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.
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- Contracting Hepatitis A in Public Venues
- Falls from Ladders: Who Is Liable?
- Does Workers’ Comp Cover Opioid Addiction Recovery?
- Pursuing a Wrongful Death Case After a Child’s Death
- Exposure to Dangerous Chemicals at Work
- Pushing Back Against Aggressive Insurance Claims Adjusters
- How Social Media Use Can Endanger a Workers’ Comp Claim
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Getting rear-ended by another driver can cause major, life-altering injuries. Sometimes the nature of these injuries isn’t obvious until days or even weeks after the accident, when symptoms suddenly arise. Common injuries from rear-ending accidents include head trauma (concussions, skull fractures), neck and spine injuries (whiplash, herniated discs), and soft-tissue damage (injuries to nerves, muscular problems). Ideally the insurance of the at-fault driver will automatically cover the costs associated with such injuries, but in reality the injured person often needs to file a lawsuit to recover full compensation.
Insurance versus lawsuitsThe reason a lawsuit may be necessary in a rear-ending case has to do how insurance works. In Nevada the minimum liability insurance that all nonprofessional drivers are required to carry is $25,000 per injured person per accident. Needless to say, $25,000 is unlikely to cover all the costs associated with a serious injury. For a person dealing with major medical bills, an inability to work, or other significant financial consequences, suing the at-fault driver may be necessary to get more. Drivers who are involved in rear-ending accidents should take care to not fall into the trap of a quick settlement offer by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Settlement offers are usually made to limit an insurer’s exposure to risk. They rarely take into account the full scope of the consequences being suffered by the injured person. The injured person may feel that accepting the quick cash is necessary to cover immediate financial needs, but by taking it they may be leaving significant value on the table.
Documenting damages from rear-ending accidentsAs with any car accident, someone who has been rear-ended should try to keep good records about details of the accident and its aftermath. Take pictures of the accident scene, write down notes about what happened, and look for potential witnesses who may be of help developing a legal case should it be necessary. Even if no injuries are apparent immediately after the accident, it is important to be examined by a doctor to verify that there are no hidden injuries, such as neck and spine displacement, that could become a problem later. Seeking medical attention quickly also can be important for establishing the causal relationship between soft-tissue injuries and the accident. A defendant in rear-end cases may try to raise doubts about the link between the accident and an injury that was not immediately apparent at the time of the accident. A medical exam results in concrete records that can be important in any personal injury lawsuit.
GGRM is a Las Vegas auto accident law firmFor more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has served clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury and auto accident cases. If you have been injured in a rear-ending accident in Nevada, contact us today for a free attorney consultation. Call 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.
There are a number of sources of personal injury at major sporting venues like stadiums and basketball arenas. Like any other public venue, sporting arenas can have physical problems that make them unsafe: wet floors, broken railings, inappropriately locked doors, and so on. Spectators can be injured by balls or other equipment flying into the stands. Spectators can also end up hurting each other, whether deliberately (in fights) or by accident. These circumstances each require a separate legal analysis, but all may offer injured people the option of suing for compensation.
- Premises liability. Any business that is open to the public is required to take reasonable care to prevent foreseeable injuries to visitors. In the context of a sports venue, this generally means making sure that the facility is well maintained. This includes having a process in place to address common hazards. For example, spectators can be expected to spill drinks. A stadium should be routinely checking for water on floors that are likely to be slippery if they get wet. Similarly, venues should maintain their stairways and address broken infrastructure, even if it means shutting down a portion of the venue while the repairs are underway. Someone who is injured by a condition that should’ve been anticipated—for example, slipping on a wet floor—may have legal recourse against the owner or operator of the facility under a theory of premises liability.
- Injuries to spectators. Major sports venues print liability waivers on the backs of their tickets. These waivers typically provide that spectators assume the risk of injury by sitting close to the action. The waivers are intended to discourage people from suing if they are hit by a stray baseball or hockey puck, or a basketball player falls over them and hurts them. Under Nevada law the enforceability of a liability waiver will depend on the facts of the injury. An ordinary situation, such as a tipped basketball flying into the stands, may be the sort of thing that a waiver would cover. But if a player deliberately flings a ball into the stands, perhaps with the intent to hurt a heckler, the waiver probably would not apply.
