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.
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- Lawsuits After Deaths During Childbirth
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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.
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’ compensationWith 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 VegasFor 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.
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 waiversEvery 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 applyA 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.
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.
Infertility can be a shocking side effect of many types of personal injury. Whether as a consequence of direct physical injury, or due to necessary courses of treatment, infertility may be a significant contributing factor in a person’s post-injury recovery. Someone who was planning to have children and no longer can, or who must now go through expensive fertility treatments to do so, may have the option of adding those issues to a list of demands in litigation.
Infertility as a form of damagesIn a personal injury lawsuit, the injured plaintiff demands compensation for the damages associated with the injury that can be attributed to the defendant’s bad behavior. Plaintiffs typically base their claims on a range of well understood things like medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. A lawsuit may also seek recovery for so-called noneconomic damages, like a plaintiff’s suffering. Infertility can be a factor in both types of damages. This is because infertility can have elements that are relatively easy or relatively difficult to quantify. On the one hand are cases where an injury forces the plaintiff to undergo expensive fertility treatments or psychological therapy to overcome emotional trauma specifically stemming from loss of fertility. The costs of such treatments have clear sources. On the other hand, the plaintiff’s emotional suffering may have an abstract dimension as well. The costs of losing the ability to have a child can in many ways be more abstract than concrete.
The problems of proofTo receive compensation for any type of damages a plaintiff in a personal injury case must be able to prove the damages with reasonable certainty. Infertility is an example of an injury that raises challenges of proof for a plaintiff. There are several reasons why this can be so, including these:
- Causation. A plaintiff’s fertility problems may have more than one cause. In cases where a clear line can’t be drawn between the plaintiff’s infertility and the defendant’s negligence, the plaintiff will need additional resources, such as the testimony of a medical expert. Likewise, a defendant likely will try to raise doubts about whether the plaintiff has proven the case, for example by asking for evidence that the plaintiff had no fertility problems prior to the injury.
- Emotional harm is harder to prove. For plaintiffs who seek damages for suffering of any kind, issues of proof can raise extra challenges. Infertility may raise especially difficult questions, as plaintiffs may need to “prove” their interest in having children and how infertility has affected them. A plaintiff’s attorney can take steps to protect the client from overzealous defense lawyers, but ultimately the client will need to decide whether pursuing these sorts of damages is worth the emotional cost.
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.
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.
Life doesn’t stand still for litigation. A personal injury lawsuit is often just one component of a larger, complicated set of issues facing the injured person, the people who caused the injury, and their families. Among the challenges that litigants sometimes face is a concurrent divorce. Divorce can have a number of effects on a lawsuit and how a prevailing plaintiff collects compensation afterward.
When the plaintiff is getting divorced . . .A legal cause of action can be thought of as an asset little different from a car or an expensive piece of jewelry. A case that’s pursued to its end could be worth a substantial sum, even after major expenses are paid. Quite often a plaintiff will receive compensation for things like lost future earnings, future medical expenses, or home upgrades to accommodate a disability. Because a lawsuit can be worth a substantial sum, it can become a source of contention in a divorce proceeding. Depending on the law that applies to the marriage and externalities like prenuptial agreements, the uninjured spouse may be entitled to a significant portion of a future judgment award or settlement. Nevada is a community property state, which among other things means that a married couple will have equal rights to the assets of the marriage, including a legal claim. In some cases, the spouse may demand to be represented in settlement negotiations, complicating the process.
When the defendant is getting divorced . . .In certain ways a defendant’s divorce proceedings present an inverted set of issues to those raised by a plaintiff’s divorce. After a personal injury case settles or gets resolved through a trial, the defendant may owe the plaintiff a substantial debt. Nevada’s community property rule applies here as well, in most situations making both spouses “own” the liability and debts associated with the litigation. A typical case settles without going to trial, allowing the parties in the suit to negotiate important details like how the defendant’s payments to the plaintiff will be structured. If the defendant is going through a divorce, one goal of the plaintiff’s lawyers will be to ensure that the divorce doesn’t distract from the plaintiff’s ability to get compensated for his or her injuries. Attorneys can take steps to ensure that disagreements between divorcing spouses remain the couple’s problem and don’t also become a problem for the injured plaintiff.
GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury 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 cases. We work closely with each client to address the full scope of a case, including issues of divorce and other family matters that may affect a case’s outcome. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.
Few personal injury cases go to trial. When they do, there are often close questions of fact or disagreements about narrow points of legal interpretation that prevent pretrial settlement. At the conclusion of a trial in which the plaintiff has prevailed, the jury will award the plaintiff compensation. From time to time a losing defendant will attempt to appeal the verdict of the jury in hopes of reducing or eliminating its liability at a higher court.
What can justify an appeal?Either party to a civil case may appeal to a higher court if it feels that the trial court failed to correctly decide a particular issue. For a losing defendant, there are several common arguments that might be raised by a defendant upon appeal, including these:
- Technical problems with jury instructions.
- A misinterpretation of the law by the presiding judge.
- Incorrect application of evidentiary rules.
- Improper admission of an expert’s testimony.