The privacy implications of drone-mounted cameras and microphones are only just beginning to be examined by lawmakers and civil society. The power of modern high definition cameras allows drones to see and record things that intrude into the private sphere. When a drone is deliberately used to “spy” on someone, the resulting footage can be used to harm the victim through harassment, embarrassment, or worse. People who have been harmed by malicious spying by drones may have recourse to Nevada’s laws regarding photography generally, as well as laws specifically limiting how drones may be used.
Photography and privacy in Nevada
Just because a camera is mounted on a drone does not alter the basic fact that the operator of the drone is acting as a photographer and is therefore subject to the restrictions that apply to photography. Here are some that may apply to “spying” cases:
Trespassers are not entitled to take photographs of private property.
Making recordings while unlawfully intruding on private property is not permitted. “Trespass” can include flying over property with a drone (see below). Trespass can also include things like lifting a camera over a fence to take photos of what lies beyond it, even though the camera itself is not over the private property.
In practice it can be difficult to answer the question of where public space ends and private space begins. A fence around a property creates an unambiguous privacy barrier, but the case can be less clear if a property is not fenced, or the photographed activity is being conducted in a way that seems to disregard privacy concerns. In short, the question of privacy expectations requires a case-by-case analysis.
The right of publicity restricts use of photos and videos of others.
restricts the commercial
use of photos and videos of other people without their written permission. This can protect victims of drone spying from some kinds of use of the resulting video, for example if a video is incorporated into a television program (other than a news broadcast or other exempted use).
Drones are subject to place restrictions
To lawfully fly drones over a certain size in Nevada the drone must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration and must comply with state laws and regulations with respect to altitude and other matters. For example, a drone that is flown lower than 250 feet over private property is trespassing (and therefore its photographs or video are unlawful), but only if the owner of the property has notified the operator to stop flyovers or posted signs
prohibiting drone use. This is a frustratingly high bar for someone who has suffered spying by drone, but it does give a quick method for starting the process of addressing unlawful drone use.
Ultimately someone who knows about drone spying should consider seeking an injunction to force the operator to stop. An invasion of privacy can lead to serious consequences for the victim and courts are unlikely to look kindly upon unscrupulous use of drones. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area seek compensation for personal injuries. If you are wondering how the law can help you address problems with unlawful use of drones in your area, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contact page
As a population, residents in a nursing home are especially at risk for abuse. The families and loved ones of nursing home residents should understand the signs of abuse so they can take steps to stop it. In some cases, it may be appropriate to pursue legal action to recover compensation for the suffering the abuser has caused. Abuse in a nursing home can take many forms. Some forms are more visible than others, and repeat abusers will often try to mask their wrongdoing in various ways, making detection that much harder.
Regardless of the form abuse takes, one of the tell-tale signs that abuse may be occurring is an institution’s unwillingness to provide straightforward answers to questions about the wellbeing of a resident. Another red flag is if the nursing home does not allow a resident to be alone with family members or other visitors.
In practical terms the forms of abuse can be grouped into several categories:
- Physical abuse involves an intentional infliction of pain or injury upon a person’s body. Included within the notion of physical abuse are behaviors that affect the person’s wellbeing, such as withholding food (for example, as a form of punishment), or deliberately withholding prescribed medications or administering incorrect medications. Physical abuse may be immediately visible, in the form of bruises, cuts, or broken bones. If a nursing home is unlawfully restraining a resident the resident may have bruises or other injuries on wrists and ankles.
- Emotional abuse can be more difficult to detect, especially in a person who has difficulty communicating, as is often the case with advanced dementia patients. Emotional abuse includes bullying behavior (yelling, insulting, terrorizing) as well as purposeful neglect and isolation. Signs of emotional abuse often come from context, where the victim behaves in strange ways, such as by being unusually withdrawn or uncommunicative, or by adopting repetitive tics.
- Neglect is a distinct category of abuse that applies in situations where a caregiver, such as a nursing home, has expressly agreed to assume responsibility for elements of a person’s wellbeing and has failed to perform those services. If a nursing home is failing to provide contracted-for services, such as food, laundry services, cleaning, or bathing, it may be committing acts of neglect. Unlike physical or emotional abuse, the nature of neglect often hinges on the specific language of the contract governing the resident’s stay in a nursing home.
Nevada’s elder abuse law, NRS 41.1395
, applies to abuse of people who are 60 years of age or older, whether they live in a residential community or not. In some situations
plaintiffs under the law can recover double damages and may also qualify for separate reimbursement of legal fees. Every personal injury case requires careful consideration of facts, and elder abuse is no different. What can set elder abuse apart, especially with an institution as the potential defendant, is the added layer (or layers) of resistance and lack of cooperation one can expect to encounter, especially if a nursing home is committing unlawful acts that could threaten its ability to attract new clients or put its licensure at risk.
