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Safely Traveling with Child Car Seats

The need for child car seats can be a frustrating part of traveling as a parent. The seats are bulky, often heavy, and can be difficult to install in unfamiliar vehicles. Flying with a car seat involves making the sometimes unclear choice between treating the seat as checked luggage or hoping to take the seat onto the plane. Parents always want to ensure that their kids are safe, even if it means extra work. Here are a few tips for safely traveling with a car seat.
  • Using a car seat on the plane can improve a child’s safety.

Airlines usually have no problem with parents installing car seats onto a child’s seat on the plane. Follow the same process for installing the seat on the plane as you would in a car (rear- or forward-facing, and so on). Children who are in car seats on planes will be better protected if the plane has problems or experiences significant turbulence. Kids often sleep better in car seats too.
  • Try to avoid checking your car seat.

There are some who argue that once a car seat has been checked as luggage it should be treated as “crashed” and thrown away. Putting a seat inside a bag can offer some protection, but if the bag isn’t hard-sided a luggage handler probably will treat it like any other luggage, and it may get crushed or dropped. A seat that’s left unprotected may suffer damage to buckles or other exposed parts. Gate checking a seat may improve the chances that it will be treated with care, but even then parents will have no way to be sure that the seat hasn’t been damaged.
  • Always inspect a checked car seat for damage.

Car seats are carefully engineered to meet strict standards. If a component is loose or broken, the seat’s effectiveness in a crash will be compromised. If checking a car seat can’t be avoided, it’s a good idea to remove its cloth cover and inspect the underlying components for damage. For example, make sure that foam padding is still in good condition and properly attached to the seat’s frame. If damage has occurred, it may be necessary to replace the seat. If a car seat is damaged on a flight and a child later suffers an injury as a consequence of the damage, parents may in some cases have a valid legal claim. Such cases face significant hurdles: airlines build damage waivers into their contracts that limit how much responsibility they have for damaged luggage, and parents may bear responsibility for using a seat that they know is damaged. An attorney can help parents sort out their options. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has served clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury and products liability cases. If your child has been injured by a damaged car seat, please contact is today for a free attorney consultation. Call 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

Using a Cell Phone to Record Details of an Accident

Cell phone cameras are valuable tools for gathering evidence after an accident. The first priority after an accident should be to call police and emergency services, stabilize any injuries, and get clear of hazards like burning vehicles. Once those essential steps are taken, and provided that circumstances allow for it, taking photos or even video can help attorneys, insurance companies, and police investigators analyze the accident.

What sort of photo evidence is useful?

The short answer to this question is: all of it. A photograph can reveal things that our minds don’t process in the moment. While we’re focused on the damage to a car we may not see an important detail that is outside the focus of our vision. A photograph may capture this detail and make it available later. There are limitless possibilities about what may be important to photograph at the scene. Here are some important examples
  • All visible damage to the vehicles involved.
  • Roadway conditions, like debris, skid marks, or spilled oil or other chemicals that might have contributed to the crash.
  • The scene of the accident, including the location of traffic signs and signals, the address, weather.
  • Personal injuries, but note that before taking pictures of an injured person it’s important to first get their consent.
Moving around the scene to capture photos from many angles is important for building up a complete record of the scene. One area where this can be important is if the two drivers involved in the crash have different recollections of how the crash occurred. Having photos from various angles of damage to the vehicles may help investigators determine what actually happened.

Be mindful of the photos as evidence

Once photos of the scene are on your phone it’s important to take steps to preserve them. Getting them downloaded to a computer or uploaded to cloud storage should be a priority. It’s very important to preserve the photos in their original format: editing a photo may raise doubts about its authenticity later on. Also take care before putting accident photos onto social media sites. The best approach is to avoid making any statements about an accident online, but this can be especially true of photos, which may have unintended consequences, such as offending the privacy rights of an injured individual.

GGRM is a Las Vegas accident law firm

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients who have been injured in auto accidents recover compensation. If you have been injured in an accident please call us for a free, no obligation attorney consultation. Reach out to us today at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

