Monthly Archives: May 2019

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Suing for Injuries Caused by Moving Walkways

Moving walkways are a popular feature of big venues that want to offer their visitors an alternative to walking long distances. Although they are usually safe, they can sometimes cause slip-and-fall accidents. When someone falls on a moving walkway, the continuing motion of the track can aggravate injuries and make it more difficult for others to assist the fallen person. A few cases over the years have reported articles of clothing and even fingers and toes being caught in the end of a moving walkway. Such cases can lead to significant injury or even death. Someone injured on a moving walkway may have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the owner or operator of the walkway. Moving walkways invariably are found in public spaces. A business or other venue that is open to the public has a relatively high duty of care to maintain its facilities in reasonably safe condition. Emergency stop switches, railings, and walkway beds all need to be maintained to ensure that someone can use them safely and reliably. This extends to changing circumstances, such as if someone spills liquid that makes the walkway slippery, provided that the defendant had notice about the problem, or should have followed reasonable practices to discover it (such as through a routine inspection schedule). If a venue fails to properly maintain its moving walkways, and as a consequence someone is injured, the injured person may have a cause of action under a theory of premises liability. A premises liability claim can be brought against the owner of the venue as well as anyone who is responsible for its actual operation, such as a leaseholder or management company. A moving walkway may be perfectly well maintained but still cause injuries if someone is tripped by it as they get on or off. Falls may also happen if two riders collide. Whether a venue is responsible for injuries of this kind will depend on the facts of the case. In the case of a collision, if an individual caused an injury by pushing the plaintiff out of the way, the “pusher” may bear liability. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped injured plaintiffs in the Las Vegas area seek compensation for their injuries. If you have been injured by a moving walkway 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.  

Collecting from an Indebted Personal Injury Defendant

After a lawsuit has resolved through trial a prevailing plaintiff often ends up with a judgment award. The judgment typically orders the defendant to pay the plaintiff a certain amount of money, perhaps with a certain schedule. But if the defendant is substantially in debt and can’t afford to pay the judgment, what should the plaintiff do? Court judgments are a type of debt. Like other kinds of legally recognized debt, they create an obligation upon the debtor to pay what is owed. Until the debt is satisfied, it remains in place. When the defendant has other substantial debts, such as a mortgage, student loan debt, or even other judgments, a plaintiff can end up in competition with other creditors of the defendant to recover what is owed. There are several strategies that a plaintiff can pursue in this circumstance. The first option is to file a judgment lien. In any case where the defendant has a financial obligation to the plaintiff that won’t be satisfied immediately at the conclusion of the lawsuit, a plaintiff should file a judgment lien against any valuable property of the defendant, such as real estate, car, or other valuable personal property. A lien is a public record that stakes a claim to the proceeds from the sale of the property subject to the lien and remains in place for up to six years. Another option is to hire a debt collector. Although the services of a debt collect cost money, they can sometimes shake loose payments that might otherwise go unpaid, as the defendant grows tired of being hounded or the collector identifies resources that the defendant hasn’t previously disclosed. A third option is to pursue wage garnishment. A wage garnishment is a formal court process that orders an individual’s employer to set aside a certain portion of the individual’s wages each month and send them to the creditor. For someone who is owed a significant sum, wage garnishment can feel like an especially small sum, but it can be better than nothing. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. We work hard to ensure that our clients are compensated as quickly and as efficiently as possible. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call us today at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

