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Mesothelioma Linked to Asbestos Exposure


It’s common knowledge that asbestos is potentially-deadly to human health. Although this dangerous product has been stripped out of buildings, ships and other places across the country, new cases of asbestos-related illness are being diagnosed every day. Mesothelioma linked to asbestos exposure remains a source of lawsuits across America.

At the Smith Law Center, we help people diagnosed with terminal illnesses from no fault of their own. These people often worked with asbestos or were exposed to it in homes. We are committed to fighting for the rights of those who were injured by asbestos.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring material. For decades, its heat-resistant qualities meant it was used in industry and homes. Pure asbestos is an effective heat insulator. Manufacturers mixed it with other materials like plastic and cement to make them more resilient. As well as being resistant to heat, asbestos is a barrier to electricity and chemical corrosion.

The use of asbestos dates back 4,500 years. Asbestos was widely used in the shipbuilding industry in Hampton Roads and in other trades. The U.S. military used asbestos extensively until 1975. It was also widely used on the railroads and in building construction.

By the early 20th century, the link between asbestos and illness was apparent. In 1918, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics discovered an abnormally high risk of early death among asbestos workers.

The deaths were caused by asbestos fibers. Asbestos contains millions of microscopic fibers. They can break apart and become airborne. When they are inhaled, the fibers lodge in the lungs, causing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.

The nature of asbestos made the consequences of exposure particularly deadly. Because fibers travel through the air, people near the material are harmed as well as those working directly with it.  Former workers are still being diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases decades after exposure. The lawsuits for exposure to asbestos in Virginia and elsewhere are ongoing.

Despite the many warnings, asbestos continued to be widely used in U.S. industry until the 1980s. Many different industrial products, including furnace insulation materials, pipes, floor tiles, shingles for roofing, millboard, paints and other coating materials contained deadly asbestos.

What is Mesothelioma Linked to Asbestos Exposure?

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Even today, as many as 3,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. There is no known cure for this deadly form of cancer.

Mesothelioma affects the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of the body’s internal organs. Mesothelioma is most likely to occur in the lungs. People who develop mesothelioma have almost invariably been exposed to asbestos.

When people inhale asbestos fibers, about two-thirds of the fibers are breathed out from the body. Some of the fibers remain and become lodged in the lining of the lungs (known as the pleura), the heart and the abdominal cavity. The tiny fibers cause scarring, genetic changes and other inflammation that can develop into mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma often does not develop until years after exposure to asbestos. In some cases, people have been diagnosed with cancer 40 years after they worked with asbestos. Up to 80 percent of cases of mesothelioma are work-related.

Bringing Lawsuits Over Mesothelioma Linked to Asbestos Exposure

The earliest lawsuits brought by the victims of exposure to asbestos were filed in the 1960s. Asbestos lawsuits are unusual in that a victim may take so long to develop symptoms. That does not mean the victims won’t win substantial monetary damages, either from a company that manufactured or installed the asbestos. However, these cases can be complex. Often companies have folded or been taken over. A Virginia asbestos exposure lawyer will track down who is responsible for your illness.

Although an original manufacturer may no longer be in business, a victim or the family of a victim can often make a claim from an insurance company or an asbestos victims’ trust fund that has taken over liability for the company.

How Long Do People With Mesothelioma Have to Sue?

Mesothelioma often develops 10 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. State laws known as statutes of limitations typically give people one to five years from the diagnosis or discovery of the disease to bring an action. The Statute of Limitations in Virginia gives people who have been injured two years to sue. This means it’s important to act quickly once you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

When a mesothelioma victim has already died, his or her spouse and other heirs typically have two years in Virginia from the date of death to bring a wrongful death action. These cases can result in the recovery of substantial damages.

Mesothelioma victims do not typically join in class actions lawsuits such as those against the makers of dangerous drugs because each person’s medical history and condition is different.  Mesothelioma cases must be filed individually.

Contact a Virginia Mesothelioma Attorney

The lawyers at the Smith Law Center are familiar with asbestos-related mesothelioma lawsuits. This is a painful and terrible disease with no known cure. Often companies continued to use asbestos products for many years despite being aware of the devastating effect they had on the health of workers. It’s important to hold these companies liable for their inaction.

The trial lawyers are the Smith Law Center are committed to helping the injured. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about a possible lawsuit related to mesothelioma linked to asbestos exposure. Call (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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