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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 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.

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.

Funeral Home Negligence in Nevada

Funeral homes play an important role in helping families grieve for the loss of a loved one. The scope of their duties can extend well beyond just providing a space for holding memorial services, including services relating to the preparation and storage of remains, cremation, and advice regarding statutory requirements. A funeral home is subject to regulation by the Nevada Board of Funeral & Cemetery Services. In the midst of a challenging emotional time, a funeral home’s negligence can cause significant disruptions, both emotionally and financially, to a family.

Examples of funeral home negligence have been in the news lately. They cover a broad range of sometimes shocking behaviors by funeral homes that through inattention or outright fraud have created emotionally devastating circumstances for their clients. Examples have included homes that have mishandled the remains of deceased clients, such as not keeping them properly stored so that they begin to decompose. Other funeral homes have been caught storing bodies that they claimed were cremated. Still others have been discovered trying to cover up serious mistakes, like burying someone in the wrong plot.

A family that discovers wrongdoing like this can be left with deep feelings of anguish, in addition to potentially facing additional costs associated with correcting problems caused by the funeral home. In some circumstances a family that is dealing with such trauma can sue to recover compensation for the costs associated with a family’s suffering, therapy, and recovery.

Many funeral homes will ask their clients to sign contracts that contain some form of liability waiver for routine problems that can arise during the mortuary process. For example, contracts for a cremation may specify that a funeral home is not responsible for removing personal property like rings before cremation begins. It’s important for families to review these contracts with care and understand what their obligations are to avoid small but painful misunderstandings.

No contract can waive a funeral home’s liability for gross negligence or willful misconduct. In serious cases, such as the examples involving “lost” bodies, a family should not feel intimidated by a contract’s terms. Personal injury attorneys can review the facts of the case, including the terms of a contract, to help families understand their options.

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.

How Much is Your Lost Career Worth?

A serious injury can have devastating consequences for a person’s work life. Someone who can’t continue a promising career because of a serious injury is often forced to start again, either to develop new skills or perhaps to quit work altogether. In the course of developing the claims that go into a personal injury lawsuit, and in the course of negotiating a settlement, the plaintiff needs to have a good basis for calculating the value of the injury’s impacts on the plaintiff’s work and career.

Fairness dictates that plaintiffs must have a reliable basis for the damages they claim in a lawsuit. Among other things, a plaintiff must support a claim of damages with evidence, which may include financial records and other historical information, as well as expert testimony from an accountant who specializes in helping litigants calculate damages. Accountants will take into consideration a number of factors to arrive at a reasonable estimate of a plaintiff’s lost earning potential. These include:

  • The plaintiff’s age. The younger a plaintiff was at the time of an injury, the longer into the future a serious injury must be projected.
  • The plaintiff’s work history. Any projection of future earnings must be based in part on past performance.
  • The injury’s prognosis. If a plaintiff is expected to make a full or partial recovery, based on a physician’s diagnosis, that will be an important consideration in determining how much the defendant should be expected to pay.
  • Other compensation the plaintiff will receive. Typically, a plaintiff’s compensation from a defendant will be offset by other forms of compensation, like disability insurance. Such insurance rarely covers the entire scope of a plaintiff’s losses, so a plaintiff can seek to “top up” from the defendant.
  • Statistical averages. Every plaintiff is unique, but when an injury derails a career it is often helpful to reference the average career arc of other people in similar lines of work. For example, someone who is injured early in a career should be granted recovery for a reasonably foreseeable progression of promotions, job changes, and other things that could be expected to impact earnings potential over time if an injury hadn’t intervened.
  • Discounts for projected setbacks. In addition to using projected progress, an accountant also needs to allow for the possibility of negative events that could impact a plaintiff’s career over time. Things like the likelihood of future illness and even projections of changes to a plaintiff’s industry could be included as factors.

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in personal injury, workers’ compensation, and accident cases. Contact us today for a free attorney consultation about your injury. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or through our site.

