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What Obligations Does an Employer Have to Help an Injured Employee?

Employers in Nevada have a number of obligations related to injured employees. One way to break down the obligations is to look at each of them according to when they arise. Some obligations arise as soon as the employee starts work. Others arise in the immediate response to an injury. And still others apply in the aftermath of the injury, when the employer’s assistance with the employee’s workers’ compensation claim can be the difference between an accepted or denied claim.
  1. Pre-injury obligations.
Most Nevada employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance that protects their employees in the event they are injured on the job. Not carrying insurance is a significant violation of law, subjecting the company to potential criminal prosecution, regulatory actions, and fines. Few employers want to risk losing their business over a failure to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. But from time to time an employer operates without it in hopes of saving some money, putting employees at risk. Under state and federal workplace safety laws (commonly known as OSHA) employers over a certain size have a general duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees, as well as specific obligations relating to particular hazards such as electrical or chemical work. Although OSHA rules do not provide for a private cause of action, they do provide an important baseline of safety that protects employees from working in substandard conditions.
  1. Obligations in the immediate aftermath of an injury.
When an employee suffers an injury in Nevada the employer has an obligation to assist the injured employee with obtaining emergency medical treatment. That might include calling 911, and might also include administering emergency care such as CPR, performing triage on a wound, and so forth. Many employers are taking steps to train their staff in emergency first aid, in part because such programs can help them lower workers’ compensation costs.
  1. Obligations as the employee recovers.
The recovery phase of a serious injury is where things can get quite complex. There are a range of obligations that employers have with respect to employees who have been injured on the job:
  • They may not take adverse employment actions against them based solely on their having suffered or reported an injury.
  • They must keep good records of the incident and report it to the state.
  • They are required to cooperate with any investigation that arises due to the employee’s workers’ compensation claim, such as if the insurance adjuster has questions about whether the injury was work-related.
  • They must comply with laws governing an injured employee’s options for returning to work, including offering light duty where appropriate.
  • They must make reasonable accommodations for an employee who has suffered a disability.
As one might expect, the above list only glosses over the surface of what might be involved in a given case. Quite often the injured employee can benefit from the assistance of an attorney with experience handling workers’ compensation cases. For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area pursue workers’ compensation claims. If you have been injured at work and you have questions about how to get the coverage you deserve, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Hit by Debris from a Truck in Nevada

Trucks carrying gravel, construction debris, and other loose material are supposed to have covers that keep their cargoes safely under control. But accidents still happen, and some operators are more careful than others when they load their vehicles. Many of us have had our windshields cracked by a loose rock falling out of a truck. But sometimes falling debris can cause much more significant problems, including accidents that result in personal injuries. In such cases, an injured person may have a legal claim against the operator of the truck.

The rules governing cargo securement

A general principle that applies to all drivers on the road is that a driver has a legal obligation to operate his or her vehicle in a reasonably safe manner. Anyone who puts cargo on a vehicle must take reasonable steps to ensure that the cargo is safely secured against falling into the roadway or otherwise creating unsafe conditions. This is true for all drivers. For example, it applies to someone who loads a mattress onto the top of a car to bring home. Commercial cargo carriers are subject to a broad range of rules with a variety of sources. Federal law regulates many kinds of commercial vehicles that fall within the scope of interstate commerce—a broad concept that captures many types of businesses, such as those using interstate highways. Federal cargo securement rules impose specific requirements for certain types of cargo. Nevada state law may have rules that go further than the federal standards for a given type of cargo.

Suing a trucking company

Almost by definition, debris falling off a truck is a sign that the person who loaded the truck, the driver, or the business that owns the truck has failed to comply with cargo securement rules. Ideally the driver of the truck sees the accident and pulls over to render assistance and provide insurance information. Sometimes a driver may not see that debris has fallen from the back of the truck and might need to be tracked down by other means. Commercial trucking firms are required to carry significantly more insurance than ordinary drivers. Someone who has been injured in a cargo-related accident should be able to rely upon the trucking company’s insurance coverage to provide at least partial compensation for injuries. But there are cases where the insurance company refuses to provide full coverage, or where the company’s insurance limits aren’t sufficient to cover the full cost of an injury. A lawsuit may be necessary. In cases where a trucking company or its agents have failed to comply with applicable cargo securement rules, the fact of noncompliance can be an important component in litigation. As a rule, when a civil defendant was violating a law or regulation at the time of an accident, and that violation was a cause of the accident itself, the plaintiff can use the violation to establish that the defendant has committed negligence per se. This standard shifts the burden of proof to the defendant, who now must show that its negligent behavior was not the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. In cases involving loose cargo, such a case may be difficult for the defense to prove. Instead, it likely will be forced to settle on favorable terms.