What to Do After an Accident with a Semi-Truck

Accidents with large commercial vehicles like semi-trucks can be especially dangerous for people in passenger vehicles. The weight and size disparity between a truck and an ordinary car can leave the car badly mangled and the people inside severely injured. For the driver of the truck such accidents not only threaten personal injury but can also put a career at risk. After being in an accident with a commercial vehicle there are a number of steps a driver should take:
  • Get medical attention. Anytime someone is injured in an accident the first step is always to ensure that injuries are stabilized. If possible, tell nurses and doctors about the accident. The information gathered by medical professionals about the nature of the injury can become vital evidence in future litigation.
  • Get the truck driver’s details. Like any car accident, the drivers involved in a wreck involving a commercial vehicle should exchange contact information and share insurance details.
  • Get the name and contact information of the driver’s employer. In addition to finding out the name of the truck driver, it’s important to also find out the name of the driver’s employer and get as much information as possible about the employer. Chances are good that the driver’s insurance is carried by the employer, not the driver personally, and any lawsuit that follows the accident will probably name the employer as a defendant.
  • Report the accident. Nevada law requires parties involved in an accident to report the incident to the Department of Motor Vehicles. In crashes where police were involved in the initial post-accident response this report may not be required, as the police prepare the necessary paperwork as part of their process. The insurance companies of both drivers should also be contacted.
  • Consult with an accident attorney. Even if a driver’s insurance carrier will be pursuing legal action on behalf of the driver, it’s often important to have independent legal counsel. Insurance companies have an inherent conflict of interest whenever a claim arises: their profits depend on denying claims and aggressively seeking reimbursement for any costs they incur. Even if the insurer’s interests are aligned with the injured driver’s, the driver should have independent advice to protect against unlawful or dishonest behavior by the insurer.
Accidents involving commercial drivers typically open questions about the legal relationship of the truck driver with the business for which he or she was driving at the time of the accident. Truck drivers may fall into one of several categories:
  • Sole proprietors who operate the truck as a business and are personally liable for damages caused in an accident.
  • Independent contractors who are working for another business. Independent contractors may be treated as sole proprietors from a legal liability standpoint, but their liability will be subject to the terms of their relationship with the “client” business.
  • Employees of a trucking company.
Regardless of the legal form of the relationship between the truck driver and the trucking business, the injured plaintiff’s attorneys will probably seek compensation from the business as well as, or instead of, the truck’s driver. The business may have good arguments for why it is not responsible for the driver’s negligence, but in a typical situation a business is responsible for the wrongdoing of its agents, regardless of whether the agents are independent contractors or employees.

GGRM is a Las Vegas accident law firm

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in auto accident cases for over 45 years. If you have been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, please give us a call today for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

Rent-a-Scooter Businesses Raise Personal Injury Concerns

Businesses offering fast, low-cost rentals of bikes (both conventional and motorized) and scooters are becoming a common feature in cities around the country. Being able to hop onto a scooter and zip across town is a great convenience for customers. But because scooters on busy urban streets can be dangerous, the risk of personal injury raises questions about how liable the rental business may be for their customers’ injuries. For someone injured while riding a rented scooter, there are several considerations that may come into play in any ensuing litigation.
  • Rental contracts probably limit liability.

Probably the most important way a rent-a-scooter business manages its risk is by requiring its customers to agree to lengthy terms and conditions that undoubtedly will include some form of waiver of liability. Such waivers are usually enforceable, even if the rent-a-scooter company has committed ordinary negligence. For example, if the last customer to ride a scooter leaves it at the rental stand with a punctured tire, and the next customer is injured when the tire goes flat at a bad moment, a waiver of liability might protect the company. That may apply even if an employee of the company inspected the scooter in a reasonably responsible way but didn’t see the puncture.
  • Assumption of risk.

A corollary to a waiver of liability is the inherent riskiness of riding a scooter. In fact, the rental contract probably includes a specific acknowledgment that the customer is assuming the risk of injury. For many types of accidents, the customer’s assumption of risk will be clear. For example, everyone knows that a scooter that gets struck by a larger vehicle is at a significant disadvantage when it comes to personal injury. Assumption of risk may not protect the rental company against suits arising from injuries that the customer could not have foreseen at the time the contract was signed.
  • Gross negligence and willful misconduct.

A rental company still bears liability for behaving especially badly. In the example above, the employee who inspected the punctured tire saw the damage but ignored it may have committed gross negligence by allowing the scooter to be rented again. Even more clear-cut would be the case where the employee allowed a customer to ride away on a damaged scooter with the intent that the customer be injured. A contract cannot waive a business’s liability for wrongful acts of this sort.
  • Insurance considerations.

Before renting any type of vehicle the customer should take a moment to confirm that insurance will cover injuries that happen while on the road. Rental companies probably offer some form of insurance, but its coverage may be limited. People who plan to routinely rent scooters as part of their regular transportation should consider taking out personal policies to provide additional coverage beyond what the rental company provides, both to cover their own injuries and the possibility of injuries to others.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

For over 45 years the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury and auto accident cases. If you have been injured while using a rented scooter and you need help sorting through your legal options, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or request a call through our website.

