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When Should a Personal Injury Plaintiff Appeal?

In rare circumstances a personal injury case may go all the way to trial, with a judge or jury making critical decisions about the liability of the defendant and determining how much the defendant should pay in compensation to the plaintiff. Cases fail to settle before trial for a variety of reasons, a common one being unreconcilable differences about key facts or interpretations of law that lead the two sides to very different ideas about how much the plaintiff’s claims are worth. After a trial is over and a jury reaches a decision, there are times when a plaintiff may want to file an appeal.

What an appeal can and can’t do

The party that files the appeal—the appellant—may be the defendant or the plaintiff. Nevada’s Rules of Appellate Procedure govern when and how appeals may be pursued. In an appeal the appellant asks the higher court to change part or all of the lower court’s decision, potentially throwing out the decision of the trial court and in some cases even ordering that the case be retried. Trial courts generally examine the decisions of lower courts for legal errors that could have influenced the outcome of the case.

A key feature of appeals is that they are not retrials of the entire case. The appeals court will examine the evidence presented at the trial court, but will not allow either party to introduce new evidence. In other words, the case will be decided based on the facts that were established at trial. If a problem was allowed to remain on the record at the trial level, the appeals court may not have leeway to consider alternative evidence.

When is an appeal the right step?

The decision to appeal can be a complex and difficult one, in part because appeals must be made within a fairly short time following the final decision of the trial court. Appeals may require the expertise of a new attorney, one who is familiar with appellate practice. And of course, appeals can cost more money.

There are cases where a plaintiff may wish to file an appeal anyway, because the stakes are high enough that pursuing a case to its fullest is worth the risks. Here are some scenarios where the plaintiff may want to appeal:

  • Improper instructions were given to a jury, which reached a key decision in reliance upon them.
  • The trial judge made errors in allowing or disallowing critical evidence.
  • There is evidence that the jury or judge was unlawfully biased against the plaintiff.

Work with an experienced Nevada personal injury attorney

Ideally a personal injury case won’t need to go as far as an appeal. If it happens it’s important that every part of the case leading up to the appeal has been handled competently. That’s another good reason for working with a law firm with deep experience handling personal injury cases. The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented Nevada clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call us at 702-388-4476 or through our website.

Suing for Injuries from Rear-Ending Accidents

Getting rear-ended by another driver can cause major, life-altering injuries. Sometimes the nature of these injuries isn’t obvious until days or even weeks after the accident, when symptoms suddenly arise. Common injuries from rear-ending accidents include head trauma (concussions, skull fractures), neck and spine injuries (whiplash, herniated discs), and soft-tissue damage (injuries to nerves, muscular problems). Ideally the insurance of the at-fault driver will automatically cover the costs associated with such injuries, but in reality the injured person often needs to file a lawsuit to recover full compensation.

Insurance versus lawsuits

The reason a lawsuit may be necessary in a rear-ending case has to do how insurance works. In Nevada the minimum liability insurance that all nonprofessional drivers are required to carry is $25,000 per injured person per accident. Needless to say, $25,000 is unlikely to cover all the costs associated with a serious injury. For a person dealing with major medical bills, an inability to work, or other significant financial consequences, suing the at-fault driver may be necessary to get more.

Drivers who are involved in rear-ending accidents should take care to not fall into the trap of a quick settlement offer by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Settlement offers are usually made to limit an insurer’s exposure to risk. They rarely take into account the full scope of the consequences being suffered by the injured person. The injured person may feel that accepting the quick cash is necessary to cover immediate financial needs, but by taking it they may be leaving significant value on the table.

Documenting damages from rear-ending accidents

As with any car accident, someone who has been rear-ended should try to keep good records about details of the accident and its aftermath. Take pictures of the accident scene, write down notes about what happened, and look for potential witnesses who may be of help developing a legal case should it be necessary. Even if no injuries are apparent immediately after the accident, it is important to be examined by a doctor to verify that there are no hidden injuries, such as neck and spine displacement, that could become a problem later.