- Injuries caused by other spectators. Some injuries at sports venues are caused not (or at least partially not) by the venue’s negligence but by actions of other patrons. In these cases it can be appropriate to sue the individual who caused the injury. For example, a spectator who drops an object from a high deck might be liable for injuries to people who are struck down below. Such cases may also implicate the venue, if the venue hasn’t taken reasonable precautions against the injury. Large stadiums often build netting under their upper decks to prevent objects as well as people from falling.
Tens of millions of people come to Las Vegas every year to enjoy our city’s unique venues and experiences. The city has invested heavily in making sure that visitors have a fun, safe experience while they’re here. Still, accidents do happen, and some vacationers wind up with serious injuries that require medical care and may have long-term consequences. Especially for people who are from out of state, it can be helpful in such circumstances to work with a local law firm that knows Nevada personal injury law.
The kinds of injuries visitors to Las Vegas may sufferLas Vegas isn’t your typical city. The casinos, bright lights, and colorful entertainment culture can be dazzling to visitors from almost anywhere. Like any large city, Las Vegas has its share of accidents. Some of the more common ones are:
- Injuries to pedestrians. In 2017, 78 pedestrians were killed after being struck by vehicles in Clark County. A significantly larger number suffered nonfatal injuries. The lesson for visitors is that crossing the road in Las Vegas requires extra care.
- Injuries resulting from alcohol or drug use. Someone who has had too much to drink at a casino bar might stumble and fall, start a fight, or try to drive home. Because Nevada has decriminalized recreational marijuana, there may be an increased chance of encountering someone who is under the influence of pot while driving. Las Vegas is a pretty strict town when it comes to controlling drunk and rowdy behavior, but the fact remains that many people come to the city to have a wild time, and they can end up hurting themselves or others.
- Falls and other accidents at hotels. Las Vegas’s economy is driven by its hotel industry, and as such the city’s hotels take great pains to be safe, enjoyable places to be. Injuries still do happen, whether caused by a clear act of negligence on the part of a staff member or a condition that the hotel should have addressed but didn’t.
The law of personal injury in NevadaA Nevada personal injury lawsuit can help an injured person recover compensation for medical costs, lost earnings, and other consequences of the injury. In a typical personal injury case the injured plaintiff must establish that the defendant acted negligently, which caused the plaintiff’s injury. This standard applies to many common types of injury, including auto accidents and slip-and-fall injuries. Whether behavior is “negligent” depends on a range of factors that will vary according to the circumstances. Working with a local law firm can be an efficient way to resolve a personal injury dispute for people who live outside Las Vegas. The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented injured clients in the Las Vegas area for over 45 years. Our extensive local knowledge and deep understanding of Nevada law can be a significant asset to anyone who needs representation in our city. Call today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or request a call through our website.
The backgrounds of the people involved in personal injury litigation can sometimes play a significant role in the case’s outcome. To guard against undue prejudice, courts typically won’t allow evidence or testimony about a party’s background unless it has some relevance to the case. But attorneys can find ways to make seemingly unrelated matters suddenly relevant again. For example, a decade-old conviction for fraud may not be relevant to whether a driver was responsible for a car accident, but it might be important for attacking the driver’s honesty if that is at issue. Here are a few examples of how personal history can play a role in a case.
- Limiting the scope of potential damages. A longstanding principle in civil litigation is that the defendant “takes the plaintiff as-is.” This so-called “eggshell skull rule” generally means that the defendant is responsible for compensating the plaintiff for the full scope of the injuries for which the defendant is responsible, even if the nature of the injuries are significantly worse as a consequence of an existing infirmity in the plaintiff. At the same time, defendants are not responsible for compensating plaintiffs for injuries that already existed at the time of the accident. If the plaintiff was already dealing with a serious injury, the defendant likely will not be held responsible for the costs associated with that injury.
