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Pursuing a Wrongful Death Case After a Child’s Death

The sudden death of a child is broadly considered to be one of the most traumatic and stressful experiences that someone can endure. The pain of loss that parents go through is unspeakable. A family enduring this sort of loss probably can benefit from counseling and psychiatric care. When the child’s death was the result of another person’s negligence, pursuing a claim of wrongful death is one way a family can seek some compensation for all the impacts their loved one’s passing has caused. Wrongful death is a specialized legal remedy that is available to the immediate heirs—for most children, their parents—of someone who has died as a consequence of another person’s negligence. It has unique features when compared to other personal injury causes of action. For one, it is one of the few causes of action that can be brought by someone other than the injured person or his or her estate. Second, it allows plaintiffs to demand compensation for damages that usually aren’t available in other cases. It’s important to bear in mind that a wrongful death claim is built upon a conventional negligence claim. A plaintiff in a negligence case must prove that:
  • The defendant owed a duty of care, according to applicable legal standards.
  • The defendant breached the duty of care by doing something or failing to do something.
  • As a consequence of the defendant’s breach, a person was injured.
  • The person’s injuries can be quantified as damages that can be compensated through the legal process.
The types of negligence that might cause a child’s death vary considerably. According to the National Institutes of Health, the most common causes of pediatric injury include auto accidents, suffocation, drowning, and poisoning. Negligence in auto accident cases can include things like the at-fault driver driving in violation of traffic laws, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Suffocation and drowning may result from a responsible person not exercising reasonable care to keep the child safe. In a wrongful death lawsuit the plaintiff can seek special types of damages. Among other things, the plaintiff can recover compensation of the plaintiff’s own grief and the costs of the plaintiff’s therapy and other treatments. The plaintiff can also seek compensation for the child’s pain and suffering in the time leading up to death. Each form of damages must be supported with sufficient evidence. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases. We have worked hard to build a practice that is centered on caring, compassionate service to our clients. If you have suffered the loss of a child, please contact us for a free attorney consultation. Call us at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

Nighttime Risks to Las Vegas Pedestrians

Las Vegas is a famously bright city at night. Yet being a pedestrian at night is considerably more dangerous than during the day. According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 74% of nation-wide pedestrian fatalities in 2015 took place at night. The same report found that 76% of pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas, and 72% happened to pedestrians who were not in an intersection. Nevada had 2.28 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents, placing it on the high end of that dubious statistic when compared to other states. There are several reasons why the night is especially dangerous for urban pedestrians:
  • Drunk drivers are more common at night than during the day. In the NHTSA’s analysis, about 60% of pedestrian fatalities were associated with alcohol. Pedestrians themselves may also be under the influence of alcohol, which can impair judgment and reduce reaction times.
  • Bright lights from buildings and other cars can, ironically, make less well-lit features of the roadway, including pedestrians, harder to see.
  • Night worsens the effects of environmental factors, like rain and roadway debris, that can affect a driver’s control of a vehicle, visibility, and other factors that can contribute to accidents.
  • Many drivers experience reduced acuity of vision at night. Compromised depth perception, blurry vision, and trouble with differentiating light and dark, can all reduce a driver’s ability to quickly respond to changing conditions.
When accidents happen at night, the at-fault driver may not have a clear idea of what happened. Even a driver who wasn’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have failed to see a pedestrian in the roadway. This can lead the two sides in the accident to have different accounts of what happened. As the driver’s insurance carrier examines the case, it may adopt the at-fault driver’s story of events as its starting point, forcing the injured person to prove the case in other ways. Today’s auto accidents tend to have a wide range of potential evidence that the plaintiff can rely upon in a legal case. Modern cars have memory. Cameras are ubiquitous, both on the car itself and around many urban spaces for security purposes. And of course, in a busy city like Las Vegas there are often other people who may be able to serve as witnesses. The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury and auto accident cases for over four decades. If you have been injured in an accident in Las Vegas, we can help you examine your legal options for recovering compensation. 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 Your Neighbor Keeps an Unsafe Dog

Dangerous dogs can threaten more than just physical injuries. They can also be a significant source of anxiety and stress. When a neighbor’s dog is known to have vicious and aggressive tendencies it can make living nearby unpleasant and even hazardous. In some cases steps can be taken to address the presence of a dangerous animal in your neighborhood.