Seeking medical attention quickly also can be important for establishing the causal relationship between soft-tissue injuries and the accident. A defendant in rear-end cases may try to raise doubts about the link between the accident and an injury that was not immediately apparent at the time of the accident. A medical exam results in concrete records that can be important in any personal injury lawsuit.

GGRM is a Las Vegas auto accident law firm

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 auto accident cases. If you have been injured in a rear-ending accident in Nevada, contact us today for a free attorney consultation. Call 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

Suing a Child Care Provider for Negligence in Nevada

Parents are right to expect safe and responsible practices by the daycare facilities where they leave their children. A properly licensed and legally compliant facility must follow numerous laws and regulations governing safety and staffing, all designed to reduce the chance that a child will suffer a serious injury. Ordinary bumps and scrapes might be expected, but when a child needs to be hospitalized after an injury, questions will arise about the extent to which the daycare is legally responsible.

The short answer to such questions is usually, yes, the facility does bear responsibility. Responsible providers carry insurance to protect themselves, the children in their care, and their parents from suffering serious financial consequences in the event of a tragic accident. They also ensure that their staff are well qualified to take on the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the children in their care.

There are numerous potential sources of injury to children at daycare facilities. Ideally, every facility takes steps to reduce or eliminate sources of risk, but financial constraints, inattention, or inadequate skill can leave hazards unresolved. Examples of sources of injury include:

  • Improperly maintained equipment
  • Inadequate supervision
  • Inattention to food allergies
  • Improper response to an injury
  • Negligent hiring practices

In extreme cases, a daycare’s employee may have committed neglect or abuse that could give rise to a criminal investigation. The more common cause of action for an individual plaintiff will probably be negligence. A daycare that fails to meet its statutory requirements, or that fails to take reasonable care to protect children from injury, may be said to have committed negligence.

Each case needs to be evaluated according to its own facts. In some cases a daycare’s staff may be reluctant to explain what happened, or may tell stories that the child disagrees with. One challenge in such cases is overcoming the staff’s reluctance to be held responsible for its own mistakes. An experienced attorney knows how to overcome these issues.

The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez provide compassionate, caring service to each of our clients. We have represented clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury cases for over four decades. For a free attorney consultation about your case call us today at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

Seeking Compensation After a Drunk Driving Accident in Nevada

Nevada law imposes significant penalties on those who drive drunk, and for good reason. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 30 people die every day in the United States in crashes related to drunk driving. Many more than that are injured by drunk drivers every day. The consequences can be devastating for those who are injured and for their families.

Drunk driving is a crime, punishable in Nevada by a jail term of up to 6 months and a fine for first time offenders. Someone who kills another person as a consequence of drunk driving faces significantly harsher penalties. For the victim of a drunk driving crash, a criminal prosecution may offer solace in some regard, but it won’t necessarily pay for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and other damages associated with injuries.

Even if state prosecutors are pressing charges against a drunk driver, an injured victim (or the victim’s family, if the victim has died or is incapacitated) can sue in civil court for financial compensation. Such a lawsuit probably will seek recovery from the drunk driver’s insurance company, but more than likely will also seek to recover additional damages from the driver personally.

A drunk driver can be sued in civil court regardless of whether prosecutors will press charges, and regardless of whether the drunk driver is found guilty. Criminal courts have higher standards for conviction than the standards applied in civil courts for purposes of determining liability. A criminal conviction of a defendant is conclusive evidence of civil liability in Nevada. NRS 41.133. If a defendant has been convicted of a drunk driving offense, the questions in the civil case may turn to the extent of the damages for which the defendant should be held responsible.

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in auto accident cases. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, please reach out to us today for a free attorney consultation about your options. Call us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Are You Unhappy with Your Personal Injury Attorney?

The attorney-client relationship is one of the most intimate non-family relationships one can have. An attorney is ethically bound to provide zealous, passionate representation to every client. The client, meanwhile, is entitled to ask questions and raise concerns. Sometimes a client finds that an attorney isn’t providing the kind of service that the client expects or isn’t getting the results the client believes are possible. In those cases, it can make sense for the client to find a new attorney.