- Supporting or undermining arguments. A party’s personal history can raise doubts about the merits of arguments that are not adequately supported by concrete evidence. It can also help to fill in gaps in evidence to strengthen an argument. For example, a driver who left a bar and got into an accident might argue that she “hardly drinks and never drives drunk.” The plaintiff might use the plaintiff’s history of DUI convictions, reputation for alcohol abuse, or confirmed habit of drinking and driving to show that the defendant isn’t telling the truth.
- Creating or losing sympathy. Events in a person’s past can have effects on a case that are hard to quantify. Courts are often reluctant to allow evidence that serves little purpose other than to turn a jury’s opinion about a person, but as in the example of the fraud conviction, such evidence can be relevant for important reasons and have consequences beyond the narrow purpose for which it was introduced.
Someone who has suffered a work-related injury or disease ideally gets covered by an existing employer’s insurance. But injuries and diseases are not always immediately obvious, even if their cause is clearly work-related. Sometimes the need for insurance coverage only comes up after leaving the job where the problem arose. In such cases, the individual’s current employer (assuming the individual is still working) may not be responsible for providing workers’ compensation coverage for the problem. Instead, the injured person may need to seek compensation under a former employer’s insurance. Such cases involve a number of challenges that are best addressed with the help of a workers’ compensation attorney. Here are a few examples of the kinds of challenges the injured worker can expect to face:
- The problem of proof. Someone who discovers an injury or disease after leaving a job will need to prove that it was related to a specific job and not some other cause. Insurers are likely to deny claims for injuries that are not clearly tied to a work-related incident. Proof can be especially challenging in cases of slowly developing disease, like cancer. Even if the sick person was exposed to a carcinogen at work, the insurer likely will argue that the cancer could have been caused by something else and therefore isn’t covered.
- Lack of cooperation from the former employer. Related to the issue of proof is the former employer’s potential lack of interest in the case, or worse the employer’s unavailability due to no longer being in business. Quite often the details of a work-related injury need to come from the employer itself. If the employer no longer is in business, or key witnesses are no longer working there, gathering all the necessary background information may be more difficult.
- Technical errors. The workers’ compensation system is highly regimented with tight deadlines and specific procedures that must be followed to receive benefits. Insurers seize on technical violations to deny claims. Seeking coverage for an illness or injury after deadlines have passed may give an insurer the excuse they need to deny the claim. Although a technical fault may not mean the end of the claims process, it may mean starting a dispute with the insurer.
Nevada’s population of people over the age of 65 has steadily increased over the years, thanks to an aging population and the popularity of our warm climate as a retirement destination. Unfortunately, the elderly can be susceptible to abuse and neglect by people who live with or care for them. Nevada law provides a range of options for someone who is the victim of elder abuse to seek compensation.
Three causes of action in elder abuse casesNevada’s elder abuse law, NRS 41.1395, protects anyone who is 60 years of age or older by providing that an injured plaintiff may recover twice their actual damages and, in some situations, attorneys’ fees. To recover double damages, an older person must have suffered a personal injury or death that is caused by abuse or neglect, or suffered a loss of money or property caused by exploitation. Attorney’s fees can be awarded in cases where the plaintiff shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the person who is liable for damages acted with recklessness, oppression, fraud, or malice. The statute provides three potential causes of action:
1. Abuse.Abuse involves the willful and unjustified infliction of pain, injury, or mental anguish, or deprivation of food, shelter, clothing, or services that are necessary to maintain the older person’s physical or mental health. NRS 41.1395(4)(a). The requirement that an act be willful is an important limitation for abuse claims. It is not enough that someone be merely negligent. Some cases may also hinge on whether a given service was “necessary” for the wellbeing of the older person. For example, the amount of food that must be provided to maintain the health of an infirm person may be difficult to establish.
2. Exploitation.Exploitation has two components. NRS 41.1395(4)(b). First, the defendant must be someone in a position of trust, such as a caregiver or family member, or must hold a power of attorney or legal guardianship with respect to the older person. Second, the defendant must have taken money, property, or other assets from the older person. The taking can be through an act of deception, intimidation, or undue influence, or can simply be an act of conversion. In either case, the taking must be intended to permanently deprive the older person of use and benefit of the taken asset. A clear example would be someone taking money from an older person’s wallet. But the statute provides that “undue influence” does not include “the normal influence that one member of a family has over another.” In other words, to show undue influence there must be something more than, for example, a family member making poor choices with the older person’s money.
