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Suing for Sexually Transmitted Disease

Contracting a sexually transmitted disease from a partner can be a disturbing and even devastating event. In some situations someone who has been infected by a partner may wish to pursue legal action to recover compensation for the cost of medical treatment. The merits of a lawsuit related to an STD will depend on the facts of the situation.

Theories of recovery for an STD

Because an STD is a type of personal injury, one must look first at whether negligence is an appropriate cause of action. Negligence involves a failure to exercise a degree of care that would be exercised under similar circumstances by a careful and prudent person. Someone who is aware that they have a sexually transmittable disease but does not disclose it to a partner may be committing an act of negligence. Given the right facts the infected person’s behavior could be so outrageous that it could justify a claim of gross negligence. Factors that might contribute to this analysis are the seriousness of the illness, the individual’s awareness of its transmissibility, and the particular facts surrounding the case.

If the defendant intentionally infected the plaintiff with an STD a claim of civil battery may be warranted. To successfully sue for battery the plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant acted with willful intent to cause the harm. Proving the defendant’s intent can be a challenge. Bear in mind that battery is also a crime.

Challenges related to bringing suit for STDs

Filing a civil lawsuit in connection with an STD is often not an easy choice to make, even if it is clearly supported by the facts. There are a number of reasons why this is true, including:

  • Privacy and embarrassment. One can expect every detail of the relationship between the plaintiff and defendant to be scrutinized by lawyers and the court. Because the facts of an STD’s transmission invariably involve highly personal details, many potential plaintiffs prefer to not pursue a case.
  • Problems of proof. Proving that a partner was the source of an STD can require piecing together a complicated and invasive set of facts. Plaintiffs who have had multiple sexual partners can expect that fact to become a focus of the defense, as it tries to shift the possibility of blame to other sources.
  • Proving damages. Lawsuits involving transmission of STDs usually relate to cases of incurable illnesses that have long-term health consequences. A disease that affects a person’s long-term health probably will involve substantial medical bills that can justify going to the expense of litigation. If the disease could be cured with conventional antibiotics simply may not have enough measurable damages to warrant filing suit. In some cases the plaintiff may have suffered severe mental anguish as a consequence of the STD, and that suffering may offer an independent form of injury that could justify litigation.

Talk to a personal injury lawyer about your situation

A personal injury attorney can help clarify the potential merits of a lawsuit. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has a long history of helping injured clients recover compensation. We pride ourselves on our caring, considerate approach to each case. For a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or ask us to call you through our contacts page.

Car Customization and Liability Risk

Customizing cars is a hobby almost as old as the automobile itself. The popularity of cable TV shows about custom shops, the availability of consumer aftermarket components, and the deep roots of American car culture combine to make custom cars an increasingly common sight on the road. Although customization is fun, its fans should take a moment to think about how it can affect their legal liability. There are a number of considerations worth bearing in mind.

  • Know your insurer’s position on customization.

If a custom modification causes an accident an insurer may not be willing to cover the resulting damages unless the insurance policy specifically allows for the custom work. Insurers like to know the details about the vehicles they insure. The vehicle identification number (VIN) provided to the insurer tells it much more than just the make and model of the car: it helps the insurer know exactly what the vehicle is equipped with and how much the vehicle is worth. A customization may alter the vehicle’s value but can also alter its performance. For example, installing an engine enhancer that increases horsepower could make the car more dangerous to drive. An insurer needs to know the kind of risk it is taking on so it can appropriately price its policies.

  • Installing aftermarket parts may complicate products liability protections.

When a consumer is injured as a consequence of design or manufacturing defects in a product the consumer can have the option to sue the manufacturer under a products liability theory. Changes to the stock configuration of the vehicle can free the manufacturer from responsibility. Instead, the manufacturer or installer of the custom part might be responsible. But determining who is at fault in such cases can be tricky, especially if the nature of the problem that caused the accident is difficult to determine.

  • Direct responsibility for unsafe modifications.

A hobbyist who does his or her own customization work often assumes the risk that some part of the work wasn’t completed correctly. Making changes to a car in a way that renders the car unsafe could expose the hobbyist to liability for any resulting injuries. Absent insurance that specifically covers it, the hobbyist could be left bearing all of the cost of the ensuing litigation and compensation to injured parties.