The GGRM Law Firm represents auto accident victims

The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented clients in the Las Vegas area in auto accident cases for over four decades. If you have been injured as a result of debris falling from a truck, contact us today for a free attorney consultation about your case. Call us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

Four Reasons Why a Workers’ Comp Claim Might be Denied

Having a workers’ compensation claim denied can be a shocking and frustrating experience. For many working people, workers’ comp is the best or only available resource for getting care for an injury or illness that happened on the job. When someone can’t keep working or needs long-term care, denied coverage can have profound personal consequences. Here are some of the common reasons why an insurer will deny a claim.
  • The injury or illness is not eligible for benefits.
To be eligible for workers’ compensation coverage, an individual must have been injured or contracted a disease in the course and scope of employment. Workers’ comp is a no-fault form of insurance, which means that an insurer cannot base decisions about whether to approve a claim on the degree to which the employee or someone else is responsible for the injury or disease. But insurers do look closely at the circumstances of the claim to verify that the individual who makes it was in fact working at the time of the injury. Cases involving denied claims have included employees who are injured while commuting, on a lunch break, or between shifts. But the dividing line between work and not-work is not always clear, and sometimes a dispute can arise when, for example, an employee is injured on the way to an employer-provided break room.
  • Missed deadlines and incomplete paperwork.
The insurance adjusters who evaluate the merits of claims are paid to review every detail for breaches of legal requirements. When claim paperwork is submitted late, or required pieces are missing, an insurer may have an excuse for denying an otherwise valid claim. For example, an accident at work needs to be reported to the employer within seven days.
  • Suspicious discrepancies.
Insurers are passionate about guarding against fraud. If they think that a claim is based on misinformation, they will be quick to deny it. Workers can find themselves facing a denied claim if information they provide in their paperwork doesn’t match third-party records, such as those provided by the employer or the physician who conducts the initial evaluation. Injured workers are also getting into trouble by posting contradictory information to social media accounts.
  • Evidence of drugs or alcohol use.
A workers’ compensation insurer can deny an employee’s claims if it finds evidence that the employee was drunk or under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of the workplace injury. This includes recreational marijuana use. An employee can only overcome the denial of a claim on the basis of drugs or alcohol use by showing through clear and convincing evidence that the substance was not a factor in the employee’s injury. Although the facts of an injury may support the employee’s argument, the process will be significantly more complicated as a consequence of drug or alcohol use at work. For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in workers’ compensation claims disputes. We can help you resolve your questions about workers’ compensation coverage and fight back against an insurer that refuses to give you the coverage you deserve. Call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Is Lead Poisoning Still with Us?

It’s tempting to think of lead poisoning as a problem that’s largely of a bygone era, when paint in old buildings caused widespread problems for children. But the truth is that the problem is still ongoing and may even be getting worse. Lead poisoning can have serious, long-lasting effects, especially on growing children. Someone who is affected by lead poisoning may have grounds for filing a lawsuit.

The sources and risks of lead poisoning

Despite regulatory efforts to reduce or eliminate lead from historical sources like lead and other construction materials, it remains present in a wide variety of items. A huge variety of products have been found to contain lead, from ceramic tile to cosmetics. Many products that are imported from overseas, including toys and food products, may contain significantly higher doses of lead than would be allowed under U.S. regulations. Part of the challenge of lead poisoning comes from the fact that even very small amounts in a person’s blood stream can be extremely toxic. It can cause a wide range of serious medical problems. In children lead poisoning can be especially serious, leading to developmental problems, cognitive issues, pain, and even seizures. Adults may experience high blood pressure, mood disorders, and memory problems, among other things.

Liability for lead poisoning

For someone who has been affected by lead poisoning and wants to pursue legal action to recover compensation for its related costs, a preliminary challenge is often to identify the source of the lead. Exposure to even small amounts of lead can cause significant problems. Tracing the source can require extensive, expert analysis of the environment where the affected person lives. The presence of lead paint in an old rental property might offer a clear-cut case. But finding the lead in, say, a particular toy may require considerably more work. The theories that a plaintiff might use to recover compensation for lead poisoning will vary according to the lead’s source. A tenant who lives in a building with undisclosed lead paint might have a good case for premises liability against the landlord. The parents of a child poisoned by a toy could have a strong case of products liability against the manufacturer, importer, and marketer of the toy. In each case, the plaintiff can seek compensation for medical treatment as well as remedial care to help the affected individual improve their quality of life.

