Military Housing Lawyers
Military Housing Negligence Claims
Military service members and their families—including their children—have the right to safe, habitable military housing. Unfortunately, many private military housing companies fail to provide suitable housing. All too often, this puts service members and their families at risk of harmful exposure to toxic substances, such as mold. It can also lead to injuries, illnesses, and other serious conditions as a result of substandard living conditions.
Led by Attorney Rob Metro, Bauer & Metro, P.C. provides experienced and personalized legal representation to military service members and their families in complex military housing negligence claims. We have a proven track record of success in this unique area of law; Attorney Rob Metro has brought numerous individual claims and litigated several noteworthy cases, including class actions at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina.
Fear of retaliation discourages many military families from asking questions and making claims. And although Congress enacted measures to protect military families, intimidation is still a factor. Before hiring a lawyer for your military housing negligence claim, you should make sure that they have experience handling these types of cases. Military housing claims tend to be extremely complex. Your lawyer should have a good understanding of the various laws and regulations that apply to your case. Attorney Rob Metro is especially sensitive to these concerns, and all communications are kept 100% confidential.
Examples of Military Housing Negligence
Military housing negligence can and does take many forms, from failing to promptly and properly remediate mold to delaying repairs or conducting inadequate maintenance.
Some examples of common issues resulting from military housing negligence include:
- Mold: Mold growth due to water leaks, poor ventilation, or other factors can lead to respiratory problems, allergies, and other health issues.
- Water damage: Leaks, flooding, or plumbing issues can cause structural damage, mold growth, and serious health risks.
- Poor air quality: Inadequate ventilation, improper filtration, or contaminants can result in respiratory problems and other health concerns.
- Pest infestation: Insects, rodents, or other pests can pose significant health risks to residents and damage property.
- Lead paint: The presence of lead-based paint in older housing units can lead to lead poisoning, which is particularly dangerous for young children.
- Toxic chemical exposure: Exposure to hazardous chemicals or substances can have long-term health effects on military servicemembers and their families.
- Broken HVAC systems: Inefficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems can impact comfort, air quality, energy efficiency, and health.
- Substandard electricity: Electrical issues, such as faulty wiring or inadequate electrical systems, can pose fire hazards or a serious risk of electrical shocks.
- Slippery or uneven flooring: Unsafe flooring conditions can result in slip and fall accidents, which may lead to serious injuries.
- Fire safety hazards: Lack of proper fire alarms and extinguishers or non-compliance with safety codes can increase the risk of fire-related incidents.
These issues can have significant impacts on the health and well-being of military families. They may experience respiratory problems, allergies, illnesses, mental stress, financial burdens due to medical expenses or the need to seek alternative housing, and disruptions to family life.
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These options may include:
- Filing a complaint: Depending on your situation, you can report the issues to the appropriate military housing office or chain of command for investigation and resolution.
- Legal action: If the housing provider fails to address the issues, you may consider consulting with a lawyer who is experienced in military housing claims to explore the possibility of filing a lawsuit seeking compensation for damages.
- Military housing dispute resolution programs: Some branches of the military have established dispute resolution programs to assist in resolving complaints and disputes between military families and housing providers.
If you wish to file a military housing negligence claim, it is very important that you take several steps to protect yourself and your right to fair compensation. Taking these steps can also help improve the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Before filing a military housing negligence claim, you should:
- Document everything; take pictures of the defective or dangerous condition and write down any symptoms you or your family have experienced in relation to the condition.
- If you suspect that your military housing has mold, hire a professional for testing. At-home testing kits typically do not hold up in court.
- If you or your family members have any symptoms of mold exposure, be sure to get tested for mold sensitivity. This can significantly help your case later.
- Keep copies of all work orders, repair requests, and other communications with your landlord and/or the military housing company. When possible, try to communicate in writing.
- Gather copies of your medical records. If you are unable to obtain copies of these records, our military housing attorneys can assist you.
- Save all social media posts, emails, texts, voicemails, photographs, and other evidence that may be relevant to your case.
You should also always talk to a lawyer before accepting compensation from your landlord. Usually, once you have accepted compensation, you cannot request more, even if your injuries are worse than you originally thought, or your illness progresses.
Below are some things you should do when you wish to file a military housing negligence claim:
- Take photographs of housing defects, such as mold, wood rot, structural defects, etc.
- If you suspect mold or contamination, hire a professional to conduct testing. Store-purchased testing kits do not hold up in court. Attorney Rob Metro can help you select a local expert. Your housing provider will likely not provide testing for you.
- If you have symptoms or have been diagnosed with an illness related to mold exposure, get tested for mold sensitivity. Testing is widely available and will likely help your case later. Remember, it's not good enough just because you "suspect" mold; your lawyer must help you prove exposure and relate it to your injury.
- Gather copies of your medical records so your lawyer can review them. If you do not have the records, we can order them for you.
- Save a copy of all your work orders and repair requests.
- Take down the names of any maintenance workers who come to your house.
- Save any emails and communications with your landlord.
- Speak with a lawyer before you accept compensation from your landlord. In most cases, you cannot come back later and ask for more.
- Save a copy of your lease so your lawyer can examine it.
- Save any social media posts that discuss mold, contamination, or housing complaints.
- Do NOT delete any photographs, emails, social media posts, or other evidence that may be relevant to your case later. Save all of it.
- If you interview a lawyer, ask him or her what their experience is with military housing claims. Ask specific questions and listen carefully. If they have little or no experience, don't hire them.
At Bauer & Metro, P.C., we have a long history of success in these types of claims. Attorney Rob Metro and our team of experienced military housing lawyers can listen to your story, learn about what you have been through, and share how they can help during a free and confidential consultation.
Attorney Dustin Whetsel has held several legal positions in the Marine Corps such as:
- First Marine Judge Advocate assigned as Victims’ Legal Counsel at Parris Island
- Deputy Staff Judge Advocate providing legal advice to the MCAS Beaufort Commanding Officer and to the 10 additional commanders located aboard MCAS Beaufort
- Military Justice Officer responsible for prosecuting all courts-martial on behalf of the MCAS Beaufort Commanding Officer and 10 additional commanders aboard MCAS Beaufort
He is also a decorated Veteran, being awarded with:
- Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
- Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
Can a Military Command Take Action Against Someone for Bringing a Claim?
In most instances, no; retribution against military servicemembers who bring housing claims has become off-limits in most cases. Congress and the Department of Defense have been crystal-clear that retribution against soldiers will not be tolerated.
Remember, military housing claims are typically made against private corporations who manage housing, not the federal government. Retribution seems to be far less common these days than it was years ago. Military housing companies know full well that harassing tenants will make their case in court even harder. Any forms of harassment or retribution after making a claim will be immediately reported to higher command and local legislators.
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