Ask an accident attorney about injuries from custom cars

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients injured in auto accidents in the Las Vegas area recover compensation. If you have questions about an accident involving a customized car, call us today for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Preventing Ongoing Injuries with an Injunction in Nevada

Injunctions are a special form of legal remedy that effectively orders someone to stop doing something wrongful, backed up with the threat of fines or even jail time for violating the order. Unlike other forms of litigation, where the plaintiff seeks financial compensation for injuries, an injunction often can be relatively quick and inexpensive. When someone is continuously behaving badly, asking a court to intervene can be an effective means of putting a stop to it.

What is required to obtain an injunction in Nevada

A civil injunction can be obtained by filing with state court a complaint that meets certain requirements. Under NRS 33.010, case law, and Nevada’s Rules of Civil Procedure, an injunction may be granted after the court’s consideration of the following factors:

  1. The plaintiff must show a reasonable probability of success on the merits with respect to the underlying legal dispute.
  2. The plaintiff must demonstrate that if the injunction is not issued it will suffer irreparable harm for which money damages will be inadequate.
  3. The injunction is appropriate in light of the relative hardships of the parties and the public’s interest in stopping the behavior of the defendant.
  4. The injunction’s purpose is to preserve or restore the status quo; that is to say, it works to put the plaintiff into the condition that existed without the wrongful behavior.
  5. Some types of injunction must be supported with a security bond to protect the defendant against the possibility of an improperly granted injunction.

The types of injunction

The term “injunction” actually covers a number of different types of relief that are available to plaintiffs depending on the kind of injury they are seeking to resolve, the duration of time the order should cover, and the nature of the legal posture of the parties.

  • Restraining (or protective) orders are issued to prevent people from threatening, harassing, or stalking others.
  • Preliminary injunctions are issued in connection with ongoing litigation to prevent an alleged wrong from continuing while the lawsuit is resolved.
  • Temporary injunctions are short-term court orders that can be obtained relatively easily and potentially without involving the other party.
  • Permanent injunctions, as the name suggests, are a lasting order to stop the bad behavior. A permanent injunction can only be obtained after a litigation process in which the defendant gets to present arguments against the injunction. Permanent injunctions can be accompanied by financial compensation in many situations.

When an injunction can be appropriate

An injunction can be a useful remedy to many kinds of disputes. A common use of injunctions is to stop threatening, abusive, or harassing behavior. They are also useful for stopping behavior that is doing damage to property or threatens health and safety. Each case will need to be evaluated on its merits.

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area protect their legal rights for over 45 years. If you have questions about how an injunction might be useful in your situation, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

Suing to Recover the Value of Lost Business

Owners of businesses, especially when the business is dependent upon the owner’s involvement, often stand to lose a lot when an injury forces them to stop working. A sole proprietor may lose more than just a salary; the business may lose clients or may be forced to close, depriving the entrepreneur of potential long-term growth. In a personal injury lawsuit the value of lost business can become an important component of the plaintiff’s damages claim.

The value of lost business is a category of economic damages. Economic damages are available to plaintiffs in every type of personal injury lawsuit. One reason this is true is that economic damages can be calculated with a certain degree of accuracy, ensuring that the defendant is not unfairly made responsible for financial consequences that are beyond the scope of the injury he or she caused.

A key problem for plaintiffs who wish to recover compensation for lost business is that the damages must be proven with sufficient reliability to be used by the court in assessing the plaintiff’s final damages award. Estimating lost future earnings can be especially tricky. There are a number of considerations that might go into this analysis, including:

  • The business’s history. The business’s earnings history is of central importance in determining how much revenue was potentially lost as a consequence of the plaintiff’s injury. A longer track record makes historical data more useful. Newer businesses may need to rely on third-party projections to calculate lost earnings.
  • Contingent profits. Although the plaintiff would like to argue that the business was going to grow exponentially and be wildly successful, fairness dictates that the damages award factor in a reasonable probability that the business would not always maximize its profits. This can be especially important for cases where the plaintiff seeks compensation for long-term lost profits.
  • Other sources of recovery. If the business also carried insurance against the possibility of the plaintiff’s injury the amount the insurance paid will probably reduce the amount the defendant is liable for.

In some cases establishing a firm measure of a business’s lost profits can require the assistance of an expert witness. Forensic accountants assist litigators with matters such as these, using well-established standards to develop theories of lost earnings that will stand up in court. Whether a given plaintiff needs the help of an expert witness will depend on the specific facts in the case.

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped injured clients recover compensation. If you have suffered a personal injury that has involved business losses and would like to explore your legal options, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

Water Parks and Personal Injury in Nevada

Water parks pose a range of potential risks for visitors. Wet surfaces are often slippery and can cause slip-and-fall accidents. Fast-moving water slides can cause users to collide with objects or each other. And water always poses a risk of drowning. The water park may bear legal responsibility for some injuries suffered by guests.