A Driver’s Obligations to Report Car Accidents in Nevada

Nevada law imposes a number of requirements on drivers who have been in an accident. Everyone who drives in the state should understand these obligations so they can be prepared to comply with them in the event of an accident. Failing to follow the law can result in significant penalties, including a suspended license. For someone who has been injured in an accident, if the at-fault party fails to comply with the rules it can strengthen the case when filing a lawsuit to recover compensation. Anyone involved in an accident in Nevada needs to follow these rules:
  • Do not leave the scene. Failing to do so may constitute a hit-and-run violation.
  • The drivers involved in an accident must exchange certain personal information: name, address, driver’s license number, license plate numbers, and auto insurance carrier information.
  • If anyone was injured in the accident, call 911 and take reasonable steps to stabilize the injury before emergency responders arrive.
Nevada drivers may also have an obligation to file a separate accident report with the Nevada DMV. Such an obligation arises after accidents that are not investigated by police and that either caused property damage exceeding $750, or that resulted in a personal injury or death. In practical terms, an accident involving serious injury or death will almost certainly be investigated by police, who will arrive on the scene not long after a call is made to request emergency medical care. But one can imagine cases where an accident could take place that doesn’t require a 911 call, but does lead to injuries that require care or damage to a vehicle in excess of the $750 threshold. Accidents are reported to the DMV on Form SR-1. The form must be submitted within 10 days of the accident. It requires disclosure of the time and location of the accident, the names of the people involved (including pedestrians and cyclists), and a detailed description of the damage caused by the accident. It also needs to be accompanied by a physician’s report about any personal injuries that were suffered in the accident. Failing to file a required report can result in a one-year license suspension, and knowingly providing incorrect information is a crime. For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in auto accident cases. We are happy to provide you with a free attorney consultation about your case. Call us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Off-roading Accidents and the Law

Off-road driving is a popular pastime in Nevada. But as anyone who has spent significant time driving the state’s back roads knows, there are risks associated with leaving the pavement. Understanding how those risks can lead to legal liability is important for anyone who plans to pursue off-roading as a hobby. Off-roading exposes vehicles to mechanical failures that aren’t likely to happen on ordinary roads. Here are some ideas that are worth thinking about:
  • Make sure your insurance covers the risks of off-roading. A typical auto insurance policy may not cover off-roading. Many drivers may be focused on mechanical faults that could happen, but they should also think about the sort of expenses that might be associated with a significant injury while in the back country. For example, does an insurance policy cover a helicopter airlift in the event of an injury in an area that is inaccessible to a conventional ambulance? If not, does the driver have a plan to cover such costs?
  • Take steps to prevent injury. Drivers need to make sure that they and their passengers are safe. Depending on the kinds of activities that will be pursued while off road, wearing helmets and installing specialized safety equipment, such as roll bars and harnesses, may be necessary.
  • Comply with the rules of the “road.” Even though a vehicle may be able to virtually anywhere, it’s important to only drive on land that is approved for off-roading use. Trespassing is only one of the ways a driver can end up in trouble. Driving on land that is subject to environmental protections, for example, could expose the driver to substantial fines and even criminal prosecution. Should an accident occur while driving in an unauthorized location, the fact that the driver was driving unlawfully may limit an insurer’s obligation to honor coverage and may be used by the property’s owner to seek compensation.
  • Mechanical failures could give rise to products liability lawsuits. A vehicle designed for off-road use, like an ATV, or equipped with off-roading gear, like a customized pickup, typically has features that are designed to withstand the rigors of the sport. When an accident is caused by failure of a piece of equipment that can be traced to a defect in its manufacture or design, the option may exist to file a lawsuit against the equipment’s manufacturer and marketer.
  • Assumption of risk can limit recovery options. For someone injured in an off-roading accident the ability to recover compensation will often require overcoming the defense of assumption of risk. Assumption of risk can apply in cases where the plaintiff knowingly took part in a dangerous activity and got hurt in a foreseeable way.
Someone who has been injured by another person’s negligence while off-roading should consult with a personal injury attorney to ensure that their rights are protected. For over four decades the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have helped clients pursue compensation for injuries suffered in auto accidents. For a free attorney consultation about your case call us today at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

What to Do if a Child Is Injured at School

When a child suffers a significant injury at school, parents have the option of suing for compensation to help pay for medical bills and other expenses associated with the injury. The type of lawsuit that may be appropriate will depend on the specific facts of the case. In most cases, there are some general principles that will matter for parents in this circumstance.

Public versus private school

The option to sue a school for a student’s injuries exists regardless of whether the school is public or private. However, there are important distinctions between the two. As a subdivision of state government, a public school district is subject to the damages limits imposed by Nevada’s governmental entity liability laws. A plaintiff seeking damages in a negligence lawsuit against a school district cannot recover more than $100,000 in compensation. This damages limit doesn’t apply in cases involving deliberate acts. A private school does not have the same statutory protection as a public school, meaning the potential damages that a plaintiff could recover are substantially more. A private school may have required parents to sign waivers or other limitations of liability that could limit the amount a plaintiff could recover. Such waivers should not discourage parents from exploring legal options. Many waivers can be overcome by plaintiffs.