Reasons why a client might want to switch

Someone who is in the midst of pursuing a legal claim for a personal injury can be under a lot of pressure, whether from the costs related to the injury, its effect on their personal life, or the impacts on the client’s job. It is important that the relationship with the attorney not also be a source of problems. Clients may want to move on from an attorney who is adding to stress by being rude, belligerent, or intimidating.

Clients may also want to move on from an attorney that they believe has committed an ethical violation. An ethical violation might involve a breach of the attorney-client confidential relationship, whether in court or in the course of negotiating a settlement. A violation might also involve a mishandling of funds, or a conflict of interest such as a simultaneous relationship with a party who is adverse to the client.

Reasons not to switch

The most important reason for a client to stick with the attorney they start with is to avoid lengthy delays and potentially undermining their case. A new attorney will need to come up to speed on everything that has happened, potentially taking significant time to re-analyze issues that the previous attorney had already studied. The court may allow for a short delay while the new attorney gets up to speed, but a judge probably won’t allow a plaintiff to inconvenience the defense for very long.

A less clear case but one that deserves attention is where the client simply feels that the attorney isn’t getting as much as the client believes is possible to achieve out of the case. Clients rarely have the training and knowledge required to fully evaluate the merits of a case or the kinds of damages that are achievable in court or through settlements. Leaving an attorney for another one solely because that attorney tells you what you want to hear may not be a good strategy. In fact, the attorney who promises the moon probably is overselling the case.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury firm

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. We strive to provide personal, caring service to each and every client, regardless of the size of the case. If you have been injured and would like to speak to an attorney about your legal options, call us today for a free consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contact page.

Can Fitness Trackers Cause Injuries?

Devices that track personal health and activity statistics have become all the rage. Fitbits, Apple watches, cell phone apps, and other devices all can keep track of an astonishing amount of information about their users. Everything from a person’s heart rate and step counts to sleep patterns and minutes spent exercising. Every fitness tracker device is intended to help users keep tabs on their activity and, in theory, move more.

Fitness trackers aren’t without their critics. Several types of potential harm have been pointed out, with varying degrees of substance behind them:

  • Potentially harmful radiation. The science is unsettled on whether cell phones and other similar devices can cause cancer. Some doctors recommend limiting cell phone use in case a connection between the radiation phones produce and certain kinds of brain cancer. Fitness trackers operate at a lower energy level than cell phones, but they can still release a constant stream of low-frequency energy that could theoretically pose a health risk. Only time will tell if such fears are warranted.
  • Over-exercise. Fitness trackers push their users to meet goals based around a general standard that might not be appropriate for every user. People who push themselves to meet the goals set by their trackers may be putting themselves at risk, especially if they have undiagnosed conditions like heart disease that could make exercising dangerous.
  • Anxiety and other mental health. Some people are reporting serious bouts of anxiety and obsessiveness caused by their trackers. Someone who fails to meet the goals set by their tracker might feel stress that affects other parts of their life. People who are prone to problems like eating disorders or depression may develop significant complications as a result of using a fitness tracker.

It’s always a good idea to consult with a doctor before beginning a new exercise routine. A doctor might also help a patient evaluate whether a fitness tracker is the right solution for them. For most people a fitness tracker is probably a good tool, but taking some precautions is probably a good idea.

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez represents clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury cases. If you have been injured we would be happy to provide you with a free attorney consultation about your legal options. Call us at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

An Employer’s Liability for Allowing Dogs at Work

As employers have moved toward a more casual work environment, some have begun to allow employees to bring their dogs to work. When such a policy works, everyone in the office enjoys having a dog or two around, the dogs are friendly and unobtrusive, and the dog owners get to avoid paying for dog care or worrying about a dog left at home all day. But if a dog causes significant injuries to an employee, whether from biting or knocking the employee down, what options does the injured employee have to recover compensation? There are two potential avenues to consider: workers’ compensation and personal injury litigation.