Water parks owe a high duty of care to guests

Every business owes its visitors a special legal duty to keep its premises reasonably safe for use. That means that a water park has a special obligation to ensure that its facilities are safely maintained. A water park’s failure to address a safety problem may give rise to a premises liability claim. Examples might include broken equipment, unaddressed slip risks, inadequate sanitation, or repairs that do not adequately restore a feature to a safe condition.

A facility’s violation of laws or regulations can improve the likelihood of a lawsuit’s success. Water facilities are subject to specific rules and regulations that govern their design and maintenance. For example, in Las Vegas the Southern Nevada Pool Code imposes requirements for any publicly accessible pool such as safely designed drainage, water quality standards, and proper surface care. Water parks are also required to have lifeguards regularly stationed where they can assist patrons in the event of an emergency. Lifeguards are required to hold certifications that qualify them to perform first aid and other life-saving procedures, as well as being able to rescue someone who has suffered an injury in the water.

Suing for wrongful death in drowning cases

Drowning is the worst-case scenario for a water park visitor. If someone should die from drowning at a water park and the park bears responsibility for the death, the person’s next-of-kin may have the option of suing for wrongful death. In a wrongful death suit the plaintiff can recover compensation for grief as well as other damages.

The highly publicized case of the boy beheaded by a waterslide in Kansas City offers an example of probably the most extreme case of negligence by a water park. According to the prosecutor pursuing criminal action against the slide’s owners, the slide’s design made it inherently unsafe. One hopes that the Kansas City accident gives operators of water rides reason to pause before building extremely unsafe amusements, but given the competitive landscape one can expect businesses to continue to push the safety envelope.

Talk to a Las Vegas personal injury attorney about your case

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. If you or a loved one has been injured at a water park and you would like to find out what your legal options are, call us today for a free attorney consultation. We’re available at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

Pool Lifeguards and Liability in Nevada

Lifeguards at pools are trained in various life-saving techniques so they can provide a rapid response in the event that a swimmer is injured in the pool. Like any trained safety professional, a lifeguard can make mistakes, sometimes with profoundly serious consequences for the person they are trying to save. In some cases a lifeguard may bear legal responsibility for his or her mistakes.

Nevada’s lifeguard requirements

To be employed as a lifeguard in Nevada one must first obtain a certification from one of several training programs in the state. The specific certification that is necessary to work in a venue is determined by the employer and local regulations. The certification programs all require applicants to demonstrate their strength as swimmers and mastery of basic first aid, including CPR. Some programs involve more training and tougher standards than others. For example, the American Lifeguard Association’s course covers detailed methods for rescuing people from water and has an especially high standard for swimming strength. Ongoing training is necessary to maintain a certification over time.

In Las Vegas Section 4-302 of the Aquatic Facility Regulations of the Southern Nevada Health District require a lifeguard to be present during operating hours at pools that meet certain criteria. These criteria include:

  • Pools that allow unsupervised children under 14 years of age.
  • Any pool that will be used by a youth group.
  • Any pool that will be used for group athletic training or exercise programs.
  • Large pools (over 2000 square feet).
  • Pools with current, waterslides, diving boards.
  • Pools that charge an admission fee.

A lifeguard’s negligence

As certified professionals lifeguards owe a heightened duty of care to the people they supervise. In legal terms a lifeguard must take steps that a reasonable lifeguard would take under the circumstances to protect the safety of other swimmers. The “reasonable lifeguard” is a hypothetical person of similar experience and training, often constructed from testimony and objective professional standards. Significantly, a lifeguard has an affirmative obligation to help someone in trouble.

A lifeguard or the lifeguard’s employer may be liable for injuries that a swimmer suffers under a range of circumstances. Here are a few:

  • The lifeguard fails to use his or her training to protect the swimmer from injury (for example, by failing to administer basic first aid to stabilize a broken limb).
  • The lifeguard was distracted and did not respond in a timely way to an emergency.
  • The employer hired someone who did not have the necessary certification.

Talk to a personal injury attorney about pool accidents

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury cases. If you or a loved one has been injured by a lifeguard’s negligence we are happy to discuss your legal options with you. For a free attorney consultation call us today at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contact page.

A Dog Sitter’s Liability for Bites

Dog sitting is a common job in the gig economy. Whether done through an intermediary service or informally, taking care of an unfamiliar dog involves a degree of risk for the sitter. In addition to making sure that the dog is well cared for and safe, keeping the dog from endangering others is a key part of the sitter’s job. If the dog should bite another dog or a person, the sitter may be held legally responsible for any resulting injuries.