Potential causes of action against schools

Lawsuits for personal injury typically are grounded in a claim of negligence. Negligence involves the defendant’s failure to take a legally required degree of care toward the plaintiff. It can apply to a wide variety of circumstances. As a general rule, Nevada schools owe their students a high duty of care to prevent injuries and ensure safety. An act of negligence could give rise to a lawsuit in cases such as these:
  • Negligent maintenance of playground equipment or school infrastructure leading to injuries from slip-and-fall accidents, cuts from sharp edges, and so forth.
  • Negligent food safety practices leading to foodborne illnesses.
  • Negligent hiring of individuals who pose a foreseeable safety risk.
  • Negligent supervision of students leading to injuries from fights or other issues.
For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases. If your child has been injured at school we can help you examine your legal options and develop a strategy to seek compensation. For a free attorney consultation call us at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contact page.

Lane Departure Warning Systems Can Prevent Accidents

Lane departure warning systems are among the new innovations auto manufacturers are building into their cars to help drivers avoid accidents. The systems use sensors built into the car to detect a lane and sound an alarm if the driver veers out of the lane. Some systems will even take partial control of the vehicle to keep the car moving in a straight line. For drivers who are distracted or tired, this feature can be a significant safety enhancement. Lane departure systems raise interesting legal questions that can become important in the event that a vehicle equipped with such a system gets into an accident. Here are some potential issues that can arise:
  • The system doesn’t work as intended. Perhaps the most interesting question for drivers is how reliable a safety feature like lane detection really is. Will the car always know what a lane is? If the car can impede steering in some way, could that create its own safety hazards? For someone who is injured in an accident where a safety system may not have worked correctly, a products liability case against the manufacturer of the car or its safety system may be an appropriate remedy.
  • A driver disregards warning signals. How much liability does a driver have if a lane departure system provides an audible warning, but the driver ignores it? Drivers may have a good argument that having an optional safety system does not create an explicit legal obligation to pay attention to it. However, disregarding a car’s warnings may provide one important piece of evidence that a driver was not paying attention at the time of the accident. As such, ignoring the lane departure system may form at least part of a foundation for a claim of negligence against the driver.
  • The system was turned off at the time of the accident. Lane departure systems are typically equipped with a switch to turn them off. Some drivers don’t like to hear alarms every time they change lanes. Some don’t the idea of the car taking control. And as already mentioned, just because an optional system is onboard doesn’t mean that the driver has an obligation to use it. That a system is disabled could be a factor in an accident if a driver is used to having it on, but for whatever reason it has been turned off and the driver isn’t aware of it. In such cases, the driver may be relying on the system to drive in an irresponsible way, such as texting while driving with the expectation that the system offers a degree of extra safety. In a sense, this kind of driver may actually be less safe as a consequence of placing too much reliance on a safety feature.
When an accident involves complex questions of technology, it’s important to have an experienced accident attorney at your side. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in personal injury and accident cases. Reach out to us today for a free attorney consultation about your accident. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or through our site.