For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area recover compensation in matters of personal injury. If your loved one has suffered abuse in a nursing home and you would like to discuss your legal options, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page
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
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
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
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.
Rental 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.
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.
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
Employers can have powerful influence over their employees’ mental health. Job-related stress, whether from management pressure or other factors, is a common problem
. Personality conflicts, disagreements over job responsibilities, and unreasonable demands are an ordinary part of work. But sometimes an employer’s behavior edges into abuse. In extreme cases, the employee may be able to sue the employer for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
When thinking about wrongful behavior by an employer it’s worthwhile to keep in mind that “the employer” is not just the owner of the company or the employee’s direct manager, but can mean any agent of the business. An employer can be held responsible for actions taken by any of its employees during working hours provided that the employer is aware of the employee’s wrongful behavior.
Nevada law requires plaintiffs who sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress to prove four things:
Miller v. Jones
- The defendant’s conduct must have been extreme and outrageous. The sort of behavior that meets this standard can be the focus of court arguments. Whether the employer’s behavior was “extreme and outrageous” is determined according to the context of the behavior and the social norms surrounding it. Proving that the behavior happened can be a critical factor—having coworkers available to corroborate the plaintiff’s story can be very helpful.
- The defendant intended to cause the plaintiff’s emotional distress, or recklessly disregarded the harm being done to the plaintiff. It isn’t enough that a manager is harsh or rude in general. There are two paths to recovery: either the manager must have wanted the employee to suffer, or the manager ignored signs that the employee was suffering and continued a bad behavior.
- The plaintiff actually suffered extreme or severe emotional distress. Proving actual injury is a basic requirement for recovering damages in litigation. There are numerous ways to prove emotional harm, including testimony from psychiatric professionals, family and friends who have observed the plaintiff’s suffering, or testimony from coworkers as to how the employer’s actions affected the plaintiff.
- The defendant’s conduct caused the plaintiff’s distress. A common tactic used by defendants is to look for alternative causes of the plaintiff’s emotional injury. For example, if the plaintiff has a mental health condition such as clinical depression that is unrelated to work, it may be difficult to show that the employer’s actions were solely responsible for the plaintiff’s injury.
, 114 Nev. 1291, 1299-1300 (1998).
Generally speaking, the more outrageous the employer’s behavior, the more likely the plaintiff will be able to recover damages. Bad behavior can be systematic and repetitive: for example, a manager who mocks an employee’s appearance day after day and doesn’t stop after the bullying visibly affects the employee. A single incident can also be outrageous. For example, an HR manager who announces embarrassing details of an employee’s criminal background check at a work lunch may be engaging in bad behavior that meets the standard, provided the other elements are present.
For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented injured clients in the Las Vegas area. If you have endured severe emotional harassment at work, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page
Suffering a serious injury during a hazing incident often can justify a lawsuit against the individuals who caused the injury and the organization that allowed or encouraged the hazing event to go on. Victims of violent or dangerously coercive hazing can endure severe alcohol poisoning, physical injuries, and emotional harm. While evaluating whether a lawsuit is the right move lawyers and their clients analyze the defenses that are available to the potential defendants. Hazing injuries often occur in circumstances that lend themselves to certain defenses.
When considering defenses one must distinguish between criminal and civil cases. Nevada law defines hazing as a crime
. The definition of criminal
hazing is “an activity in which a person intentionally or recklessly endangers the physical health of another person for the purpose of initiation into or affiliation with a student organization, academic association or athletic team at a high school, college or university in this state.” The state may pursue criminal charges against individuals or organizations that engage in activities that meet the criminal definition of hazing. Among other things, the victim’s consent is not a valid defense in criminal court.
In a civil court case, hazing is not a distinct cause of action. Although the facts that would form the foundation of a criminal prosecution will also be important in a civil trial, the civil plaintiff usually seeks damages under a civil theory, such as negligence, gross negligence, civil battery, or in the most tragic cases wrongful death. In a civil context a number of defenses may arise:
- Evidence. Evidence is an issue in every case, whether criminal or civil. The plaintiff must show that the defendants legally caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Where the plaintiff doesn’t know for sure who caused the injury (for example, if the plaintiff was blindfolded or highly intoxicated) it may be difficult to pin liability on a specific defendant.
- Lack of sponsorship. An organization that is sued for hazing incidents that take place in connection with its membership activities (such as a fraternity’s hazing of recruits) probably will point to its policies and practices designed around preventing hazing to begin with, with the goal of showing that it was solely the responsibility of the individuals doing the hazing and not a broader, institutional practice. Digging into the facts can help the plaintiff here: if the organization has been conducting such hazing for years with its leadership’s tacit approval, this defense may not succeed.
- Consent. And in a civil context the victim’s forced consent to being abused may not hold up, either: a forced choice is often no choice at all. But the plaintiff can expect the specific facts of the situation to play a part. For example, a plaintiff who had been drinking heavily before the hazing event began may not be able to argue that he or she was forced to drink during the hazing event.