Avoiding negligence as a dog sitter

Nevada law doesn’t treat dog bite injuries any differently than other types of personal injury. Liability comes down to whether the negligence of the person responsible for the dog caused the injury. A key issue in any negligence case is whether the defendant (here, the dog sitter) owed a legal obligation to the plaintiff and failed to meet it, and as a consequence the plaintiff got hurt.

A dog sitter’s legal obligations are not so different from those of the dog’s owner. An obvious example is compliance with leash laws. The sitter must ensure that the dog is properly leashed wherever required. In Las Vegas that means in most places outside the home. Failing to leash a dog can by itself be grounds for establishing negligence. The sitter may also have a duty to protect others from the dog if the dog’s aggressive tendencies are well understood. For example, if the sitter has been warned that the dog is prone to aggression around small children, the sitter probably has an obligation to keep tight control of the dog around kids.

Understanding the limits of contract

Dog sitters who work independently from an agency and who do not organize a separate, limited liability entity (like an LLC or corporation) for their business are legally considered to be sole proprietors. One consequence of that is the sitter is personally liable for any damages he or she may cause. People who work on this basis should carry insurance that will protect them from the financial consequences of a mistake.

Working through an agency can put a sitter into a different category. Although in practical terms the sitter is still a sole proprietor, because the sitter is also an independent contractor of the agency the agency should bear some or all of the legal responsibility for the pet care arrangement. Dog sitters who work through an agency should be sure to understand the scope of the agency’s protections for the sitter. These protections include:

  • Insurance coverage for injuries caused by the dog while under the sitter’s control.
  • Litigation expense coverage.
  • Indemnification against expenses (i.e., the agency bears all the financial risk).
  • Protection against property damages.
  • Protection of the dog itself against injury.

Every such contract will contain important limitations. For example, no agency will defend a pet sitter who purposefully mistreats a client’s dog. For someone who has been injured by a dog in a sitter’s care, the wording of the contract between the sitter and the agency can be an important part of developing a legal case.

Someone who has been bitten by a dog should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases involving dog bites. Call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Seeking Workers’ Compensation Coverage from Former Employers

Someone who has suffered a work-related injury or disease ideally gets covered by an existing employer’s insurance. But injuries and diseases are not always immediately obvious, even if their cause is clearly work-related. Sometimes the need for insurance coverage only comes up after leaving the job where the problem arose. In such cases, the individual’s current employer (assuming the individual is still working) may not be responsible for providing workers’ compensation coverage for the problem.

Instead, the injured person may need to seek compensation under a former employer’s insurance. Such cases involve a number of challenges that are best addressed with the help of a workers’ compensation attorney. Here are a few examples of the kinds of challenges the injured worker can expect to face:

  • The problem of proof. Someone who discovers an injury or disease after leaving a job will need to prove that it was related to a specific job and not some other cause. Insurers are likely to deny claims for injuries that are not clearly tied to a work-related incident. Proof can be especially challenging in cases of slowly developing disease, like cancer. Even if the sick person was exposed to a carcinogen at work, the insurer likely will argue that the cancer could have been caused by something else and therefore isn’t covered.
  • Lack of cooperation from the former employer. Related to the issue of proof is the former employer’s potential lack of interest in the case, or worse the employer’s unavailability due to no longer being in business. Quite often the details of a work-related injury need to come from the employer itself. If the employer no longer is in business, or key witnesses are no longer working there, gathering all the necessary background information may be more difficult.
  • Technical errors. The workers’ compensation system is highly regimented with tight deadlines and specific procedures that must be followed to receive benefits. Insurers seize on technical violations to deny claims. Seeking coverage for an illness or injury after deadlines have passed may give an insurer the excuse they need to deny the claim. Although a technical fault may not mean the end of the claims process, it may mean starting a dispute with the insurer.

Given the added complexity of submitting workers’ compensation claims against former employees, people who find themselves in this situation should seek professional assistance with the process. For more than 40 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped people in the Las Vegas area resolve their workers’ compensation claims disputes. For a free attorney consultation about your case, please give us a call today at 702-388-4476. We can also be reached through our contacts page.

Proving Lost Earnings in a Personal Injury Case

Serious injuries often force people to take time off work to recover. As a consequence, seeking compensation for lost income can be an important part of a personal injury lawsuit. Lost earnings come up in the damages phase of litigation, after the defendant’s liability for the injury is already established. Like other forms of damages, proving lost earnings can be harder than one might first assume.

