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Workers Compensation Claims After Workplace Accidents in Virginia

Workers injured in Virginia may be able to claim compensation under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. Unlike a personal injury claim, an employer does not have to be at fault in these claims. However, employers often seek to deny or restrict workers’ compensation claims after workplace accidents in Virginia. You should hire an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in these circumstances.

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act was enacted to remove litigation from the courts. However, this is not always the case and it often makes sense to hire a workers comp lawyer in Virginia.

What To Do If You Are Injured on the Job in Virginia

Virginia law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover employees who are injured. Workers’ compensation is described by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission as a “tradeoff for both employers and employees.”

The system shields the employer from a civil lawsuit and provides “prompt but limited benefits,” to injured workers.

If you suffer an injury on the job you should:

  1. Report your injury immediately to your employer. Failure to report an injury within 30 days can lead to the denial of benefits.
  2. File a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission no later than two years after the accident.

In the case of disputes over workers’ compensation payouts, seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Who is Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Virginia?

Virginia law requires employers who regularly employ more than two part-time or full-time employees to carry Virginia workers’ compensation coverage. A business that hires subcontractors to perform the same trade, or to fulfill a contract, must include the subcontractor’s employees in determining the total number of employees.

Coverage is mandatory. The commission states there are no waivers or exceptions.

What is an Employee for the Purposes of Virginia Compensation Claims?

All of the following are considered employees, according to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.

  • Corporate officers and LLC managers, even when they do not perform regular work or gain a regular salary.
  • Family members who work for a business
  • Undocumented workers
  • Temporary part-time, and seasonal workers
  • Workers for non-profits, churches, and charities
  • Minors

What Types of Compensation Are Your Eligible for Under Virginia Workers’ Compensation Laws?

Workers’ compensation covers a number of different types of benefits. They include:

  • Lifetime Medical Benefits: Workers who are hurt on the job may receive payment for expenses related to their injury or occupational diseases like medical expenses not covered by insurance, prescriptions and transportation costs.
  • Wage Loss Replacement: Full or partial wage loss replacement for medically authorized disability from work is covered by workers’ compensation.
  • Permanent Partial Disability: compensation for the loss of the use of a body part, amputation, hearing or vision loss, disease or bodily disfigurement or scarring is available.
  • Permanent Total Disability: Workers’ comp covers lifetime wage replacement for the loss of legs, feet, arms, eyes, paralysis or disability due to a severe brain injury
  • Death Benefits: If an accident at work leads to a fatality, surviving spouses, children, or certain other dependents can claim for wage loss replacement benefits and the payment of funeral and transportation expenses
  • Other Benefits: mileage reimbursement may also be claimed.

Workers’ Compensation Must be in the Course of their Employment

Injured employees must be acting within the course of their employment to qualify for benefits. Although this is a simple phrase, it has resulted in considerable litigation. Some cases are cut and dry. If you are driving to work or have an accident over lunch at the cafeteria, you are not usually in the course of your employment and cannot claim workers’ compensation.

However, employers will sometimes attempt to claim workers were acting outside the course of their employment if they were not focused on their job or not following their job description.

Some workers made successful workers’ compensation claims when taking part in sporting activities organized by their employers. If attendance is mandatory, they are more likely to be successful in making a claim.

Can Workers Claim for Occupational Diseases in Virginia?

It is possible to make a claim for occupational diseases but not all cases are successful. Usually, this is an easy question to answer. Some medical conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome are a result of working conditions. However, they may also have other causes like a fall or a car accident. Exposure to dangerous chemicals or asbestos in the workplace can result in life-threatening conditions. However, an employer may dispute a claim by a worker that his or her illness was linked to the working environment.

Injured and ill workers can file under an injury by accident or an occupational disease theory if the origin is unclear. It often makes sense to hire a lawyer to fight your case.

Did a Doctor Inform you an Occupational Disease was Caused by Your Employment?

People who believe they have a work-related disease must get a doctor to back up their claim. The date of the diagnosis of a work-related disease equates to the date of the accident in an accident injury claim.

Can Contractors Claim Workers’ Compensation in Virginia?

Under Virginia law, independent contractors and subcontractors are not considered employees. This means their accidents or injuries are not covered by workers’ compensation. Proving an employer/employee relationship is not always straightforward.

Contact a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Attorney

At the Smith Law Center, we have worked with workers’ compensation claimants for years. We know many of the tricks used by employers to deny benefits. Please contact us for questions and help about your claim 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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