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Personal Injury Law and the Attractive Nuisance

Personal injury law and the attractive nuisance

Attractive nuisance is a doctrine applied in tort law that acts as a defense to trespass by children. The doctrine of attractive nuisance is based on the premise that someone who maintains a dangerous condition which is likely to attract children on their property is under a duty to post a warning or take affirmative action to protect children from the dangers of that attraction. It imposes a duty on the property owner to be mindful of potentially dangerous conditions which are likely to attract children. The attractive nuisance doctrine generally does not apply to adults. However, if a child is in danger because of an attractive nuisance and an adult attempts to rescue that child, the attractive nuisance doctrine may hold the landowner responsible for the rescuer's injuries in addition to the child's injuries.

The attractive nuisance doctrine came about as an exception to the general rule that property owners have no duty to protect someone who is trespassing on their land from harm. However, something like a swimming pool can be an irresistible attraction to a young child. For the doctrine to apply, the property owner must have created the dangerous condition. For example, a lake would not be considered an attractive nuisance. A property owner’s liability under the attractive nuisance doctrine is determined by several factors. Generally, a plaintiff has to show the following:
  • the property owner knew or had reason to know that children were likely to trespass onto the property
  • the property owner knew or had reason to know that there existed on the property an unreasonably dangerous condition that could cause death or serious bodily harm
  • that children would be unable to discover or appreciate the risk posed by the dangerous condition
  • that the utility of maintaining the condition and the burden of eliminating it altogether are less than the potential risk to children
  • that the defendant failed to reasonably care for and maintain safe conditions on the property
Nevada state law essentially follows the above 5 elements. We have been proudly representing the citizens of Las Vegas for over 45 years. Whether you need an advocate fighting for you in a workers compensation case or a personal injury suit, we have the experience and passion to make your fight our own. Give us a call at 702-388-4476 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys or visit our site.

Taking Steps to Avoid Fraud in a Personal Injury Claim

Taking steps to avoid fraud in a personal injury claim

Filing a fraudulent personal injury claim can have serious financial and legal consequences. The insurance company can deny the claim and drop all further coverage. They can also hold you liable for any money paid to you involving the claim, costs expended in investigating the fraud, and in some cases even punitive damages. A fraudulent claim can also lead to criminal charges.

The most common type of personal injury fraud is an act taken with the goal of getting an insurance company to compensate for an injury that is nonexistent, exaggerated, or unrelated to the accident addressed in the claim. This can include faking injuries or staging a theft or collision. It is important to keep in mind that you can file a fraudulent claim even if you did not lie or make any false representations. Simply failing to include information that you were under a legal duty to disclose can make a claim fraudulent. There are two basic kinds of fraudulent personal injury claims: soft insurance fraud and hard insurance fraud. Soft is the most common. An example of soft insurance fraud would be exaggerating the severity of a neck injury. This is where you must be careful to maintain a balance between aggressively pursuing the full amount you are entitled to and making sure you represent your injuries and damages accurately. If there is ever any doubt or question as to whether something should or should not be reported, it is highly advisable to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Nevada’s statutory definition of insurance fraud (686A.2815) includes the following: “Presenting any statement to an insurer while knowing that the statement conceals or omits facts, or contains false or misleading information about any fact material to an application for the issuance of an insurance policy.” The criminal penalties for insurance fraud can include up to 4 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and possible restitution to the victim. With over 45 years of handling personal injury lawsuits and claims of every description, our attorneys put you in the best possible position to win your suit or receive the full amount of compensation you are entitled to. Give us a call at 702-388-4476 to learn more.  

Can You Make a Personal Injury Claim if You Cannot Prove Fault?

Can you make a personal injury claim if you cannot prove fault

In the event of a vehicle accident or personal injury, the people involved oftentimes focus exclusively on who or what is at fault. However, this may not always be the best way to look at the claims process. In some cases, proving fault may not even be an essential factor.

