks and to control infestations.

Hotels are also responsible for their employees and for screening them before they are hired. Under Virginia law, a hotel owner must “exercise due care and diligence in providing honest and competent employees and to take reasonable precautions to protect the persons and property of the guests of the hotel.”

This duty extends to training. If a hotel employs a lifeguard at a pool, he or she must be able to swim and be trained to perform CPR procedures. Staff in a fitness room must know how to safely operate equipment.

Although hotels are responsible for providing a secure environment, they are not typically responsible for warning or protecting guests against criminal acts by third parties, except under limited circumstances.

What Action Should You Take After Accidents and Injuries at Virginia Hotels?

If you are hurt at a Virginia hotel, it’s important to act fast. Hotels may seek to conceal evidence of their negligence to cover their backs.

1 Receive prompt medical treatment;

Obtain medical treatment as soon as possible. Delaying may worsen your condition or lead a hotel to claim your condition was not as serious as you claim.

2 Get photos of the scene

Unlike after a car crash with injuries, you cannot assume a police report will be made after a hotel accident. The police will, however, attend serious accidents at hotels and you should call 911 if you are seriously injured. It’s important for the victim to document the scene by taking pictures. If you slip on a wet floor, document it before the hotel management clean up the spill. Take a picture or a video of a rickety railing.

3 Take Down Names

Get names and contact details of any witnesses to the accident including guests and hotel employees. It may be impossible to track them down later on. If you are not too seriously injured, film video testimony on your phone.

4 Save physical evidence

Save any physical evidence related to an accident like clothing and shoes that may be relevant in a slip-and-fall accident.

5 Make a Formal Report

Make a formal report to hotel management detailing the accident. Do not sign anything describing the facts or circumstances of the accident. Give only factual details about the location and time of a Virginia hotel accident or injury.

6 Talk to a Virginia injury lawyer

Premises liability cases can be tough to fight. A Virginia injury lawyer will help you secure key evidence such as video evidence from the hotel’s cameras to support your case.

Talk to a Virginia Hotel Injury Lawyer

People who are injured at hotels, hostels, resorts or other establishments often face a dilemma about whether to talk to an attorney or deal directly with an insurance company.

If your injuries were serious, you should talk to a lawyer. A Virginia hotel injury lawyer will offer a free consultation so there is no upfront charge. The attorney will only be paid after a successful settlement or trial verdict. The attorney will take over dealing with the insurance company.

If you talk to the hotel’s insurance company adjuster, you are likely to receive an initial offer that is less than you are entitled to. Be cautious about settling as soon as possible. You should not sign any statements about your accident or injuries. Tell an adjuster, you will be talking to an attorney who will be in touch if you are pressurized.

If you are from out of state, you will need to talk to an attorney licensed in the state where the accident happened.

The Smith Law Center has achieved results of up to $60 million for trials as well as the largest slip-and-fall verdict in Virginia history. Call us today 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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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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