Using Cell Phone Memory as Evidence in an Accident Lawsuit

Cell phones are constantly gathering and sending data. Last year a Princeton study determined that some phones even track their users’ location if GPS and location tracking is manually disabled. An individual’s every screen view, not to mention texting or other forms of deliberate use, can be recorded in a phone’s memory. After an accident, all of this data can sometimes offer insights into the causes and responsibility for the accident. In the aftermath of an accident the people involved in the incident typically turn to their insurance companies for help resolving issues of fault and compensation. In a minor accident, such as one involving damages that don’t exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits, questions of evidence may not arise. The two insurers may simply resolve the case following a routine process. A more complex accident case, however, may hinge on a close analysis of the facts surrounding the case. This can be especially important if the accident involved significant personal injuries, where the amount of potential liability is large. In such cases, both sides have a substantial incentive to uncover evidence that is favorable to their position. Cell phone data can be one source of such evidence. Here are some examples:
  • Phone data that shows that the individual was texting or using data functions, like a web browser, at the time of the accident.
  • Data that contradicts testimony. For example, if a defendant is suspected of having been under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident, but there is no police toxicology report in evidence, the defendant’s phone may reveal that the defendant visited a pot dispensary shortly before the accident.
  • Data to prove concrete details about the accident itself. An individual may have taken video or photographs in the lead-up to the accident, or afterward. If those records don’t support the individual’s case, the individual may unlawfully try to delete them.
Getting ahold of cell phone evidence can be a challenge. Evidence can be subject to a subpoena, a court order that requires a party to provide the evidence to the other side even against objections. Some forms of data are not readily accessible to users and may require additional technical steps that require the help of outside consultants. If an individual has tried to delete information, the information may need to be recovered using special software. If the evidence can be used to prove a key component of a case, these efforts are worth the customary expense. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has served clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury and accident cases. We are happy to provide free attorney consultations to individuals who have been injured in an accident. Call 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

The Risks of Unproven Dietary Supplements

The dietary supplements industry has seen rapid growth over the last decade. Supplements are available in virtually every grocery store, with many more available online. The industry pays significant sums to promote products, often making wild claims about the health benefits customers will experience. But many dietary supplements aren’t subject to the kinds of regulations that protect consumers. Especially when a supplement claims to have drug-like efficacy, consumers need to be careful about consuming a product that may not work, or worse, may cause significant health problems.

The regulatory process for dietary supplements

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration enforces regulations related to dietary supplements. These regulations are distinct from those that apply to other kinds of food, and importantly, they do not come close to the standards used to regulate medicinal drugs. This despite the claims of many supplement manufacturers that their products have profound medical benefits, like enhanced brain function or improved sexual performance. The FDA’s regulatory authority has two prongs:
  • Selling adulterated products is prohibited. Adulteration simply means using a substitute ingredient for the one that is claimed on the label. The substitute typically is of lower quality than the ingredient that is described. A simple example would be if a business claims that its products’ ingredients are 100% organic, but in fact they include non-organic materials.
  • Selling misbranded products is prohibited. This rule is important, because brand information is key to determining the source of, and therefore the responsibility for a product’s safety.
Applicable rules place the burden on manufacturers and marketers to test the safety of their products within the parameters of applicable food safety laws. There is no independent process of review that applies to all products. Some companies have gone to great lengths to devise showy “testing” procedures that in fact are grounded in arbitrary measures and not in a rigorous and studiously neutral scientific process.

The potential health risks of dietary supplements

One hopes that at worst a supplement simply doesn’t do anything other than drain one’s wallet. But organizations like the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society have raised the possibility of serious complications arising from their use. These complications can include:
  • Unforeseen interactions with medications, such as reduced effectiveness of birth control pills.
  • Potential complications for women who are pregnant or nursing.
  • Dangerous overdoses of certain vitamins or minerals, especially when taken in conjunction with other foods.
  • Lack of disclosure of allergens, especially from businesses operating behind the relative anonymity of websites.
Someone who suffers serious side effects from a supplement should stop taking the supplement and consult with a doctor. In severe cases, pursuing compensation through a lawsuit may be appropriate. A lawsuit may be especially appropriate if the manufacturer or seller of the product has failed to disclose a significant danger associated with the supplement, but there may be other circumstances where a lawsuit makes sense. The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented Nevada clients in products liability and personal injury cases for over 45 years. If you have been injured by a dietary supplement and you would like to discuss your legal options, please reach out to us today for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or through our website.

When Should Injured Workers Hire an Attorney?

Someone who gets injured at work and needs to file a workers’ compensation claim hopefully can rely on the system working smoothly to provide complete care and other benefits. One hopes that injured workers have access to good advice through their employers or a third-party claims administrator, and that everyone involved will try hard to ensure that the worker receives all the benefits that are owed under state law. Unfortunately, this isn’t always how things go. Like every kind of insurance, workers’ compensation often raises conflicts of interest, disputes about medical diagnoses or treatment plans, and other problems that a worker who isn’t represented by an attorney may struggle to overcome.

