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Motorcycle Helmet Safety Laws in Virginia


Not all states require motorcyclists to wear helmets. Virginia does. Although some riders object to wearing helmets, safety studies suggest they reduce the chances of sustaining a fatal brain injury.

Statistically, accidents are more likely to claim the lives of motorcyclists. Even those who survive bike wrecks can be left with terrible injuries. A helmet is no guarantee you will emerge unscathed from a bike crash but it will increase your odds of survival.

Many motorcyclists are killed and seriously injured by car, truck, van, and SUV drivers who fail to see them. It’s important to hire a Virginia trial injury lawyer who will fight for your rights after a motorcycle accident.

What are Virginia’s Motorcycle Safety Laws?

Virginia enacted § 46.2-910 in 2006. The law states riders must wear a face shield, goggles or safety glasses or have a windscreen. Both operators and passengers must wear helmets. The law also applies to certain moped and scooter riders.

 However, operators and passengers riding on motorcycles with wheels of eight inches or less in diameter or on three-wheeled motorcycles or autocycles with non-removable roofs, windshields, and enclosed bodies are not required to wear protective helmets.

Windshields, face shields, glasses or goggles, and protective helmets worn by riders must meet or exceed the standards and specifications set out by the American National Standards Institute, Inc., the Snell Memorial Foundation, or the federal Department of Transportation.

The law states the requirement to wear helmets and other facial protection does not apply to riders or passengers in an organized parade held with permission of the Department of Transportation or a Virginia city when there is a police escort and speeds do not exceed 15 mph.

Motorcycle Helmet Safety Laws in Virginia – Evidence Helmets Save Lives

Most safety agencies agree motorcycle helmets save lives and protect riders from more serious injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmets saved an estimated 1,859 lives in 2016.

The CDC states 802 more people would have survived that year if all motorcyclists wore helmets. The United States would save $1 billion in economic costs if all riders wore helmets.

The CDC states helmets reduce the risk of death by 37 percent and the risk of a head injury by 69 percent. Studies show as many as 75 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve head and brain injuries. Rotational forces on the brain are the main cause of deaths in biker accidents.

Do All States Require Riders to Wear Helmets?

Motorcycle helmet laws vary dramatically from state to state. Fewer states require them than was the case 50 years ago

At present, 19 states and the District of Columbia have universal helmet laws. These require all riders to wear a helmet.

A further 28 states have less strict laws requiring only some motorcyclists to wear a helmet. The states of Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire have no helmet laws.

A federal law enacted in 1967 required states to enact helmet use laws to qualify for highway building programs and certain federal funds. Almost all states enacted universal helmet laws by the early 1970s. However, in 1976, the states successfully lobbied Congress to prevent the Department of Transportation from imposing financial penalties on states without helmet laws.

 There is some evidence repealing these laws led to more injuries and deaths. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported higher personal injury payouts in Michigan after it repealed its helmet law.

 It reported the average insurance payment on a motorcycle injury claim increased substantially after the state weakened its helmet use law to exempt most riders in 2012.

Will Failure to Wear a Helmet Affect a Personal Injury Claim in Virginia?

 State law points out the failure to wear a helmet, safety goggles, a protective helmet or a face shield will not amount to negligence in a civil proceeding. Riders who were injured due to the fault of another party in Virginia can still sue if they were not wearing a helmet.

Nevertheless, you should wear a helmet and other protective gear because it is the law and it will improve your chances of surviving a motorcycle accident or escaping without serious head injuries.

There are many causes of motorcycle injuries in Virginia. Riders are subjected to intense forces. Head injuries are one of the most common causes of fatal motorcycle accidents.

Call an Experienced Virginia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you or a family member has been involved in an accident, you will need to recover as much as possible for your injuries. Some riders never make a full recovery from a traumatic brain injury. The Smith Law Center has represented many people who suffered serious head injuries. Call us for a free consultation 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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