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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.

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.

Why Attorneys Might Turn Down a Personal Injury Case

Someone who is searching for an attorney to represent them in a personal injury case may be surprised when, after an initial consultation, the attorney turns down the case. Despite the reputation of personal injury attorneys as people willing to take any case, the reality is that most attorneys have a process for evaluating cases. The evaluation process needs to take into account the interests of the law firm, but more importantly it needs to account for the interests of the client. Sometimes the client is better off working with a different firm.

There’s no hiding that law firms are businesses, and attorneys naturally do their work in part because they need to earn a living. Naturally there are firms that only accept cases that are worth a certain amount to the firm. But money matters rarely are the sole reason why a law firm turns away a potential client. Other reasons include these:

  • Lack of merit. From time to time a potential client will come to a law firm with questions about a circumstance that, after a closer look, turns out to not meet minimum standards for filing a lawsuit. A client in this circumstance often has a real grievance, but for one or more technical reasons the lawsuit isn’t going to work. A firm’s ethical obligation is to tell the client why the case probably won’t succeed. In extreme cases, attorneys can be disciplined or disbarred for filing frivolous lawsuits.
  • Conflicts of interest. From time to time a client will come to a firm with a case that turns out to raise conflicts with other clients of the firm. For example, if a firm represents a moving company on unrelated matters and is approached by a person who was hit by a truck owned by the moving company, the firm will face a conflict of interest problem if it decides to take the injured person’s case. In some circumstances a firm may be able to take the case despite a conflict of interest, but in others it’s more appropriate for the firm to turn down the work.
  • Lack of necessary expertise. A firm that doesn’t have the right skills to appropriately handle the client’s case should turn the case down. Oftentimes a firm can recommend another firm that might be able handle the case.
  • Insufficient resources. A firm should not take a case that it can’t devote the necessary time and resources to. Some firms take every case with the expectation of following a cookie-cutter approach that might save the firm some money but ultimately doesn’t give the client the best possible representation. Other firms overload their attorneys, with a similar result. A firm should recognize when it is spread too thin to take on new work and caution potential clients that they may be better off finding representation elsewhere.

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury cases. We are happy to discuss the issues related to your injury to determine if our firm is the right one for you. Please call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

Getting Help for a Loved One’s Substance Abuse

Addiction and substance abuse is a common problem. Whether the problem lies with alcohol, painkillers and other prescription medications, or completely illegal “street drugs,” a person struggling with addiction often needs the help of loved ones to bring the problem under control. Helping someone recover from addiction isn’t just good for their health. It also protects them from making mistakes that could cost them their job or lead to lawsuits.

Addiction can lead to many problems

The specific nature of addiction depends on many factors. These include the particular psychology of the individual and the particular qualities of the substance to which they are addicted. But many types of addiction share common features, such as these:

  • Health effects. Even legal substances with addictive qualities, like alcohol, can have serious adverse health consequences for people who abuse them.
  • Social problems. An addict can have difficulty with relationships, including those with friends and family, as well as at work. The problems can be directly associated with using the substance, or they can be the result of symptoms, like lack of adequate sleep, impacted memory, and so forth. In extreme cases an addict can commit crimes to feed their habit.
  • Bad judgment. For many types of addicts, the normalization of substance abuse in their lives leads to bad choices, like a decision to drive under the influence or use a substance at work.

Getting help

Intervening in a loved one’s addiction isn’t always easy to do alone. Fortunately, there are several resources available for people need help developing an intervention strategy. In addition to online resources dedicated to the addict’s specific condition, substance abuse hotlines offer a good first step to finding answers to personal questions. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is a federal agency offering substance abuse assistance. The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health offers support at the state level.

Getting help can also involve looking into addiction recovery programs. Such programs vary in quality, professionalism, and cost. Figuring out which one will be the right fit for your loved one can take a lot of work, which the addict may not be willing or able to do alone.

In some situations, it is important to intervene directly to prevent a catastrophic problem. Perhaps the most common scenario where this is important is if someone has had too much to drink but insists on driving. Taking away such a person’s keys can be a first step in a broader move to help that person break their habit of abusing alcohol.

