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Who Can be Sued in a Trucking Accident Lawsuit?


Trucking accidents cause some of the most serious injuries on the roads of Virginia and elsewhere. Often drivers or passengers in smaller vehicles sustain terrible injuries or fail to survive the crash. The issue of which parties can be sued after a commercial vehicle accident is more complicated than after a car wreck.

As experienced Hampton-based trucking accident attorneys, we are often asked who can be sued in a trucking accident lawsuit. The answer is not always straightforward and can involve multiple parties.

A lawsuit may be brought against a number of parties after a trucking wreck depending on the nature of the accident. Even when a truck driver is clearly to blame for the accident with injuries, liability may not end there. Under the law of “respondeat superior,” an employer trucking company can be held liable for the actions of its drivers as long as they are in the scope of his or her employment and not deliberate.

For this reason, lawsuits involving commercial vehicles often lead to larger settlements and jury verdicts than those involving private vehicles. Trucking companies typically have more insurance coverage available.

Suing for Wrongful Death After a Virginia Tractor-Trailer Accident

Wrongful death lawsuits are often brought after tractor-trailer accidents. Our trial lawyers take on these cases in Virginia and across the country. Tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When these behemoths crash into smaller vehicles, the occupants of cars can suffer serious and fatal injuries.

Most fatalities in large truck crashes are the occupants of passenger vehicles, states the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Trucks often weigh 20 or 30 times as much as passenger cars and have greater ground clearance. Crashes in which smaller vehicles underride trucks may often cause terrible and fatal head injuries to those in cars and SUVs.

Heavy big rigs also take a long distance to stop.  Loaded tractor-trailers take 20-40 percent longer than cars to stop. On wet and slippery roads, tractor-trailers can take even longer distances to stop, particularly if there is a maintenance issue with their brakes.

Truck driver fatigue is another serious issue on the highways of Virginia and elsewhere in the United States.  Federal hours-of-service regulations are intended to protect other road users but are often criticized for being too lax. Truckers can drive up to 11 hours at a stretch. Many violate the hours-of-service regulations.

If you lose a loved one in a trucking accident or are seriously injured, it’s important to hire an experienced Virginia trucking lawyer to identify which parties can be sued and how to maximize your payout.

Identifying Which Parties can be Sued in a Trucking Accident Lawsuit

Parties a lawsuit can be brought against include the following. Often more than one party can be sued.

1 The truck driver

Truck drivers cause most big rig wrecks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study linked driver error to 87 percent of 963 18-wheeler crashes studied.

2 A Trucking Company

A trucking company may be held liable for the actions of its drivers in many cases. As well as the doctrine of “respondeat superior” which is a Latin phrase meaning “let the superior make answer,” a trucking company may have failed to carry out a thorough background check for medical issues, past DUIs or other traffic convictions.

3 The Owner of a Truck or a Trailer

The owner of a truck or trailer may be named in a lawsuit. In some cases, trucks are poorly maintained. A failure of tires or brakes can cause a trucking wreck with injuries or deaths.

4 Loading Companies

Specialist loading companies are used for tractor-trailers. They must comply with exacting federal regulations to make sure trucks are not overloaded and unbalanced. If a truck tips over and causes an accident or the cargo spills onto the road causing injuries or deaths, a loading company may be sued.

5 A Freight Broker

A freight broker is the middleman in a trucking contract.  If a company wants to ship goods it will use the services of freight broker. The broker may be sued for failing to exercise due diligence if it hires a trucking company with a bad safety record.

6 The Manufacturer of a Truck or a Part

A defect on a truck may cause a serious accident. Faulty brakes and tires cause many big rig wrecks. A vehicle manufacturer or a tire company may be named in a product liability action. 

7 A Maintenance Facility

If a truck was poorly maintained or a serious defect was missed, a repair shop or a maintenance facility may be held liable for injuries or deaths.

What Damages Can Be Claimed in Trucking Accidents in Virginia?

A truck accident victim may be eligible to recover damages for their losses, including:

  1. Past and present medical expenses;
  2. Past and present pain and suffering;
  3. Lost income
  4. Reduced lifetime earnings due to injuries
  5. Property damage
  6. Punitive damages such as when a trucker was driving drunk.
  7. Loss of household services.

 

Contact an Experienced Trucking Accident Injury Lawyer Today

The Lawyers at the Smith Law Center have won large verdicts and settlements for car drivers and passengers who were injured by truck drivers and for truck drivers. See our results page for more details and 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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