How an attorney facilitates workers’ comp claims

The role of a workers’ compensation attorney is to protect the client’s interests and ensure that all the benefits to which the worker is entitled are properly paid. Within the scope of that work there are a number of important things an attorney can do for the client:
  • Ensure that claims paperwork is completed correctly and on time.
  • Monitor the medical evaluation process to verify that the client isn’t railroaded into accepting an incorrect or incomplete diagnosis.
  • Raise and resolve concerns with how coverage is being provided.
  • Keep track of important records that may be vital if the claims process needs to be taken into a dispute resolution proceeding or litigation.
  • Advise the client on when and how to dispute insurer decisions.

When should you hire an attorney?

Whether an individual needs the help of an attorney is really a question that needs to be answered after taking stock of all the facts of the individual’s case. It never hurts to reach out to an attorney who offers free consultations to determine if representation is necessary. Broadly speaking, the help of an attorney is more important if complicating factors are present. Some examples of these include:
  • Severe injuries. An attorney’s help can make a huge difference for someone who has suffered a serious injury that will involve significant health care expenses, long periods off work, or some form of disability. Such injuries cost workers a lot of time, money, and stress. Ensuring that workers’ compensation benefits cover everything the worker needs takes planning and close oversight. In part this is because high-cost claims often end up in disputes as insurers look for ways to limit their financial exposure.
  • Wrongfully denied claims. Someone who feels they’ve had their claim wrongfully turned down may need to file an appeal. Although an attorney isn’t necessarily required to make an appeal, the chances of an appeal succeeding gets significantly better if an attorney is involved, especially if the attorney has been involved from early in the process.
  • Medical disputes. Many types of injury are subject to a wide variety of medical diagnoses. A strained back could be diagnosed as a muscular problem or as a slipped disc. A headache might be diagnosed as a concussion or as a more severe type of head trauma. Insurers know this and will use the medical examination process to find ways to restrict their exposure. An attorney can make sure the client knows how to exercise important rights like the option for seeking a second opinion.
The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in workers’ compensation cases for over 45 years. We provide personal, caring service to each and every client. For a free attorney consultation about your case call us at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

Workers’ Comp for Employees of Temporary Staffing Firms

The number of temporary staffing firms is constantly growing as businesses look for ways to manage employee costs by outsourcing work to temporary staff. Temporary workers are found in virtually every industry, including dangerous professions like construction, transportation, and health care. Like other employers in Nevada, a temporary staffing firm is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that protects its staff members in the event that they are injured while working at a client site.

Understanding when workers’ compensation applies

Nevada’s workers’ compensation system provides that employees are insured against injuries that arise out of or in the course of employment. Generally speaking “the course of employment” captures any time for which an employee is compensated. A worker often is also covered during times when they are doing something that the employer has asked them to do. Personal time is not within the scope of workers’ compensation. Critically, a normal commute usually is not covered. However, because a temporary worker is often asked to commute to a location other than their firm’s office, those trips may be covered for some workers. Workers’ compensation is a kind of no-fault insurance. This means that the insurer is not allowed to base its coverage decisions on who was responsible for causing the worker’s injury. It’s important to remember that a temporary worker is employed by the staffing firm, not the client at whose site the work is done. The temp worker therefore falls under the staffing firm’s workers’ compensation coverage.

Staffing firms often face workers’ compensation challenges

The inherent complexity of a staffing firm’s risk profile means they can have a hard time finding insurance. Many firms get insured through a professional employer organization, or PEO. A PEO is essentially a service company that takes on components of an employer’s human resources functions, such as payroll and insurance administration. A PEO may offer temporary staffing firms with a way to secure workers’ compensation coverage under a plan that groups together all of the PEO’s clients. The presence of a PEO in the chain of authority can add a layer of administrative challenges to a worker who is injured on the job. Ideally a claim process goes smoothly and with adequate support from the insurer to resolve technical hiccups without interrupting the injured worker’s treatment. But if administration of the claim is handled by a PEO, the worker may have no relationship with the individuals handling the claim and may need additional help to resolve problems. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in workers compensation cases for over 45 years. We can help temporary workers get the workers’ compensation coverage to which they are entitled. For a free attorney consultation about your claim, call us today at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.