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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.

Suing for Slip-and-Fall Accidents in Las Vegas

A serious fall can have lasting consequences for the injured person, including disability and even death. When a fall happens as a consequence of another person’s negligence, the injured person has the option of suing for compensation. There are several considerations for someone who has been injured in a fall and is considering a lawsuit. In a slip and fall case, the key question is usually whether the defendant behaved negligently. At the core of negligence is the idea that the defendant owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff and breached that duty in some way. If the defendant didn’t owe a duty of care to the plaintiff, the defendant, by definition, did not commit an act of negligence. The specific legal obligation of an individual or business to take care to prevent another person’s injury varies:
  • An ordinary person owes only a reasonable duty of care toward others. For example, a homeowner owes a reasonable duty of care to keep his or her property safe for guests. If a known hazard exists on the property, such as a trench dug for construction, the homeowner has a duty to take reasonable steps to warn guests of the hazard.
  • A business that is open to the public owes a special duty of care to keep its premises safe. This rule has been interpreted to require a business such as a grocery store, restaurant, or hotel to take reasonable steps to monitor its facilities and resolve problems like spills, damaged equipment, or other issues that could cause a fall.
  • Special rules apply to common carriers—planes, busses, trains, and other forms of public transportation. A common carrier owes the highest duty of care toward its passengers.
A defendant in a slip-and-fall case may raise several common defenses. These include:
  • Open and obvious. This defense is used when a hazard would have been readily obvious to any reasonable person. It might apply in a case where a trip hazard was roped off with colorful warning tape.
  • Assumption of risk, which can apply in cases where the plaintiff knew about the risk of injury and went ahead with an activity anyway. An example where a defendant would raise assumption of risk might be if an ice rink patron slips and falls on the ice.
The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. If you have suffered a serious injury as a consequence of a fall and you would like to speak to an attorney about your options, please contact us today for a free attorney consultation.  Call us today at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

Bounce Houses Can Cause Serious Injuries

Bounce Houses Can Cause Serious Injuries
Bounce houses have become a popular feature of kids’ parties. As much as kids love them, bounce houses are also beginning to be blamed for a significant number of serious injuries. Before renting a bounce house or other inflatable amusement device for your next party, be sure to understand the risks. The kinds of injuries that a bounce house can cause Bounce houses have been responsible for a range of injuries, including:
  • Injuries resulting from collisions between participants.
  • “Flyaway” accidents in which children are trapped inside an unsecured inflatable that blows away.
  • Falls from the inflatable to the ground.
  • Twisted joints and broken bones caused by ordinary use.
  • Disease spread through inadequate sanitation.
Some kinds of injury can be avoided through proper setup and supervision. Operators need to ensure that inflatables are set up properly, including staking to prevent them from being picked up or knocked over by strong winds. And adults need to supervise kids while they’re on or around bounce houses to ensure that they aren’t using them in a dangerous way.

Bounce houses and personal injury lawsuits

The parent of a child who is injured using an inflatable may have the option of pursuing a lawsuit. Here are some potential issues that may arise in such a suit:
  • Who gets sued? The rental company that owns the bounce house may not be the only party at fault for a serious accident. The hosts of the party or other adults who took responsibility for supervising the children using the inflatable may also bear some degree of legal responsibility.
  • Liability waivers. Most companies that rent bounce houses require their customers to sign liability waivers, which in Nevada can leave a business off the hook even for its ordinary negligence, at least with respect to the person signing the waiver. An important question in any injury case will be whether the person who was injured is bound by the terms of the waiver.
  • Assumption of risk. People understand that jumping around inside a bounce house involves a degree of risk of ordinary bruises and bumps. But the legal defense of assumption of risk may not be available for serious injuries that are not as foreseeable. For example, the risk that a bounce house could fly away in a strong wind might not occur to someone. Bear in mind that assumption of risk may be a component of any rental agreement.
  • Contributory negligence. In many kinds of accidents, more than one party bears a degree of responsibility. Nevada’s modified comparative negligence rule reduces the defendant’s financial liability by the amount the plaintiff was responsible for the accident. A parent who leaves a child unattended in a bounce house might in some situations be deemed to have acted negligently.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured while using a bounce house it’s important to understand your legal options. For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented personal injury clients in the Las Vegas area. Our attorneys are available to answer your questions and explain the potential avenues for seeking compensation for your injuries. Call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476, or reach us through our contact page.