GGRM handles lead poisoning litigation in Las Vegas

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in cases involving personal injury, premises liability, and products liability. If you or a loved one has suffered from lead poisoning, please reach out to us today for a free attorney consultation about your legal options. Call us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Seeking Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Depression

Work-related depression is a problem that is hiding in plain sight. Whether resulting from the stress of the job, loneliness, or alienation, depression is an authentic and serious problem for working people. Evidence that employers are aware of this problem can be seen in the rise of employer-provided “help lines” that provide employees with no-cost, anonymous counseling services to address depression and other issues. When an employee suffers from depression that is linked to work, the employer’s workers’ compensation program may offer a source of financial assistance for treatment and recovery. Despite the well-understood link between the stresses of work and clinical depression, the employee who makes a workers’ compensation claim likely will need help making an effective case for coverage. Workers’ compensation programs often are designed to address relatively easily understood workplace injuries, like broken bones and strained ligaments. Mental health issues pose special challenges for insurers, who will look for ways to avoid financial responsibility for an employee’s treatment. The most likely argument that an insurer will make to deny coverage is that the illness was not work related. To be covered by workers’ compensation a disease must have arisen out of or in the course of employment. If the disease can be traced to a cause that is not work-related, coverage will not apply. A conventional injury, like carpal tunnel from a non-ergonomic desk layout, tends to have a clear causal link to the employee’s job. The claimant must be ready to show that depression was caused by the job. Proving the link between depression and work can involve several sources of evidence. An important one will be the employee’s mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or counselor. An expert’s evaluation of the underlying sources of depression can be vitally important in cases where causes beyond work can have played a secondary role. Other sources of evidence might include other employees as well as confirmation from family and friends who have observed the ways that the employee’s work have affected his or her mood. Depression can result from ongoing stresses, but it can also be the consequence of a specific event. Here the case for workers’ compensation can be clearer. A worker who has seen a number of long-time colleagues laid off may experience specific emotional responses to those events. A worker who has suffered a physical injury at work may experience depression caused by medication or simply by a loss of mobility or career prospects. A workers’ compensation attorney works with clients to improve claims outcomes. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped injured workers get the coverage they need to get back to full health after suffering an injury on the job. For a free attorney consultation, contact us at 702-388-4476 or through our contact page.

Roadway Debris Poses a Serious Risk to Motorized Scooters

Motorized scooters are taking America’s streets by storm. Seen as quick, flexible ways to get around town, they offer a fun alternative to walking, riding a bike, or catching a bus. On the other hand, scooters are also being blamed for a significant rise in injuries, including serious head wounds. One of the major sources of risk for scooter riders is roadway debris. The question for riders who are injured due to roadway debris is whether they have any legal recourse to recover compensation. Motorized scooters generally fall within the scope of Nevada’s rules governing mopeds. In many regards, a moped is treated like any other vehicle under Nevada’s traffic safety laws. Scooter riders therefore have a variety of basic obligations while they ride on public streets: obey traffic signals, take reasonable precautions to prevent accidents, and stay under the speed limit. Likewise, other drivers and pedestrians have a general obligation to use reasonable care to avoid accidents with moped riders. Roadway debris poses an interesting challenge for people who get hurt in accidents that it causes. Who is to blame for the debris being there? Answering that question is not always straightforward. Here are a few scenarios to consider:
  • A piece of equipment falls off the back of a truck, and a few minutes later the scooter rider falls while trying to avoid it. In this scenario, the owner and/or driver of the truck may bear liability for failing to properly secure the equipment, provided they can be identified.
  • An unresolved pothole leaves extensive gravel and other debris in the roadway. Such scenarios raise a number of questions. Which entity was responsible for maintaining the road? If the entity was a public agency, it may have protection against lawsuits under Nevada’s sovereign immunity law. On the other hand, if the agency failed to reasonably address a serious hazard of which it was aware, it may have committed negligence that would fall outside the sovereign immunity shield. Different standards apply to privately maintained roads.
  • Garbage blows onto the roadway from an adjacent property. Here again there will be tricky factual issues to resolve. Who was responsible for containing the garbage? What steps did they take to secure it, and what caused it to get loose?
For those who rent scooters from one of the several rental companies popping up around Las Vegas, it’s important to bear in mind that the rental contract probably includes some form of liability waiver, making a lawsuit against the rental company more difficult. Riders also should bear in mind that in any lawsuit their behavior as riders will be scrutinized. In general, a rider whose reckless behavior contributed to the accident should expect to have his or her chances of recovery reduced to some degree.