Almost every vehicle, home, or business carries some kind of liability insurance coverage. This means that in many personal injury situations, you end up dealing primarily with insurance adjusters rather than lawyers or judges. Making a successful claim in an insurance context is generally much easier than in a courtroom. It can be as straightforward as providing a clear explanation to an insurance adjuster of how the other party’s actions led to the accident. If the insurance adjuster accepts your explanation, the liability insurance ­company may reimburse you for your medical costs, lost income, and compensation for any pain and suffering.  Sometimes, promptly providing a straightforward explanation of whose actions led to the accident or injury can immediately move the discussion from whether you will receive compensation or not to how much. In practice, the majority of liability claims are settled without ever stepping into a courtroom. Negotiating with an insurance company is much more about making reasonable arguments rather than trying to provide “proof” of fault. Proving fault in this context usually means making a negligence claim. The legal theory of negligence in a personal injury case generally consists of the following four elements:
  • the defendant had a legal responsibility to avoid harming the plaintiff
  • the defendant failed to live up to that legal responsibility
  • the accident resulted from this failure
  • the injury resulted from the accident
As you can see, this is substantially tougher than just negotiating with an insurance adjuster. Thankfully, many personal injury claims can be resolved without anyone having to prove fault. For over 45 years we've proudly served the citizens of Las Vegas in their personal injury and workers compensation legal needs. Visit our contact page to learn more and reach out to one of our attorneys.

What is the Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

What is the Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
In a personal injury lawsuit, each party is trying to convince the judge or jury to believe something. It is the plaintiff’s job in a personal injury suit to show that the party being sued is responsible for causing the injuries. In all legal cases, whether civil or criminal, there are certain evidence-based thresholds that must be met before a defendant can be found guilty or liable. The "burden of proof" refers to the degree to which the judge or jury must be convinced before believing something. The plaintiff in a civil case (like a personal injury lawsuit) has a much lower burden of proof than in a criminal case. The plaintiff must convince the jury that it is "more likely than not" (or “by a preponderance of the evidence) that the facts are what he or she says they are.  This essentially means that the jury thinks the chances of the plaintiff’s version of the facts being true are at least 51%, while the chance that they are false is no more than 49%. On the other hand, the defendant is not required to prove his or her version of events is true. When the plaintiff is trying to prove the elements of the case, the defendant does not need to convince the jury of an alternative version of the facts. Rather, all that is necessary for the plaintiff’s case to fail is that the jury believes the chances are 50% or better that the plaintiff’s version is inaccurate or even false. The defendant can present evidence of facts that contradict the plaintiff’s version of events, but the jury does not need to be convinced that the defendant’s version of the facts is the most accurate. The defendant’s alternative facts are instead meant to cast enough doubt on the conflicting version that the jury no longer believes the plaintiff’s account is "more likely than not" true. GGRM proudly serves the citizens of Las Vegas in their personal injury and workers compensation legal needs. Visit our contact page to learn more and reach out to one of our attorneys.    

Things to Keep in Mind if You Are at Fault for a Car Accident

Things to keep in mind if you are at fault in a car accident

Regardless of whether you are determined to be at fault or not, there are some universal steps you should take immediately following a car accident. First, immediately check on the safety of everyone involved in the accident. Call paramedics if there’s the slightest possibility that anyone is injured. Whether or not paramedics are needed, make sure a police officer comes to the scene of the accident. It’s essential that a police report is created to determine which driver will be held legally at fault.

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible following the accident. Keep careful track of the claim number you are assigned and the name of your claims adjuster. Report the accident to the other driver’s insurance company as well, but be careful about what you say. Following that, seek the services of an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. Regardless of who is at fault, your attorney can assist you with documentation and take the lead during stressful claim settlement negotiations. If you do believe you are at fault, it is essential that you take extreme care when conversing with the other vehicle’s driver or passengers. Don’t discuss how the accident happened, which driver is at fault, or apologize or make any other admission of guilt or fault. A safe game plan is to ask the other driver if anyone was hurt, exchange contact and insurance info, and then suggest that everyone wait until the police arrive. That’s it.  Remain calm and don’t get drawn in to any arguments or confrontations. If the other driver does attempt to escalate the situation, simply walk away and wait for the police. It’s also important to get names and contact information for anyone who was a witness to the accident. And make sure to take as many pictures as possible of both the accident scene and the damage to both vehicles. For over 45 years we've been providing Las Vegas with the best personal injury representation available. More importantly, our clients have always come first. Visit our website to get contact information and learn more about us.

What Are an Employer’s Responsibilities When There is a Job-Related Injury?

What Are an Employer’s Responsibilities When There is a Job-Related Injury?

It’s crucial that employees who have been involved in a job-related accident be aware of their employer’s resulting responsibilities. In most states, employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. When a worker is injured, his or her claim is filed with the insurance company, which pays medical and disability benefits according to a state-approved formula. Unless they fall within certain narrow exceptions, employers without workers' compensation insurance are subject to fines, criminal prosecution, and civil liability.