The Enforceability of Liability Waivers Under Nevada Law

The Enforceability of Liability Waivers Under Nevada Law
All sorts of businesses ask their clients to sign liability waivers before taking part in risky recreational activities. From bicycle tours to whitewater rafting and skydiving, companies protect themselves against lawsuits by asking their customers to give up at least part of their legal right to sue in exchange for participation. When someone who has signed a liability waiver gets injured during the covered activity, the enforceability of the waiver can be a significant barrier to recovering compensation through the courts.

What a liability waiver can cover

Liability waivers are a type of contract between the person waiving their right to sue and the person the waiver protects. Because they’re contracts, the specific language of waivers matters a great deal. Most of the time a company that asks for a liability waiver will have a form that provides the maximum waiver permitted by law. An enforceable liability waiver has several traits. First, it must be easy to understand. If it is written in incomprehensible legalese, so that ordinary people can easily misread it, a court will be more likely to throw it out. Second, its terms must be visible. Placing a waiver in fine print or hidden in a strange place, like on the back of a page, may render it unenforceable. Finally, a waiver can only limit a business’s liability for ordinary negligence.

A waiver cannot cover gross negligence or willful misconduct

A business cannot escape liability for the behavior of its employees and agents that is grossly negligent. Gross negligence is a legal standard that describes especially careless behavior in the face of a legal duty to show care toward another person. A skydiving operation might commit gross negligence by failing to follow proper procedures when packing parachutes. A waiver also can’t cover liability for willful misconduct. If an employee or agent of a business deliberately tries to hurt someone, the waiver alone won’t protect the business from liability (though other defenses may apply).

The person signing the waiver must understand the risk

The enforceability of liability waivers is predicated on an underlying idea that the person signing the waiver understands the risks they are about to undertake. In legal terms, the person signing the waiver assumes the risk of the activity. To assume a risk, a person must voluntarily expose themselves to the risk, and must have actual knowledge of the risk. If a person who signs a liability waiver doesn’t fully appreciate the risks involved in an activity, there’s a possibility that the waiver isn’t valid, because the person signing didn’t know what was being waived. See Renaud v. 200 Convention Ctr., 102 Nev. 500 (1986).

GGRM can answer your questions about liability waivers

In an ideal world we would all have a lawyer at our side to help us understand important contracts like liability waivers before we sign them. But the fact is that we all sign waivers with the hope that everything goes well. If you have been injured during an activity that was covered by a liability waiver and you have questions about how it may affect your legal options, the lawyers at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez are happy to offer guidance. For a free attorney consultation call us today at 702-388-4476, or send us a request through our site.

Website Liability for Encouraging Dangerous Behaviors

Website Liability for Encouraging Dangerous Behaviors
Websites like YouTube pay creators of original content based on the advertising watched by viewers of their videos. Some people make a living solely by creating videos for YouTube; “YouTube celebrities” can earn well over $1 million a year. The potential payoff from large view-counts has encouraged the rise of stunt videos, in which people do dangerous things solely to attract clicks. Last year a woman fatally shot her boyfriend in a stunt they had planned to increase their viewership. Do sites like YouTube bear any legal responsibility for encouraging such behavior?

Assumption of risk limits liability

The short answer is: probably not. One reason is that individuals who knowingly engage in risky behavior typically bear responsibility for any injuries they suffer. A personal injury lawsuit usually requires the plaintiff to prove that the defendant was negligent in some way, and the negligence caused the plaintiff’s injury. But if the plaintiff assumed the risk of injury, the defendant will not be held liable. In legal terms, assumption of risk only requires that the plaintiff voluntarily exposed himself or herself to a risk of injury that he or she knew about at the time. This is a fairly low bar that one can see would apply to cases like “stunts” involving guns or other dangerous instruments. It should go without saying that pointing a loaded weapon at yourself is inherently dangerous.

Website terms of service generally disclaim liability

Websites can also rest their defense on a contract theory. Most social media websites require users to agree to some form of user contract that limits the website owner’s liability for the content shown on the site. YouTube’s Terms of Service offers a straightforward example. In paragraph 6(F) YouTube indicates that it doesn’t endorse any user content, and “expressly disclaims any and all liability” for the content on its site. Although in some cases these contracts may be unenforceable, overcoming them can require a rare set of circumstances.