One important thing victims of hazing must bear in mind is that liability and defenses against it are highly fact-dependent. What may at first glance seem like a solid defense may on further exploration turn out to be flimsy or irrelevant. The best course in any case involving personal injury is to review the facts of the injury with an experienced attorney.
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 in a hazing incident 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
Recent advances in face recognition software have raised a host of complex questions
for society as a whole, lawmakers, and law enforcement agencies. Photo databases are already in use by the FBI
and other agencies to identify criminal suspects using mugshots and photos taken in the field during investigations. As body-worn cameras
become more common for local law enforcement, experts anticipate that law enforcement will begin using face recognition software to rapidly identify individuals officers encounter in the field.
Current use of face recognition by law enforcement
The FBI has collected biometric and photographic information about criminal suspects for decades. This information is shared with authorized local agencies to assist them with investigations. Face recognition software improves the efficiency of law enforcement’s use of the information. The FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) system includes an Interstate Photo System (IPS), which automatically searches a database of mugshots and identifies potential matches.
The NGI-IPS system is intended to be an investigative tool for helping officers more efficiently identify suspects. Because “false positives” are still a likely possibility, officers still must manually review the results and use other investigative tools to verify their accuracy. As a consequence, FBI policy dictates that the results of NGI-IPS searches are not to be used for positive identification. In other words, they cannot be used to justify a search warrant or other law enforcement actions.
The near-future of face recognition technology
Face recognition software is rapidly improving. Its algorithms use a wide range of facial features to find potential matches, increasingly allowing it to make positive matches even if the individual’s face has changed from the database photo. For example, a suspect who has grown a beard or gotten a tattoo can still be identified despite those changes.
In the law enforcement context face recognition technology will become increasingly useful for helping officers identify suspects and other potentially dangerous individuals. High-definition cameras, especially when body-worn, will be an important component of this process. At the same time, we can expect a continuing conversation about how to best balance the civil liberties of the public with the technology’s legitimate law enforcement uses.
Privacy concerns pose a special challenge for policymakers. In Las Vegas casinos have been using face recognition software to identify people on their blacklists
for several years. In theory, an individual’s every move through public spaces could be automatically tracked, regardless of whether or not the individual is a criminal suspect. Coming to grips with the full implications of this possibility will be an ongoing process.
GGRM is a law firm for first responders
The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez is proud of its long history of representing law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and emergency medical professionals in workers’ compensation and other disputes. For a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or ask us to call you through our contacts page
Despite the extensively documented
dangers pellet-type rat poisons pose to pets, children, and wildlife, they continue to be a readily available and popular solution to a ubiquitous urban problem. Parents of small children or owners of dogs or cats that are allowed to roam outside should avoid using poisoned baits. But what if a neighbor uses them and poisoned rats begin showing up in your yard? There are a few things to bear in mind.
How rat poison works
There are several types of rodent poison common in the United States. A common feature of all of them is that they are designed to kill a small mammal. Even if a dog, cat, or child is substantially larger than a rat, the poison works in much the same way on their systems as it does on a rat’s. Even if it doesn’t kill, it can cause serious injury. Here are the four common types:
- Anticoagulant rodenticides (ACR). These chemicals cause severe internal bleeding, effectively causing the rodent to bleed to death. In sufficient quantities they can cause bleeding from the nose or gums, coughing (bleeding in the lungs), and other severe symptoms.
- Cholecalciferol. This type of poison causes kidney failure through a buildup of calcium in the body. It can be very difficult to treat due to the challenge of getting calcium out of the kidneys. Its symptoms can include lethargy, increased thirst, and tremors.
- Bromethalin. This poison causes brain swelling, leading to vomiting, seizures, and other severe reactions.
- Phosphides. These poisons are typically used to control larger pests like moles. They create a poisonous gas in the stomach.
Each of these poisons can be treated to various degrees
, but the goal should really be to avoid having them in the environment at all. There are effective alternatives to poison, including “zap traps” that use electric shock and traps that kill the rat with a powerful blow to the spine.
Potential legal problems with using rat poison
In addition to the physical risks to pets and children, using rat poison can create legal risks as well. The more serious one is if a child gets ahold of poison that hasn’t been adequately childproofed. In some situations a person who does so may be committing negligence. This can be true even if the child was trespassing on the property at the time. For example, if the property has a trampoline that is accessible to children in the neighborhood, one should anticipate children being around rat traps left nearby.
A less costly but still serious risk is that the poison will hurt or kill a neighbor’s pet. Even if poison can’t be reached by pets in the containers where it’s left, a dog could easily find a dead or dying rat and eat it. Even though there are limits on how much a person can recover in a lawsuit for injuries to pets, it is better to avoid the problem to begin with.
GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm
For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped injured clients in the Las Vegas area recover compensation. If you have questions about a potential legal issue related to rat poison, call us today for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site