Approaches for Calculating Lost Earnings in a Personal Injury Case

Lost earnings can be among the most important components of the compensation a plaintiff can pursue in a personal injury case. Besides providing the plaintiff with the means to pay for the costs associated with medical care and recovery, a defendant should also be held responsible for the injury’s effect on the plaintiff’s ability to work, in both the short and long term. Although calculating lost earnings sounds like a fairly simple idea, in practice it involves a number of complex considerations that in some cases can require the advice and analysis of an expert.

Personal injury cases seek a specific amount of compensation, which must be calculated in a way that is reasonable, fair, and based on provable facts. When a plaintiff sues for lost earnings, several factors must be taken into account:

  • The plaintiff’s earnings history. The simplest source of information about the plaintiff’s lost earnings is, of course, the plaintiff’s earning history in the period before the injury. For a plaintiff with a steady, full-time job, using earning history may be an appropriate way to arrive at a complete picture. Less clear are cases where the plaintiff’s income history is uneven or inconsistent. For example, a plaintiff who writes novels for a living may only earn a paycheck every two years, and the paychecks may have varied significantly from year-to-year.
  • The prognosis of the injury. In many cases the key component of lost earnings is an estimate of the injury’s long-term consequences for the plaintiff’s career. The defendant’s liability will be limited by the extent to which the plaintiff is expected to recover and resume work.
  • The plaintiff’s expected career arc. The longer an injury is expected to affect a plaintiff’s ability to work, the more complex the estimate of lost wages becomes. This analysis may involve several components, including the plaintiff’s age relative to expected retirement and the average career arc of others in similar jobs. Note that a plaintiff may not be able to recover for unusual, contingent career plans. For example, though a novelist might reasonably seek recovery based on the performance of previous works, it probably is inappropriate to argue that a future work would be a best seller.
  • Other forms of compensation. A plaintiff’s ability to recover compensation from a defendant may be reduced by other forms of compensation that are available to the plaintiff, including disability insurance.

Proving lost wages often requires the expert testimony of an accountant. Accountants who specialize in estimating lost earnings use established methods to analyze factors like those in the above list. Expert testimony helps the plaintiff arrive at a reliable estimate of lost earnings and gives the defendant a reliable means of reaching a fair settlement.

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez represents clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury cases. We work closely with each client to pursue the full scope of compensation for the consequences of their injuries. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call us at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

Suing After Being Injured at a Concert

Any situation involving a crowd heightens the risk of certain kinds of accidents, like falls. Concerts can create a variety of hazards, from spilled drinks and drunk patrons to crowd surfers and a show’s pyrotechnics. Someone who is seriously injured at a show may have several options for seeking compensation.

When considering whether to file a lawsuit, a key question is who bears responsibility for the injury. Every injury needs to be examined according to its unique facts and circumstances. Injuries at concerts often can be traced to several potentially liable parties:

  • The venue. Businesses that are open to the public owe their patrons a high duty of care with respect to safety. If the venue failed to take reasonable steps to keep its premises safe, and the plaintiff was injured as a consequence, it might be an appropriate defendant. Injuries from damaged infrastructure, like a broken floor, are clear-cut examples where the venue’s premises liability likely will apply. Liability may also stick if the venue’s staff failed to take reasonable steps to assist the injured patron.
  • The concert promoter or organizer. When the show itself caused the injury, the plaintiff may have a case against the company that organized it. Examples of this sort of injury might include injuries from negligently operated effects, or objects being thrown into the crowd.
  • Other patrons. Some injuries at concerts are caused by another concertgoer. Someone who acts aggressively in a crowd can knock other people down. The challenge in such cases can be to identify the individual who caused the injury. In some cases, the venue may bear responsibility for intervening to stop dangerous behavior by patrons, especially if those behaviors were foreseeable.

