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Industrial Accidents in Virginia


All workplaces are dangerous. However, industrial accidents in Virginia are more likely to occur in heavy manufacturing or on building sites. Every year, scores of injuries occur at shipyards in Hampton Roads, at chemical plants, or at construction sites.

We hope you never suffer an industrial accident. If you are involved in an industrial accident in Virginia, you may be able to claim workers’ compensation or to sue your employer in a personal injury lawsuit.

If you or a family member is injured in an industrial accident, you should contact an injury lawyer. At the Smith Law Center, our attorneys for the injured have been helping the victims of industrial accidents in Virginia and elsewhere for decades.

What Are the Most Dangerous Workplaces in Virginia?

Some jobs are more dangerous than others. Every year, the government publishes a list of the most deadly jobs. However, accidents occur in workplaces that we don’t always associate with injuries. For instance, the healthcare industry sees many injuries caused by lifting and wheeling around patients.

In 2018, USA Today listed the 25 most dangerous jobs in America. Logging was once again highlighted as the most deadly job.

The industry had a fatal injury rate of 135.9 per 100,000 workers in 2016. Logging is very demanding and accidents often occur in remote areas where it takes hours for help to get to injured workers.

Commercial fishing is the second most dangerous profession. Virginia has commercial fisheries in places like Hampton and on the Chesapeake Bay.

This is physical work that can lead to back and neck injuries. Fishers and related workers are often exposed to dangerous weather conditions at sea.  Government statistics found there were 86 deaths for every 100,000 full-time workers in the fishing industry in 2016, the second-highest of any job.

Other professions listed in the top 10 most dangerous are pilots, roofers, steelworkers, refuse collectors, truck drivers, and farmworkers.

When accidents occur, a manager, building owner, or employer may be held liable for failing to provide a safe working environment.

Types of Industrial Accident and Injury

Falls and Slips

Falls from scaffolding and slips on uneven or slippery surfaces are among the most common types of industrial accidents. Falls account for more than a third of all deaths in construction, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Roofers face particular dangers from falls. Employers and managers are responsible for giving workers proper training to prevent falls and for providing equipment like harnesses and non-slip footwear to prevent musculoskeletal injuries.

Falling objects

Falling objects are another significant cause of industrial accidents. In industries such as shipbuilding, very heavy objects are moved around. Even an item as small as a hammer falling from a scaffolding on a building site can cause a serious or fatal head injury. Workers should be trained in the appropriate placement of objects and the correct operation of cranes.

Electrocution and Electric shock

Electricity is a potential hazard in most industrial settings. Electricians face the highest risk but we have seen cases in Virginia in which landscapers have been killed or seriously injured when they came into contact with live wires. Electrocution and electrical shocks occur in a wide range of industrial settings in Virginia.

Chemical Burns and Exposure to Toxic Substances

Many industries use hazardous chemicals. Oil workers, sanitation personnel, railroad workers, and tanker truck drivers can face exposure to chemicals during accidents. As well as chemical burns, hazardous materials like chlorine are linked to potentially-fatal respiratory problems. An employer must label all chemicals and provide adequate training.

Improper Lifting

Workers in a wide range of industries are required to lift heavy loads on a daily basis. On occasions, employers or managers demand workers lift objects that are too heavy. Industries such as healthcare see large numbers of back injuries caused by repetitive lifting. Over time, back, spinal, and arm and leg injuries may occur from lifting. Employers should train workers on how to use supportive equipment and correct lifting techniques.

How is workplace safety regulated?

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees the safety of more than 130 million workers each year.

OSHA was created on December 29, 1970. President Richard Nixon set up the agency by signing The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, also known as the Williams-Steiger Act in honor of the two men who fought for its passage.

Injuries and deaths in the workplace rose rapidly in the 1960s, leading to a public outcry. Industrial accidents in Virginia and elsewhere are reported to OSHA which investigates the circumstances. Employers must report all workplace injuries to OSHA.

Personal Injury Litigation and Workers’ Compensation

Industrial accidents in Virginia often leave terrible injuries or deaths. In many cases, the negligence of an employer, a building site manager or a contractor may have contributed to an injury. You should talk to an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer about liability.

Injured workers may also receive workers’ compensation after an accident under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. This is a no-fault system meaning you can receive workers’ compensation payments even if you were responsible or partly responsible for your injury.

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission states that injured workers should report an accident with injuries to their employer immediately. A claim must be filed with the Commission no later than two years after the accident. Workers’ compensation is also available for a work-related disease.

Your employer should file a report of the accident or the occupational disease with the Commission within 10 days of the accident or the notification.

Workers’ compensation claims are complicated and involve considerable paperwork. A Virginia injury lawyer can help you make a compensation claim. Often employers will seek to deny these claims.

Contact a Virginia Industrial Accident Attorney

If you or a family member has been hurt in an industrial accident in Virginia or elsewhere, you should contact our injury lawyers as soon as possible. We have helped many injured workers. Often employers fail to protect the rights of those who work for them. Call 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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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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