GGRM is a Las Vegas accident law firm

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and accident cases. We can help you examine your legal options if you have been injured in a scooter accident. For a free attorney consultation, contact us today at 702-388-4476 or through our contact page.

Lawsuits After Deaths During Childbirth

Despite all the significant advances medicine has made in improving outcomes for mothers and their babies during childbirth, complications still happen. Over the last several decades the rate of maternal deaths in child birth have risen significantly in the United States. Birth and its immediate aftermath are also dangerous for the child. The United States lags behind other developed nations, a problem that has gained significant attention in recent years. For those who are grieving the loss of a mother or child in childbirth, a lawsuit may offer a means of recovering compensation for the devastating impacts that such a death can cause. Childbirth involves a range of common complications that pose risks to mother and child even under perfect medical supervision. But some deaths during childbirth could have been prevented if a hospital’s staff had followed proper procedures, correctly interpreted warning signs, or had the appropriate training or equipment. When the death of a child or mother can be traced to negligence on the part of a hospital or its staff, a lawsuit for professional negligence may be warranted. Professional negligence is a specialized form of negligence that applies to cases involving licensed professionals, like nurses, doctors, surgeons, and so on. A professional negligence suit asserts that the defendant, or defendants, failed to use reasonable care, skill, or knowledge ordinarily used under similar circumstances by a similarly trained and experienced professional. NRS 41A.015. To bring a professional negligence suit the plaintiff must obtain a sworn affidavit from a qualified expert witness who supports the plaintiff’s argument that the defendant behaved negligently. A professional negligence claim can be accompanied by a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death is a cause of action available to the legal heirs of a person who has died: a surviving spouse, parent, surviving children, among others. Wrongful death can also be pursued by the legal representative of the deceased, such as an estate attorney. A wrongful death claim can seek compensation for funeral expenses as well as other special forms of damages, such as the plaintiff’s grief, loss of companionship, and the pain and suffering of the deceased. The estate may also pursue ‘survival’ claims for damages the person who has died suffered while they were still alive, including any penalties or punitive and exemplary damages which the person who died would have recovered if they had lived and damages for pain, suffering or disfigurement and loss of probable support, companionship, society, comfort and consortium. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez provides caring, compassionate counsel to clients in personal injury, professional negligence, and other cases in Las Vegas. We gladly provide free attorney consultations to new clients who wish to explore their legal options. Call us at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

Common Sources of Infant Head Injuries

It’s commonly understood that an infant’s skull, and therefore the infant’s brain as well, is extremely delicate for the first year to year and a half of life. Before the skull fully knits together and hardens, an infant’s brain is vulnerable to serious injury that can have life-long consequences. For the infant and his or her parents, such injuries create lasting challenges and heartache. There are several sources of infant head injuries, many, but not all, related to falls:
  • Parental mistake. A clumsy mistake while holding an infant can lead to terrible injuries. That’s why parents need to take special care when lifting and holding their infants. Parents can make a variety of other mistakes, like leaving a child on a bed without adequately ensuring that the child can’t roll off or trying to sit a child in a seat that isn’t appropriate.
  • Professional caregiver negligence. Many parents rely on professional or semi-professional caregivers, like nannies or day care providers, to look after infants. When an infant is injured in a caregiver’s care, parents may have the option of suing the caregiver to recover compensation. Licensed and insured day care centers will have coverage for such lawsuits and likely will have greater resources to pay an award than an individual who is working as a nanny.
  • Negligence by a nurse or doctor. Nurses and doctors who work with infants are specially trained to prevent injuries. When an injury does occur, the professional who causes it may have committed professional negligence. A professional negligence claim must be supported by the sworn affidavit of a professional in a similar line of work as the defendant, who confirms his or her independent opinion that the defendant did not use reasonable care ordinarily used in similar circumstances by other similarly trained and experienced professionals. This affidavit requirement imposes an extra hurdle on parents who might want to sue a doctor, nurse, or hospital.
  • Car accidents. Unfortunately, even with advances in child safety seats car crashes can still lead to serious brain trauma in infants. In some cases, the injured infant wasn’t properly secured in the seat, while in others the seat was defective, improperly installed, or inappropriate for the age or weight of the child. Each of these scenarios will involve different legal issues, such as whether the car seat manufacturer bears liability for selling a defective product. If the accident was caused by another driver, that driver may use problems with an infant’s car seat as a partial defense against liability.
A serious brain injury to an infant is a terrible event to face as a parent. It can be helpful to work with a caring and respectful attorney to explore legal options for recovering compensation for medical bills and suffering. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and auto accident cases for over 45 years. Call us today for a free attorney consultation about your case at 702-388-4476 or reach out to us through our contacts page.