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez is proud of its long history of providing caring, personalized service to each client. We help clients address legal challenges with solutions that address the whole picture. If you have questions about an injury you or a loved one has suffered as a consequence of substance abuse, please reach out to us today for a free attorney consultation. We’re available at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

Legal Options Following the Death of a Spouse

Losing a spouse in an accident is among the most stressful life events. The surviving spouse endures significant emotional harm, and often has to deal with significant financial challenges as well. In cases where the spouse’s death was the result of another person’s negligence or happened at work, the survivor should consult with an attorney to understand their legal options for pursuing compensation that will ease the practical consequences of his or her loss.

Suing for wrongful death claim in Nevada

When a spouse’s death was caused by another person’s negligence the survivor may have the option of suing for damages under the legal concept of wrongful death. Wrongful death is a cause of action that can only be brought by the heirs or legal representatives (typically, estate attorneys) of a person who died as a consequence of a negligent act.

Negligence is the backbone of many personal injury cases. It applies when the defendant owed a duty of care toward the deceased person and failed to meet that duty of care, and as a consequence of that failure caused the injuries that led to the deceased person’s death. Duties of care are defined by law, either in statutes or in the long tradition of court cases. An auto accident often involves an act of negligence. For example, a person who runs a red light has committed negligence by failing to obey traffic laws.

A plaintiff in a wrongful death case can sue for damages that aren’t available in an ordinary personal injury case. Among other things, the plaintiff can pursue compensation for grief, loss of companionship, and loss of comfort. They can also seek compensation for the pain and suffering of the deceased spouse. If the deceased spouse was also a major source of income for the family, the plaintiff can also pursue compensation for that loss of income.

Death at work

Potential plaintiffs should bear in mind that a death at work involves a different set of rules from other cases of negligence. A Nevada employer that is compliant with state laws will have workers’ compensation insurance to protect itself in the event that a worker dies on the job. Among other things, the rules around workers’ compensation prohibit most lawsuits against employers who are compliant with insurance requirements. Instead, the surviving spouse needs to apply for death benefits through the employer’s workers’ compensation coverage.

Just because the workers’ comp system protects employers doesn’t mean that there is no longer an option of filing a wrongful death claim against other parties who may bear responsibility. A personal injury attorney can examine the facts of the case to determine the extent to which the workers’ compensation bar against lawsuits applies.

For over four decades the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have helped clients seek compensation for personal injuries. Our practice is centered on providing caring, compassionate service to every client. For a free attorney consultation about your case call us today at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

Bedsores and Other Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

As our population grows older the prevalence of nursing home neglect unfortunately seems set to rise as well. A nursing home that is understaffed, lacks adequate training protocols, or doesn’t provide proper management and supervision can leave residents with insufficient care. Under Nevada law neglect is defined as a failure “to provide food, shelter, clothing or services within the scope of the person’s responsibility or obligation, which are necessary to maintain the physical or mental health of the older person.” NRS 41.1395(4)(c).

Family and friends who visit residents of nursing homes can protect their loved ones from neglect by watching for these common signs:

  • Bedsores. Bedsores, or pressure ulcers, can result if a person is left in a single position in a bed or chair for a long period of time. The sores can be painful at first and can lead to more serious problems, like damage to underlying tissues. A nursing home should have procedures in place to prevent bedsores.
  • Unexplained injuries. A nursing homes should follow strict procedures to document injuries to residents. An undocumented injury should be treated as a warning sign that the staff is not doing an adequate job of watching over the residents. Of course, a resident may fall or injure themselves while a staff member isn’t looking. But if the injury goes unnoticed and undocumented, broader problems may be at work.
  • Malnutrition or dehydration. Nursing home residents often lack the ability to take care of their own food or water intake. Inadequate food or hydration may result in visible signs or may be revealed in a routine blood test.
  • Lack of bathing or cleaning. Nursing home residents typically need considerable help keeping themselves, their clothes, and their living spaces clean. Common problems with incontinence make sanitation especially important in nursing homes. A home that doesn’t take care to keep its residents reasonably clean may be committing neglect.

Nursing home neglect is a serious problem that isn’t necessarily easy to discover. Facilities that aren’t well run may try to mask inadequate procedures in various ways. Family members and friends of residents need to pay attention to details and trust their instincts if they think something is wrong. A medical exam by an outside physician may be needed to establish that something isn’t being handled well.