3. Neglect.A neglect claim can be brought only against someone who has assumed responsibility for the care of an older person, such as a home care provider. The defendant has to have expressly acknowledged his or her assumption of responsibility, verbally or through a written contract. The defendant must have failed “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). The specific requirements in the definition of neglect that may complicate a lawsuit. The “express acknowledgment” requirement may pose challenges outside the context of contracted services. For informal arrangements, determining when someone has assumed responsibility for an older person may be subject to different opinions. Another issue in such contexts will be the scope of a caregiver’s responsibilities.
GGRM can help you pursue an elder abuse claimFor over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area recover for personal injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered elder abuse and you have questions about your legal rights, our attorneys are happy to review your case. Call us today for a free consultation at 702-388-4476, or reach us through our contact page.
Tens of millions of visitors come to Las Vegas each year, many of whom come from other states. Accidents involving out-of-town visitors raise questions about how someone who lives in Las Vegas might file a lawsuit against someone in another state. Before a court can hear a case against someone it must have jurisdiction over that person. By default, each state’s courts have personal jurisdiction over the residents of their states. But establishing personal jurisdiction over someone who does not reside in the state requires a more nuanced analysis.
The service of process requirementNevada’s courts follow federal due process rules for establishing personal jurisdiction over out-of-state defendants. NRS 14.065. The first thing to understand about personal jurisdiction is that it requires delivery of service of process on the defendant. Service of process simply means that the defendant in the lawsuit is provided with a summons and a copy of the plaintiff’s complaint so the defendant will have an opportunity to respond. Personal service of process requires giving the summons and complaint to the defendant personally, leaving them at the defendant’s home “with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein,” or by giving them to the defendant’s authorized agent (typically, a lawyer). Nev. R. Civ. P. 4(d)(6). Complying with this requirement can be harder than it sounds, because many defendants avoid being served with process or are hard to track down. Nevada law provides that a defendant who hides behind a locked gate can be served by mail with court approval, but generally speaking service can’t be completed by mail. NRS 14.090. Serving process on an out-of-state defendant often requires hiring a professional process server located where the defendant resides.
Car crashes and personal jurisdictionNevada law provides an exception for people involved in car crashes. Nevada law deems anyone who drives in the state to have appointed the Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles as his or her attorney for purposes of serving process. In these cases the plaintiff need only submit a copy of the summons and complaint, along with a $5 fee, to the DMV, with a copy sent by mail to the defendant’s address as provided at the time of the accident. NRS 14.070.
Establishing specific jurisdiction over an individualServing process on a defendant isn’t enough to establish a court’s personal jurisdiction. Three things must be true for a Nevada court to exercise personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state individual:
- The out-of-state defendant must have purposefully directed his or her activities or consummated some transaction with a Nevada resident, or otherwise “purposefully avail himself of the privilege of conducting activities” in Nevada, “thereby invoking the benefits and protections of its laws.”
- The plaintiff’s claim must arise from the defendant’s activities that are related to Nevada.
- Exercising jurisdiction must “comport with fair play and substantial justice.”
Let GGRM help you sort through jurisdiction questionsFor over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area recover for personal injuries. If you have been injured by an out-of-state individual, our attorneys can help you sort through your options. Call us today for a free consultation at 702-388-4476, or reach us through our contact page.
First responders face a lot of risks on the job. Firefighters sometimes have to enter burning buildings. Police officers sometimes get into physical altercations with suspects. But sometimes the risks they face are not of the typical sort one might expect. The firefighter rushing into a burning building could fall on a badly maintained staircase. Or a police officer could be attacked by a dog that isn’t properly restrained. In cases where third party neglect causes an injury, what legal recourse is available to the injured first responder?