The Risk of Driving on Recalled Tires

Auto tires are highly engineered and carefully constructed to provide safe performance under a wide range of conditions. Like any sophisticated product, tires can be subject to manufacturer recalls. Such recalls can come about as a manufacturer learns about problems revealed by the real-world use of their products. When drivers learn about a recall of a tire that is mounted in their cars, it’s important to take immediate steps to respond to the recall. The underlying cause of tire recalls can vary widely. Some recent recalls have included potential problems with sidewall or tread adhesives coming apart. Others have reported cases where the steel cords lying underneath the outer rubber of a tire could become exposed. In each case the threat to drivers is a sudden loss of tire pressure, loss of traction, and loss of control. Even at low speeds a catastrophic tire problem can lead to a serious crash. Nevada’s products liability law gives people who are injured by defective products the option of suing the manufacturer and marketer of the product for compensation. A manufacturer recall doesn’t free the manufacturer from liability for injuries caused by the defect to which the recall relates. If anything, a recall is intended to reduce the risk that someone will get hurt and sue. A recall can even be useful to a plaintiff in a personal injury trial, provided that the plaintiff can prove that the specific defect addressed in the recall also caused the plaintiff’s injury. Proving that a specific defect caused an accident can require the help of an expert as the specific source of a tire failure may be impossible for an untrained person to identify. Expert witnesses can charge substantial fees for their work, but the expert’s analysis and testimony can be critical to show that a defendant’s product was defective. An expert’s testimony is likely to be especially useful for plaintiffs who want to use the fact of a recall as part of their case for the defendant’s liability. If a driver knows about a tire recall but ignores it or puts off getting the problem resolved, the tire manufacturer may have an argument that the driver has assumed the risk of injury by continuing to use the defective tires. Such a defense may grow more convincing as time passes. A driver who is injured by a tire failure while on the way to the shop to have the tire promptly replaced under the manufacturer’s recall program probably won’t face this defense. But a driver who goes for six months after receiving (and reading) the notice may have a harder time recovering full compensation if something goes wrong. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in personal injury and products liability cases. If you or a loved one has been injured by an accident caused by a defective tire, please contact us today for a free attorney consultation. Call us at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

Pregnancy and Workers’ Compensation Claims

Pregnant women have unique concerns when they are injured. Protecting the health of a developing fetus can limit treatment options, like antibiotics, that might otherwise be available. And some injuries can pose serious risks to the fetus itself. For a pregnant woman who is injured at work and is receiving benefits under a workers’ compensation program, such challenges can raise questions about coverage and employment rights.

Nevada law protects pregnant women in the workplace

The Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act (NPWFA), NRS 613.335, limits the ways that employers can restrict a pregnant employee’s job responsibilities. Among other things, the law requires covered Nevada employers to provide pregnant employees with reasonable accommodations to allow them to continue to work during pregnancy and after childbirth. For employees who do manual work, the employer may lawfully offer light duty or a less risky role to protect the health of the employee and her fetus, and to manage the employer’s risk with respect to potential workplace injuries. Although the NPWFA isn’t expressly a workers’ compensation law, it provides an important context for women who are injured at work while they are pregnant. A pregnant woman does not need to accept an employer’s unreasonable job restrictions that are only intended to limit the employer’s potential liability and create an unnecessary burden upon the employee.

Workers’ comp applies to all job-related injuries

Nevada’s workers’ compensation law requires all employers to insure their employees against all injuries and illnesses that arise out of or in the course of employment. The fact that an employee was pregnant at the time of an injury has no bearing on coverage. So long as the injury happened during working hours, or while the employee was performing work-related duties, coverage will apply. This is true regardless of the specific cause of the injury. A pregnant employee whose injuries also cause pregnancy-related complications should expect those complications to be included as a component of coverage. It’s important to bear in mind that coverage may not be approved for conditions that cannot be traced to the job-related injury. Records of the employee’s obstetric treatment will be important to show that a condition did not exist prior to the work injury.

GGRM represents clients in complex workers’ compensation cases

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in workers’ compensation claims disputes. We are happy to help women who are facing challenges involving pregnancy and workers’ comp claims to seek better outcomes for themselves and their children. For a free attorney consultation call us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.