In addition to carrying workers’ compensation insurance, most employers will be responsible for carrying out some or all of the following:
  • Post a notice documenting their compliance with workers' compensation laws in a conspicuous place at each job site
  • Provide immediate emergency medical treatment for any employee who suffers an injury while on the job
  • Furnish additional medical treatment if an injured worker is unable to select a doctor or advises the employer in writing of a desire not to do so
  • Complete a report of the injury and mail it to the nearest workers' compensation board office. A copy of that report should also be mailed to the employer's workers’ compensation insurance company. An employer who refuses or neglects to make an injury report may be found guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine
  • Make a written report of every accident that resulted in a personal injury causing time away from regular duties or that required medical treatment beyond basic first aid
  • Comply with all requests for further information regarding injured workers by the workers' compensation board or the workers’ compensation insurance company, e.g. statements of the employee's earnings before and after the accident, reports of the date of the employee's return to work, or any other reports that may be required to determine the employee's work status following the injury.
In Nevada, as soon as an employer obtains knowledge of a work-related accident, the employer must provide all necessary first-aid treatment for any employees who are injured. The employer must also pay for each employee’s transportation to the nearest place that can provide the necessary medical attention. Within 30 days after an insurance carrier or self-insured employer receives notice of an employee’s job-related injury, the carrier or employer must either send a claim-acceptance notice or a claim-denial notice. We have been proudly representing the citizens of Las Vegas for over 45 years. Whether you need an advocate fighting for you in a workers compensation case or a personal injury suit, we have the experience and passion to make your fight our own. Give us a call at 702-388-4476 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, or visit our webpage to learn more.  

Is Verbal Abuse Against Police Officers Protected?

Is Verbal Abuse Against Police Officers Protected

Since the Supreme Court decision in City of Houston v. Hill, 482 U.S. 451 (1987), the courts have extended significant First Amendment protections to an individual’s right to verbally “oppose or challenge police actions,” so long as the conduct in question does not amount to “physical obstruction” (quotes from the Supreme Court’s holding in City of Houston v. Hill). In 2015, this issue reemerged in Washington v. E.J.J., a decision by the Washington Supreme Court.

Essentially, the court held that the “offensive speech” of an arrestee was protected under the First Amendment. The incident in question took place in the context of the arrest of an intoxicated resident of a house. Police had arrived and attempted to calm the resident down. Meanwhile, another resident of the house told officers not to use a nightstick on another individual involved in the altercation because she was his sister. After being led away from the scene, this individual became irate and began yelling profanities at the officers.

At some point the individual was told that he was engaging in obstruction; following that, he was then arrested on the charge of obstructing a law enforcement officer. The Washington Supreme Court, however, found that the individual who was arrested had the right to criticize how the police were handling the situation. The court stated that "obstruction statutes may not be used to limit citizens' rights to express verbal criticism, even abusive criticism, at police officers." The court also held that the arrestee had the right to direct profanity at officers so long as he did not physically interfere with the officers.

While this decision applied only to Washington state law, it is illustrative in showing how courts continue to uphold the legacy of City of Houston v. Hill. These decisions are illustrative in that they can help guide how law enforcement officers ought to react to profanity and provocation from citizens. In situations like these, it’s important to remember that First Amendment protections do extend to citizens voicing their displeasure to police officers.

For decades GGRM has been representing Las Vegas’s finest. Our experience and passion make us the premier Las Vegas law firm for police officers in need of legal representation or consultation. Visit our contact page to learn more and get in touch with one of our attorneys

Implications of Cell Phone Cameras for Police Officers

s of Cell Phone Cameras for Police Officers

While police officers are like everyone in that they own and carry around smartphones for personal use, in recent years smartphones have increasingly become a part of an officer’s professional equipment. They can be used to call in reports, email witnesses, and take pictures of crime and accident scenes. However, they also bring with them potential issues and complications that police officers should be aware of.