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases. We have a long tradition of providing authentically caring service to clients who are faced with difficult circumstances. If you have questions about potential neglect at a nursing home, please 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.

Understanding the Legal Risks of Private Pool Parties

Homeowners who have pools in their backyards are right to view their pools as great places for entertaining guests. A pool party is fun for everyone. At the same time, a pool always poses certain risks. In a party context, the danger of the pool can be made more significant. Homeowners who plan to hold pool parties should think about a few issues before the party starts.

  • Premises liability. By themselves, pools and their surrounding infrastructure (walkways, platforms, ladders, and so forth) implicate the legal principle of premises liability. A homeowner owes a visitor a general duty to keep the home and its surrounding property reasonably safe for the visitor. If the homeowner is aware of a dangerous condition, such as a damaged step that could cause cuts or trips, the homeowner needs to warn guests about the condition. Homeowners who plan to host parties should take a moment to make sure there are no hazards that could make the pool area unsafe.
  • Know your insurance coverage. Pool owners know that a pool makes a homeowner’s insurance policy more expensive. It’s important for the homeowner to know about the scope of coverage in the applicable insurance policy. If the policy contains specific limits, the party may need to be designed around those limits. Perhaps the policy will not cover injuries to children who are left unsupervised, or it won’t cover injuries suffered by people who have been drinking alcohol. Coverage limits may also be important to consider: a drowning could cost the homeowner a significantly greater sum than the default limits of the policy. For a party that’s usually large, such as a wedding, taking out special event insurance might be a good idea.
  • Alcohol and pools can be a bad mix. If a party will include drinking, there are a number of special risks that a pool can create. Pool decks can be slippery, and people who have been drinking may be more likely to slip and fall. A person who is especially drunk may have trouble swimming, or in rare cases may suffer a health crisis such as a heart attack. In some cases it may be appropriate to ask people who have been drinking heavily to not use the pool.
  • Supervise children. In a party setting it can be easy to lose track of what’s going on in a pool. A child may get into trouble and not be seen until it’s too late. In circumstances where there are a lot of distractions it may be appropriate to designate someone to be an impromptu “life guard” or to ask the kids to get out of the pool.

Someone who is injured at a pool party probably has recourse to the homeowner’s insurance policy, and may need to sue the homeowner as well to recover full compensation for the injury. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has served clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury cases. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

Accounting for Changing Circumstances During a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In the course of recovering from an injury one hopes that the process follows a fairly predictable, linear path. For some injuries, the initial diagnosis leads to a straightforward treatment plan that proceeds without setbacks until the patient is fully recovered. But for many patients, setbacks are a frustrating reality of the recovery process. When a significant change takes place during the course of a lawsuit it may be possible to update the damages claimed in the suit to account for those changes.

Amending complaints to account for fresh information

A lawsuit is started by filing a complaint with the appropriate court. In a complaint, the plaintiff describes the basic facts of the case and makes claims against the defendant for damages. At the preliminary stage, damages can be based on a rough estimate of all the monetary and nonmonetary costs associated with the injury: past and anticipated medical bills, lost wages, pain, and so on. For a period of time while a case is pending, claims for damages can be updated as the plaintiff uncovers details that change the scope of appropriate damages.

For a case that gets resolved through settlement negotiations, a plaintiff can use the claims in a complaint as leverage to improve the negotiated outcome. The key is that a defendant is not obligated to pay, and won’t agree to pay, costs that the plaintiff hasn’t proved with sufficient reliability to make it clear that the defendant will be held liable for it if the case were to go all the way to trial.

Proving new damages

To get compensation for any kind of damages a plaintiff must be able to prove their value and that they were caused by the defendant’s wrongful action. Causation can create interesting challenges for plaintiffs who find that their injuries are getting worse over time. The defendant may argue that an intervening cause, such as the plaintiff’s own lack of care with regard to the injury or mistakes by the plaintiff’s doctor, has made the injury worse and therefore the defendant should not be held responsible for the worsened condition.

The issue of causation often requires support from the plaintiff’s treating physician. A doctor can testify about the nature of the plaintiff’s injuries and how their prognosis has changed over time. For complex cases, expert witnesses may be needed to help the court understand how an injury could grow worse over time while still being traceable to the defendant’s negligence.