The goal is to prevent bites before they happen

When thinking about what to do about a threatening animal it’s important to remember that the goal is to improve the safety of people around the dog. Dogs may be extremely vocal and excitable when they are behind fences or tied up, but pose little risk to people or other animals in other contexts. But other dogs may be undisciplined or highly territorial. The legal rules around dog ownership try to strike a balance between acceptable dog behavior within the boundaries of a homeowner’s property and unacceptable risks to public health. In Las Vegas all dogs older than four months must be licensed and vaccinated against rabies. Homeowners are allowed to keep their dogs off leash provided that they are confined to the dog owner’s property by a fence or other sufficiently tall and robust barrier. Absent specific rules, like an HOA’s bylaws, a dog that occasionally barks at passers-by from behind a sturdy fence probably doesn’t present a legally actionable problem

When are legal steps against a neighbor’s dog appropriate?

When a polite conversation isn’t enough to get a neighbor to address problems with a dog, there may be cause for threatening legal action in some situations. Some of the circumstances that might justify a legal response include:
  • The dog behaves aggressively and barks constantly from your neighbor’s yard while you are in your own yard, making your property unpleasant and potentially unsafe.
  • The dog routinely makes loud noises at unreasonable times, like late at night.
  • The dog has a history of behaving menacingly or biting on at least two occasions within an 18 month period, such that it qualifies as a “vicious” animal within the meaning of Chapter 7.16 of the Las Vegas Municipal Code.
Depending on the nature of the issue a homeowner could pursue several courses of action beyond speaking with the dog’s owner about the problem. Speaking with the local animal control agency may be a good first step. If the dog owner doesn’t take steps to fix a dangerous circumstance, a formal demand from an attorney may do the trick. At worst, such a demand creates an unambiguous record that the dog’s owner is on notice about the dog’s bad behavior. The next step might be to ask a court to order the dog’s owner to make changes to improve public safety or address a problem like excessive noise.

The GGRM Law Firm understands dog bite litigation

The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have extensive experience with dog bite cases. We offer free attorney consultations to anyone with questions about how to handle a dog that poses a threat or has attacked someone. To schedule an appointment call us today at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

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.

Can a Dog Bite Victim be Blamed?

Many dog attacks feel like they happened out of the blue, when a seemingly docile animal suddenly turns aggressive. Sometimes the facts of a dog bite lend themselves to the argument that the bite victim caused the dog’s aggression or failed to act appropriately when a dog began showing signs of agitation. Such arguments in the legal context are called contributory negligence.

Contributory negligence under Nevada law

When a defendant in a personal injury case raises the contributory negligence defense, his or her goal is to transfer at least some of the blame for the plaintiff’s injury back onto the plaintiff. Contributory negligence can apply even if the defendant was negligent in causing the plaintiff’s injury. It asserts that the plaintiff was also negligent in some way, and as a consequence of the plaintiff’s negligence the plaintiff’s injury occurred, or was made worse than otherwise would have been the case had the plaintiff not acted negligently. Negligence is a legal standard that applies when someone owes another person a legal duty of care and fails to meet that duty in some way. For example, a legal standard might state that individuals have an obligation to behave reasonably around dogs so as to prevent injuries to themselves and others. Nevada applies a modified contributory negligence rule. Under it, a plaintiff’s recovery against the defendant will be reduced by a percentage of fault that is assigned by a court to the plaintiff’s negligence. If the plaintiff is judged to have been 50% or more responsible for the injury, then the defendant will not be held liable for any damages.

What constitutes contributory negligence in a dog bite case?

Every dog bite case is different. A host of important facts can determine the course of the case. Those facts might include the sex and breed of the dog, the location of the event, whether or not the defendant (typically but not always the dog’s owner) was in breach of dog safety laws at the time, and so forth. Given all the variables it is difficult to describe for certain when contributory negligence might apply. In general contributory negligence may arise in a dog bite case where the plaintiff did something to provoke the dog. Typically a provocative act is something more than just acting in self defense. In other words, a person who responds to a dog barking aggressively at them by waving a stick at the dog might simply be protecting themselves, but someone who teases the dog or actively begins to attack it might be inviting aggressive behavior. Likewise, if the plaintiff disregards a “Beware of Dog” sign, or is committing an unrelated wrongful act, like trespassing, a contributory negligence defense might be more likely to apply.

GGRM is a Las Vegas dog bite injury 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 dog bite cases. If you have suffered an injury from a dog bite and you aren’t sure how contributory negligence might factor into your case, please contact us today for a free attorney consultation about your case. Call 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

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.

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.