Dogs and workers’ compensation

With respect to an employer’s liability, workers’ compensation rules apply to most injuries that arise out of or in the course of employment. Workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy, which means that if an injury falls within the scope of workers’ compensation, the injured employee usually can’t sue the employer for personal injury. Instead, the employee files a workers’ comp claim to cover the costs associated with the injury. Because workers’ compensation is also a form of no-fault insurance, the insurer will not investigate whether the employee’s own negligence contributed to the injury. A workers’ compensation claim typically will cover medical bills, lost wages for someone who must take time off work, and potentially the cost of healing scars and other issues.

An employer that allows dogs at work should have incorporated the presence of dogs into its workers’ compensation policy. If the employer did not, and the insurer refuses to cover the employee’s injuries, the employee will need to consult with an attorney to determine the best next steps with respect to the employer’s liability.

What about the dog’s owner?

The workers’ comp exclusive remedy rule only protects the employer. It does not apply to the coworker who owns the dog. Whether a lawsuit against the dog’s owner is appropriate depends on a number of factors, including: Is workers’ compensation insufficient to cover the expenses related to the injury? Did the dog’s owner behave in an especially negligent or intentional manner to cause or contribute to the injury? Did the owner knowingly bring a dangerous dog to work?

In some cases, the answer to the question of whether to pursue workers’ compensation or a lawsuit may be “both.” Someone who receives workers’ comp benefits cannot pursue the same types of compensation from a defendant but may be able to pursue other forms of compensation. Workers’ comp doesn’t provide compensation for cases of gross negligence, or for pain, suffering, or other forms of noneconomic damages.

GGRM handles dog bite litigation in Las Vegas

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. We can help you sort through your legal options if you have been injured by a dog at work. Reach out to us today for a free attorney consultation. Call us at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contact page.

Injuries at Martial Arts Classes

Kids and adults alike enjoy the strength, flexibility, and discipline that can be gained in martial arts classes. Martial arts can also be a lot of fun. But like any athletic pursuit, they also involve a degree of risk. Participants should know the risks and keep in mind that they may not be covered by insurance or other legal protections in the event that they are injured while they practice.

Martial arts classes and liability waivers

Every martial arts course asks its participants to sign waivers of liability. The risks of injury in a martial arts class are fairly obvious. Participants may get injured simply attempting a strenuous move, like a kick or falling roll. They may also get injured during routine practice with other participants. Grappling styles like judo or jiu-jitsu involve close contact throws, leg locks, and other movements that can trap and turn joints in awkward ways. “Striking” styles like kung fu or karate can lead to accidental punches and kicks that can cause significant injuries.

Many liability waivers are enforceable with respect to foreseeable injuries like these. A waiver typically will also specify that the participant assumes the risk of injury. The assumption of risk is an important legal defense in any personal injury case. Where the injured plaintiff knew about the risk of injury involved with an activity, but went ahead anyway, lawyers for the defense will have a sound argument that the plaintiff assumed the risk of injury and therefore the defendant is not liable.

Where liability waivers might not apply

A typical martial arts program is a safe and friendly environment, even if competition is intense. There are at least two cases where a waiver of liability might not be relevant in an injury. The first is if an instructor does something that is particularly irresponsible and causes an injury. For example, if an instructor (that is, an agent of the business that runs the program) ignores a participant’s cry of pain and continues to complete a move that causes serious injury, the instructor may be committing an act of negligence that could give rise to liability.

A clearer cut example would be if someone involved in a class deliberately tries to hurt someone else. A waiver cannot excuse deliberately bad behavior, like purposefully punching someone with the intent to harm, or deliberately throwing someone onto a hard surface knowing that they likely will be hurt. Thankfully such cases are rare, but if they do happen it’s important for the injured person to talk to a personal injury attorney.