The potential for changes is one of many good reasons for working with an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented Nevada clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. Call today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or request a call through our website.

Seeking Compensation for Child Care After an Injury

Parents and other guardians of children can find that caring for a child after a serious injury is significantly harder than it was before the injury occurred. Routine tasks like lifting, driving, doing laundry, or cooking may no longer be possible while recovering from the injury. As a consequence, it may be necessary to hire outside help. Plaintiffs in this circumstance sometimes wonder if they can include the cost of child care in their personal injury lawsuit claims.

Nevada law allows plaintiffs in personal injury cases to include “replacement services” in the scope of the damages that are demanded in a lawsuit. Replacement services essentially covers things that the injured person used to do for themselves, but now must hire an outside person to do. This includes cooking and cleaning, and also includes taking care of children.

Replacement services are a form of economic damage, because they can be tied to real-world numbers. The actual cost of hiring a nanny or housekeeper, hiring a driver to take the kids to school, or hiring someone to cook can be proven with actual invoices or, if the plaintiff hasn’t been able to afford such services before the lawsuit begins, with reference to estimates or averages taken from services available in the plaintiff’s community.

As with other forms of damage, the cost of replacement services must be proven with reasonable certainty to be recoverable. Making a full accounting of the cost of child care will require consideration of a range of factors that include the anticipated likelihood of the plaintiff’s recovery to resume providing child care, and the age of the children involved (i.e., how long replacement services will be needed).

Although parents may seek to recover the highest possible compensation for child care services, courts may place some limits on what can be recovered. For example, a court may consider it unreasonable to provide plaintiffs with sufficient compensation to allow for a full-time, professional caregiver if the plaintiff’s circumstances would allow for a less expensive alternative. If prior to the injury the plaintiff shared child care responsibilities with another adult, the defendant may only be held liable for replacing the plaintiff’s services alone.

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area recover compensation for personal injuries. We are proud of our long history of providing caring, thoughtful service to each client. We work hard to take every part of a client’s life into consideration as we develop our cases. Please call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

Personal Injury Lawsuits for Hearing Loss

Significant hearing loss can have profound consequences, from a life-long reliance on hearing aids to loss of enjoyment in music, challenges holding conversations, and other problems. Hearing loss can also be accompanied by pain and uncomfortable auditory conditions, like tinnitus. A wide variety of accidents can cause hearing loss. It’s easy to imagine someone suffering ear damage in a car accident, for example: a blow to the head, or exposure to very loud sounds, could lead to long-term hearing problems.

Because damaged hearing is a significant injury, it can be the basis of a personal injury lawsuit, or form part of a broader set of claims arising from a defendant’s negligent behavior. A claim for hearing loss will need to contend with similar issues as other forms of personal injury. Some of the common issues faced by a plaintiff in such cases include:

  • Causation. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions were the legal cause of the plaintiff’s injury. How difficult this question is to answer will depend on the facts of the case. If the plaintiff suffered hearing damage during a car accident the relationship between the defendant’s actions and the hearing damage may be relatively simple. Other cases may require expert testimony to establish how the defendant’s actions led to hearing loss.
  • Actual injury. One of the challenges of proving hearing loss can be a lack of base-line information. This is a common problem in workers ‘compensation cases and why police, fire fighters, and other first responders are required to get their hearing tested regularly. If an event causes a sudden reduction in hearing the plaintiff may be able to recover compensation only for the amount of hearing that was actually lost as a consequence of the event. If the plaintiff doesn’t have a medically accurate measure of his or her hearing before the event, establishing the amount of loss may be more difficult and, therefore, full compensation may be more difficult to obtain.
  • Quantifying the injury. A challenge in any personal injury case is determining the appropriate amount of compensation that the defendant is responsible for paying to the plaintiff. Hearing loss often requires a range of concrete costs, such as specialist medical care and expensive hearing aids. It can also cause long-term ear pain and headaches. For some plaintiffs, especially musicians, loss of hearing can impact earning potential. Accounting for all these damages is important for ensuring that plaintiffs get the most from their claims.

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. If you have suffered hearing loss as a consequence of another person’s negligence and you have questions about your legal options, call us today for a free, confidential attorney consultation. We’re available at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.