The “firefighter’s rule” limits personal injury lawsuitsNevada limits when a first responder can sue a third party for personal injuries the first responder suffers while responding to an emergency. The so-called “firefighter’s rule” is based on the idea that emergency personnel are public servants paid to take risks in the course of their duties. Essentially, the rule assumes that first responders assume the risk of injury. In Nevada, the rule originated in the state Supreme Court decision in Steelman v. Lind, 97 Nev. 425 (1981). In response to Steelman, the Nevada legislature created an exemption to the rule’s default bar against recovery. Under NRS 41.139, a first responder may sue for personal injury if the injury was caused by the defendant’s willful act or lack of ordinary care or skill in the management of their property and one of the following things was true:
- The conduct causing the injury occurred after the defendant knew or should have known about the presence of the first responder on the property.
- The person intended to cause the injury (for example, by setting a trap).
- The conduct violated a statute, ordinance or regulation that was intended to protect the first responder, or that prohibits resistance or requires compliance with the first responder’s instructions.
- The injury arose as a consequence of arson.
File a workers’ compensation claimRegardless of whether the firefighter’s rule prevents a civil lawsuit, a first responder who is injured while on the job should file a workers’ compensation claim. Although the benefits of workers’ compensation insurance might be substantially less than what could potentially be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit, the fact remains that recovering damages through civil litigation can be slow. Workers’ comp coverage ensures that injured first responders get the care they need without going into personal debt. In cases where a personal injury suit is an option, the workers’ comp insurance carrier likely will require the first responder to agree to some form of subrogation. Insurance subrogation allows insurers to recover their costs from third parties who are responsible for the insured worker’s injuries. When considering whether a personal injury suit is a good idea, it’s worth evaluating how an insurer’s subrogation rights may limit personal recovery.
GGRM serves Las Vegas first respondersFor over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has proudly served the police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel of the Las Vegas area. If you have questions about how Nevada’s firefighter’s rule affects your legal options, our attorneys are here to help. To speak to an attorney, call us today at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you by leaving a note on our contact page.
Good Samaritan laws came about to free EMS providers from hesitation and fear over being held liable for actions taken while providing emergency care. In response, many states enacted immunity statutes that protect EMS providers from lawsuits for actions within the scope of their employment; some Good Samaritan laws even provide protection for providers when they are off-duty. These laws vary from state to state, but they generally provide this protection as long as EMS providers: are not grossly negligent; provide emergency care; and act in good faith. An immunity statute does not actually prevent an individual from filing a lawsuit; rather, it simply makes it more difficult for the plaintiff to recover. It accomplishes this by raising the threshold the plaintiff must meet to prove the elements of negligence in his or her case. In the absence of an immunity statute (roughly half the states have them in one form or another), the standard legal principles of negligence applies. In other words, the EMS provider would be treated no differently than a passing motorist. An immunity statute does not change the basic elements of the tort of negligence; instead, it raises the standard required for EMS providers to be found negligent. In other words, it compels the plaintiff to prove that the defendant’s conduct was even more reckless than what would ordinarily be considered negligence. States have defined this heightened category of negligence in a variety of ways, including: gross negligence, gross/intentional conduct, willful/wanton negligence and reckless disregard or misconduct. It’s important to remember that most immunity laws only apply when the EMS provider is acting within the scope of their employment. Generally, this also means that for the immunity to apply, the emergency care falls within the provider’s scope of training. Since Good Samaritan statutes vary from state to state, it’s advised that any questions or confusion be brought to an experienced attorney for clarification. Nevada has strong protections in place for EMS providers. N.R.S. 41.500 reads: “Except as otherwise provided in NRS 41.505, any person in this State who renders emergency care or assistance in an emergency, gratuitously and in good faith, except for a person who is performing community service as a result of disciplinary action pursuant to any provision in title 54 of NRS, is not liable for any civil damages as a result of any act or omission, not amounting to gross negligence, by that person in rendering the emergency care or assistance or as a result of any act or failure to act, not amounting to gross negligence, to provide or arrange for further medical treatment for the injured person.” NRS 41.505 does not refer to EMS; rather, it pertains to physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and dentists. Basically, minus some act of gross negligence, EMS workers are protected in Nevada for any actions committed in regards to emergency response.