There is no question that smart phones bring with them significant benefits for law enforcement officers. A smart phone can be an invaluable tool while an officer is on patrol. One of its main pros in this context is that it gives an officer the ability to communicate with individuals who don’t have access to a radio; it also serves as a backup communication device in case the radio signal is compromised. Smart phones also give officers access to real time information via the internet that can be utilized during disasters or community events. Smart phones also give any officer the capability to take relatively high quality photos at crime scenes that can then be used in subsequent investigations. Officers at the scene can also pass along pictures of suspects and vehicles to their counterparts on patrol. Smart phone cameras can also be used during disturbances to help disperse crowds and provide evidence later of what the conditions on the ground were like. On the other hand, smart phones can act as a potentially dangerous distraction to officers on duty. They can adversely affect situational awareness, or even cause an officer to momentarily lose sight of a suspect. A significant legal pitfall is the potential for officers’ posts and tweets to be used in court to attack their credibility. Ill-advised social media posts can also hurt community relations, or even ruin an officer’s career. Another common issue is the use of smart phones while officers are driving their vehicles. Many states have enacted legislation that prohibits using smart phones while driving; however, in states like California officers have been exempted from this law. Oftentimes this is something that is regulated on the department level. Many departments have embraced the new technology by issuing their officers smart phones, but forbid their use while driving. This is indicative of the give and take approach police forces across the country are taking with this and other emerging technologies. GGRM is proud of our long and distinguished record advocating on the behalf of public employees. Our attorneys love doing it, and are exceptionally good at it. Whether you need legal representation immediately or would just like to speak with an attorney, give us a call at 702-388-4476.

Administrative Investigations Explained

Administrative Investigations Explained

When a police officer has an allegation of wrongdoing made against them, he or she is understandably anxious to understand what is going on and take the appropriate steps. One of the most stressful parts of the process is when an officer has to testify as part of the investigation. At this point, it is strongly advised that the officer consult with an attorney who has experience specific to administrative investigations. Here are some key points police officers subject to an administrative investigation should keep in mind when preparing for the investigative process.

  • Confine answers to the scope of the question being asked. When an officer is asked a question as part of the investigation, he or she should answer directly and honestly. However, the best course is generally to not add additional testimony or justifications. It is not advisable for the officer to volunteer information or answers that were not requested, as this is not necessary and can often do more harm than good.
  • Remain calm and collected throughout the process. Do not be defensive. Maintaining one’s composure during the proceedings can be a huge benefit. Taking a defensive or aggressive posture can weaken the officer’s testimony and undermine their credibility.
  • When it comes to testimony, there is no such thing as over preparing. Before testifying, an officer should carefully review any and all relevant evidence, reports, documentation, witness accounts. Know the facts of the case or incident inside and out, and be prepared to answer hard questions.
  • In conjunction with number 1, keep answers succinct and on point. Simple yes or no answers can oftentimes be the most effective and appropriate.
  • Don’t neglect your appearance. Make sure that your dress, grooming, etc. help your credibility rather than undermine it.
Finally, administrative investigations are not something you need to or should go through alone. Consult with an experienced attorney you can trust to passionately and competently represent your interests. For decades GGRM has been representing Las Vegas’s finest. Our experience and passion make us the premier Las Vegas law firm for police officers in need of legal representation or consultation. Visit our contact page to learn more and get in touch with one of our attorneys.

Can EMS Providers Be Liable in a Vehicle Accident?

Can EMS Providers be Liable in a Vehicle Accident?

The short answer to this question is yes. While EMS providers do have protections under Good Samaritan laws, in the event of a vehicle accident, EMS providers can be subject to liability in the form of claims involving negligent operation of a vehicle. Most states’ Good Samaritan statutes do not apply under these circumstances.

In every state there are laws on the books permitting emergency vehicles to exceed posted speed limits and/or violate the normal right of ways. However, in many cases there are exceptions that require ambulances to obey certain traffic rules. Examples may include requiring EMS vehicles to stop at traffic lights and ensure the intersection is clear before proceeding, or adhering to limitations on how much the speed limit can be exceeded by .These kinds of laws are usually specific to the state, and can vary significantly. A fundamental principle of all laws governing the operation of emergency vehicles when they are responding to an emergency is that the EMS provider operating the vehicle exercise any legal privileges or protections they may be entitled to with due regard to the safety of others. Excessive speeding and reckless operation typically violate this principle on its face, and can result in liability. In Nevada, EMS providers do enjoy strong legal protections under the state’s Good Samaritan statute (NRS 41.500). However, they are not protected from liability if there are damages resulting from “gross negligence.” For this reason, Nevada EMS workers should be as careful as possible in how they operate emergency vehicles when responding to emergency situations. Speeding, erratic driving, failing to pay attention, and texting and driving are all actions that could potentially fall under the category of gross negligence. While EMS providers are obligated to arrive at scenes as quickly as possible, haste should be tempered with safe and deliberate driving practices. GGRM is proud of our record representing law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and EMS providers. For us it is much more than a job- it is a calling. Give us a call at 702-388-4476 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys or visit our webpage to learn more.