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. If you have been injured at a martial arts case and you would like to speak to an attorney about whether you have a legal case, we are happy to provide a free attorney consultation. Call us today at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

The Risks of Participating in Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are a fundamental part of the development of new medicines and other products, like medical devices. Before a product is tested in a clinical trial in the United States it is required to undergo extensive safety testing to prove that it doesn’t pose a risk of toxicity or other hazards to patients in the trial. Safety standards for clinical trials are determined and enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. One hopes that the standards protect participants from being placed at an undue risk of harm, but problems can still happen. There are several sources of risk related to participating in a clinical trial:

  • A participant may not receive any active medicines. Patients with hard-to-treat illnesses may view clinical trials as an option of last resort, potentially offering cures that aren’t otherwise available on the market. For patients who hope to receive benefits from an experimental medicine, it can be disappointing to later learn that instead of being given the new medicine, the patient was instead given a placebo as part of the experimental control group. Because a control group is a necessary part of the scientific process, patients should know that this is a risk of being involved in any clinical trial.
  • The product may turn out to be dangerous. The object of a clinical trial is to answer specific scientific questions about the tested product, such as whether it is effective in reducing certain indicators related to a specific disease. Researchers are required by law to disclose all known risks associated with a given product as part of a participant giving informed consent to participate. But researchers may not know all the potential risks of a new product. Some individuals may react badly to the product, even facing long-term illness or death as a consequence of the product itself or its interaction with other chemicals in the patient’s body.
  • Researcher negligence. The pressure on businesses to reach favorable outcomes in trials is significant. Researchers may make serious mistakes or may even commit acts of fraud in order to speed up or alter the results of a study. In some cases, a researcher’s bad behavior could lead to a patient’s injury.

Before participating in any clinical trials it’s important to first consult with your doctor and take complete stock of the risks. Someone who suffers a serious injury because of a clinical trial may have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for the costs associated with treatment and recovery.

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in personal injury cases. If you or a loved one has been injured in a clinical trial please contact us today for a free attorney consultation about your options. Call us at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

Infertility Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Infertility can be a shocking side effect of many types of personal injury. Whether as a consequence of direct physical injury, or due to necessary courses of treatment, infertility may be a significant contributing factor in a person’s post-injury recovery. Someone who was planning to have children and no longer can, or who must now go through expensive fertility treatments to do so, may have the option of adding those issues to a list of demands in litigation.

Infertility as a form of damages

In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured plaintiff demands compensation for the damages associated with the injury that can be attributed to the defendant’s bad behavior. Plaintiffs typically base their claims on a range of well understood things like medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. A lawsuit may also seek recovery for so-called noneconomic damages, like a plaintiff’s suffering. Infertility can be a factor in both types of damages.

This is because infertility can have elements that are relatively easy or relatively difficult to quantify. On the one hand are cases where an injury forces the plaintiff to undergo expensive fertility treatments or psychological therapy to overcome emotional trauma specifically stemming from loss of fertility. The costs of such treatments have clear sources. On the other hand, the plaintiff’s emotional suffering may have an abstract dimension as well. The costs of losing the ability to have a child can in many ways be more abstract than concrete.

The problems of proof

To receive compensation for any type of damages a plaintiff in a personal injury case must be able to prove the damages with reasonable certainty. Infertility is an example of an injury that raises challenges of proof for a plaintiff. There are several reasons why this can be so, including these:

  • Causation. A plaintiff’s fertility problems may have more than one cause. In cases where a clear line can’t be drawn between the plaintiff’s infertility and the defendant’s negligence, the plaintiff will need additional resources, such as the testimony of a medical expert. Likewise, a defendant likely will try to raise doubts about whether the plaintiff has proven the case, for example by asking for evidence that the plaintiff had no fertility problems prior to the injury.
  • Emotional harm is harder to prove. For plaintiffs who seek damages for suffering of any kind, issues of proof can raise extra challenges. Infertility may raise especially difficult questions, as plaintiffs may need to “prove” their interest in having children and how infertility has affected them. A plaintiff’s attorney can take steps to protect the client from overzealous defense lawyers, but ultimately the client will need to decide whether pursuing these sorts of damages is worth the emotional cost.

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez represents clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury and auto accident litigation. We are proud of our firm’s long history of providing clients with complete, personal service.  For a free attorney consultation about your case, call us today at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.