Direct intervention may open the door to liability

Despite their liability waivers, sites will sometimes take steps to remove content that encourages dangerous behavior. YouTube and Facebook have been actively removing videos that encourage people to eat detergent pods, showing that they feel a degree of responsibility to police the content on their sites. Taking steps to address content that encourages viewers to take risk might expose websites to liability for content that escapes removal, on grounds that the sites have acknowledged through their actions that the content is dangerous. Of course, if a website itself creates content or deliberately encourages risky behavior, the scales tilt in favor of liability. For example, if YouTube were to sponsor a contest encouraging people to post videos of their most extreme bike stunts, it would no longer be a passive host. But even in those cases, the user’s assumption of risk would still offer a substantial defense.

GGRM represents injured clients in the Las Vegas area

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in the Las Vegas area in cases involving personal injury. If you have questions about whether you can sue a website for encouraging dangerous behavior, our attorneys can answer your questions. To speak to an attorney at no cost, please give us a call today at 702-388-4476. We can also be reached through our contacts page.

Understanding Liability for Club Sports Injuries

The risk of injury is an unavoidable part of playing club sports. Tearing a ligament or breaking a bone while playing a game of amateur league basketball can be frustrating, but it can also be expensive for someone who doesn’t have insurance. When a sports injury has long-term consequences, like lost work time or extremely high medical costs, a lawsuit might be justified. In this blog we look at who might bear responsibility for sports-related injuries, and a few of the legal theories that might apply in such a case.

Who bears responsibility for sports injuries?

In the context of club sports there are several potential defendants in a personal injury lawsuit. In many cases, more than one defendant might be appropriate. Perhaps the first that will come to mind in many situations is the club itself. As the organizer of an event, an amateur sports league owes participants an obligation to make sure the event is reasonably safe. An organization can fail to fulfill this obligation in any number of ways. An amateur soccer club might choose to hold its games on a badly maintained field. A baseball league might fail to provide sufficient batting helmets. Responsible sports clubs carry liability insurance to cover participants’ medical bills. The owner of the facility where sports are played is another potentially liable party. The owner or operator of a facility that is made available to the public has an affirmative duty to ensure that its premises are reasonably safe. For example, the owner of an indoor basketball court is responsible for slippery conditions caused by a leaky roof. If the premises owner provides equipment for use by the sports group, the owner may bear responsibility if the equipment is faulty. Finally, in some situations other participants may be liable. This is most likely to come up where one participant intentionally hurts another one. But it might also arise if a club supervisor has been especially negligent, for example by knowingly allowing a dangerous condition to persist.

Liability waivers and assumption of risk can limit recovery

A well-run sports club will require its participants to sign waivers of liability to forestall lawsuits. In Nevada, a waiver of liability is enforceable in cases of ordinary negligence. This means that the injured plaintiff needs to claim gross negligence to get past the waiver. Gross negligence involves more than just failing to take reasonable care; the defendant must have acted with blithe disregard for the safety of others. It might apply to the example above where the club supervisor knew about a dangerous condition and let the game proceed anyway. In a lawsuit the sports club may also argue that the injured plaintiff assumed the risk of injury by participating in the event. Assumption of risk applies where the plaintiff has voluntarily exposed herself to a risk she knew about at the time. Sierra Pac. Power Co. v. Anderson, 77 Nev. 68, 71 (1961). A basketball player who sees that a court is wet but plays anyway might fall into this category. So might an ice hockey player who gets injured in an on-ice collision with another player.

An experienced personal injury attorney can help

Hopefully someone who is injured in club sports will be covered by insurance, either the club’s or the participant’s personal insurance. But if a lawsuit seems like the only path forward to recover for expensive costs associated with an injury caused by a club’s negligence, an attorney’s help will be needed. Even in cases where the participant signed a liability waiver or assumed some of the risk of participating, a lawsuit can still be a necessary strategy. The attorneys at GGRM have worked with personal injury clients in the Las Vegas area for over 45 years. If you have questions about a club sports injury, call us today for a free attorney consultation. We’re reachable at 702-388-4476, or through our website.