The simplest lost earnings scenario involves the individual who needs to take a certain, clearly defined amount of time off work and wants to be compensated for the wages that he or she didn’t earn during that time. This situation applies most clearly where the personal injury lawsuit is ongoing after the injured person has returned to work. Pay stubs from periods before and after the accident, tax forms from prior years (such as an IRS Form W-2 for people who work for an employer), or other forms of wage verification from an employer can be sufficient evidence to establish the amount of the lost wages. Someone who is self-employed can use tax records, checks from clients, or bank statements to establish the income that has been lost.

Proving lost earnings gets more complicated if the person who was injured is no longer able to earn as much as before the injury, or has lost the ability to work altogether. In these cases the question is not just how much the injured person lost in the past, but also how large the person’s potential earnings were at the time of the injury. There are numerous ways to calculate future lost earnings, and some cases (like workers’ compensation) have predetermined methods. The analysis might consider one or more of the following:

  • The individual’s earnings history.
  • The medical prognosis of the injury, including how much recovery is possible (reduced to a percentage which gets applied to the wage figures).
  • The scope of employment options available to the individual in light of the injury and the individual’s skills.
  • Estimates of earnings growth, including the potential for reasonably foreseeable promotions, cost-of-living adjustments, and other factors.
  • Lost benefits, like employer 401(k) contributions, lost pensions, and insurance coverage, including estimates of how the value of those benefits may have increased over time.

Some plaintiffs will have an especially complicated questions of proof to overcome. Self-employed individuals who are early in their careers, people who have wildly fluctuating earning histories, and individuals for whom future earnings are highly contingent (such as artists and entrepreneurs) will need tailored strategies to ensure that they receive their just compensation.

An experienced personal injury law firm knows how to get the most for its clients. For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped personal injury clients recover compensation for lost earnings and other damages related to injuries. If you would like to speak to an attorney about your case, please call us today for a free, confidential consultation at 702-388-4476 or ask us to reach out to you through our contact page.

Rent-a-Scooter Businesses Raise Personal Injury Concerns

Businesses offering fast, low-cost rentals of bikes (both conventional and motorized) and scooters are becoming a common feature in cities around the country. Being able to hop onto a scooter and zip across town is a great convenience for customers. But because scooters on busy urban streets can be dangerous, the risk of personal injury raises questions about how liable the rental business may be for their customers’ injuries. For someone injured while riding a rented scooter, there are several considerations that may come into play in any ensuing litigation.

  • Service contracts probably limit liability.

Probably the most important way a rent-a-scooter business manages its risk is by requiring its customers to agree to lengthy terms and conditions that undoubtedly will include some form of waiver of liability. Such waivers are usually enforceable, even if the rent-a-scooter company has committed ordinary negligence. For example, if the last customer to ride a scooter leaves it at the rental stand with a punctured tire, and the next customer is injured when the tire goes flat at a bad moment, a waiver of liability might protect the company. That may apply even if an employee of the company inspected the scooter in a reasonably responsible way but didn’t see the puncture.

  • Assumption of risk.

A corollary to a waiver of liability is the inherent riskiness of riding a scooter. In fact, the rental contract probably includes a specific acknowledgment that the customer is assuming the risk of injury. For many types of accidents, the customer’s assumption of risk will be clear. For example, everyone knows that a scooter that gets struck by a larger vehicle is at a significant disadvantage when it comes to personal injury. Assumption of risk may not protect the rental company against suits arising from injuries that the customer could not have foreseen at the time the contract was signed.

  • Gross negligence and willful misconduct.

A rental company still bears liability for behaving especially badly. In the example above, the employee who inspected the punctured tire saw the damage but ignored it may have committed gross negligence by allowing the scooter to be rented again. Even more clear-cut would be the case where the employee allowed a customer to ride away on a damaged scooter with the intent that the customer be injured. A contract cannot waive a business’s liability for wrongful acts of this sort.

  • Insurance considerations.

Before renting any type of vehicle the customer should take a moment to confirm that insurance will cover injuries that happen while on the road. Rental companies probably offer some form of insurance, but its coverage may be limited. People who plan to routinely rent scooters as part of their regular transportation should consider taking out personal policies to provide additional coverage beyond what the rental company provides, both to cover their own injuries and the possibility of injuries to others.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

For over 45 years the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury and auto accident cases. If you have been injured while using a rented scooter and you need help sorting through your legal options, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or request a call through our website.

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