In many cases it may be appropriate for the plaintiff to pursue litigation against more than one defendant. The plaintiff may not have all the necessary facts to know for certain who bears liability for the injury and will need the power of subpoena to build a complete picture. Perhaps one party has inadequate insurance or other resources to cover the full scope of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Because of the potential liability involved for concert-related injuries, venues or promoters may be quick to offer a settlement. People who are dealing with serious injuries may be tempted to take these offers without giving full consideration to how they will limit their legal options and, ultimately, the amount of compensation that can be recovered. Before accepting a settlement it’s important to speak 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 concert we are happy to provide a free attorney consultation about your case. Call us today at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

Injuries from Unsecured Firearms

Responsible gun owners know that they need to keep their firearms and ammunition stored in a safe, secure place. Modern gun safe technology makes it possible for a homeowner to get quick access to a weapon in the event of a home invasion, while still keeping the gun safely out of reach the rest of the time. But gun owners don’t always do the responsible thing. A gun may be left out where someone could find it and get injured by it.

Although very small children are a highly vulnerable group when it comes to unsecured firearms, they are not the only at-risk population. Older children may also see a gun as a kind of toy, or worse may see it as a way to intimidate someone else. People with mental illness or cognitive problems may also be prone to mishandling a gun. Even someone who is familiar with gun safety might not know the particular characteristics of a weapon (such as a hair trigger) and accidentally discharge it.

When the improper storage of a gun leads to an injury or death, a personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate. A Nevada personal injury lawsuit typically rests on the question of the defendant’s negligence. For negligence to apply, the defendant must have breached a duty of care that he or she owed to the defendant. Importantly, although gun safety courses emphasize the importance of keeping guns locked up, Nevada law does not require gun owners to keep their guns in safes. As a result, one of the first hurdles a plaintiff must overcome is the extent to which the gun owner’s behavior failed to meet a reasonable standard of safety.

Because Nevada doesn’t have a clear-cut rule about storing firearms, each case needs to be examined carefully to determine the extent to which the defendant is responsible for injuries resulting from an accidental use of a gun. The broad consensus among gun safety experts that a gun should be stored in a safe provides a good baseline rule but may not be helpful in some situations. Some questions that may arise include:

  • Did the gun owner take reasonable care to ensure that the gun was safely out of reach of others, even if it wasn’t locked up?
  • Did the gun owner leave the gun loaded when it was irresponsible to do so?
  • How foreseeable was it that the gun could be accessed by someone other than the owner, such as a small child?

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 by another person’s negligent storage of a firearm, we would be happy to help you explore your options for seeking compensation. Call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

Seeking Compensation for a Surgeon’s Mistakes

A surgery patient places tremendous trust in the doctors and other medical professionals who complete the operation. Most patients lack the necessary training to understand what’s happening during a surgery. If the patient is sedated or put under general anesthesia, he or she may not know what happened during the surgery. When something goes wrong with a surgery, the patient may feel powerless to recover compensation from the physician, the hospital, or other responsible parties. But there are legal tools available to help patients recover compensation when mistakes lead to serious complications.

In Nevada, surgical mistakes typically fall under the professional negligence cause of action. Nevada’s law of professional negligence specifically contemplates errors made by health care professionals. It therefore can apply not only to the lead surgeon, but also to other professionals who caused, or may have caused, errors during a surgery. This may include assistants, nurses, anesthesiologists, or other licensed medical professionals. If the individual or individuals who bear fault isn’t clear to the patient, for example because the error was made while the patient was unconscious, it may be appropriate to bring everyone involved in the surgery into the case to determine who bears responsibility.

The basic rule of a professional negligence case is that the plaintiff must prove that the plaintiff’s injury was caused by the defendant’s failure to use reasonable care, skill, or knowledge ordinarily used under similar circumstances by similarly trained and experienced professionals. Proving the elements of professional negligence can be a challenge. Among other things, a plaintiff must submit a sworn affidavit of a qualified professional who can confirm that, in the opinion of that professional, the defendant acted negligently.

To get an expert’s opinion in support of a plaintiff’s case, and to make the case more generally, the plaintiff’s attorneys typically need to first gather extensive information about the plaintiff’s injury, the surgery, and surrounding facts. Sometimes this requires difficult work of forcing a hospital or clinic to disclose records that may be adverse to their own position. Getting records like surgery videos is an important step in developing a case. Depositions of the people involved likely will also be required.

In dealing with a professional negligence case, a plaintiff can gain significant benefits from working with a law firm that treats the client with respect and compassion. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in professional negligence cases. Contact us today for a free attorney consultation about your case. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or through our site.