Potential Liability for Drivers of Self-Driving Cars

Potential Liability for Drivers of Self-Driving Cars
Over the next few years self-driving cars are going to become more common on Nevada’s roads as the technology improves and vehicles become affordable for a wider swath of consumers. The convenience of letting the car do most of the driving is undeniable, but as recent events have shown, autonomous vehicles aren’t perfect. Self-driving cars have been involved in a range of accidents, including slow-speed collisions and, recently, a fatal accident involving a pedestrian in Arizona. Such accidents will raise new and interesting legal questions for insurers, lawyers, and the courts to consider. Among the important questions that must be considered is the potential liability of a “driver” of a self-driving car that is involved in an accident.

Nevada law requires operators to stay attentive

The rules governing self-driving cars in Nevada are still in their infancy. Designed to allow developers to test the technology, the rules are far from fleshed out. Aside from a few skeletal rules, like insurance and licensing requirements, there is still a lot of work to be done that will be based, in large part, on the results of current experiments. One of the oddities about autonomous vehicles is that they don’t have “drivers” in the conventional sense. The person in the driver’s seat is neither a driver nor a passive passenger. Instead, he or she is deemed to be the car’s “operator,” with responsibilities for keeping an eye on what the car is doing. The concept of the operator is a new one with seemingly contradictory features. Even though Nevada law recognizes that an operator “is not required to actively drive an autonomous vehicle” (NRS 482A.200) an operator is still expected to be ready to take control in the event that the autonomous system fails (NRS 482A.080). Existing law places the onus on the designers of autonomous systems to ensure that the systems will “alert the human operator to take manual control of the autonomous vehicle if a failure of the autonomous technology has been detected and such failure affects the ability of the autonomous technology to operate safely the autonomous vehicle.” This relies upon the system to recognize its own failure and alert the operator in time to prevent an accident.

Scenarios of operator liability

Accidents where a self-driving car is at fault can be sorted into several categories, each with varying degrees of potential liability for the operator/driver:
  • Accidents while the operator is in full manual control. Obviously, if the operator is driving and the car’s autonomous system disabled, the fact that the car has the system onboard won’t be relevant to the analysis.
  • Accidents that occur after the autonomous system warns the operator to take control, but before the operator can do so. It seems inevitable that cases involving this situation will come up. Expecting operators to stay alert and aware of what’s happening around the car at all times seems unrealistic at best. Operators are likely to be looking at their phones, reading a book, or even dozing. Regardless, an operator who fails to react on time to a system warning may be committing negligence and may be liable in the same way as though he or she was distracted while driving a conventional car.
  • Accidents that occur while the autonomous system is in full control. As happened in the fatal crash in Arizona, an autonomous system may not recognize its own failures in time to prevent an accident. Again, the operator is supposed to be watching what’s happening, but if the system is active, is the operator really “in control?” The answer isn’t clear, and likely will depend on the specific facts of the accident and a range of technical questions about the system itself. In these cases, the designer of the autonomous system may be at least partly responsible for the accident.

GGRM is an auto accident law firm in Las Vegas

For over 45 years the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented clients who have been injured in auto accidents. We are closely monitoring the introduction of autonomous vehicles on Nevada’s roads. If you have questions about how a self-driving car may affect your liability, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476, or reach us through our contact page.

Texting a Driver: Is a Sender Liable for an Accident?

Texting a Driver: Is a Sender Liable for an Accident?
It is against the law to text while driving in Nevada. Someone who gets into an accident while texting can expect to have their cell phone use become a focus of the insurance companies and lawyers who get involved in the case, especially if the accident caused serious personal injuries. But are there situations where the sender of a text could bear some liability for an accident?

The driver bears primary responsibility

Perhaps the first thing to understand about this question is that the driver of the vehicle that causes an accident bears responsibility for the accident. Because Nevada drivers are prohibited from using their cell phones except in response to an emergency, a driver who gets distracted by a text message is already breaking the law. Strictly speaking, a driver who feels the need to look at a text message should pull to the side of the road. A New Jersey court examined this question in 2013. In Kubert v. Best, 432 N.J. Super. 495 (2013), a young driver caused an accident while he was reading a text. Like Nevada, New Jersey had adopted a law prohibiting hands-on cell phone use while driving. N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3. The injured plaintiffs sued both the driver and the sender of the text, arguing that the sender was “electronically present” at the time of the accident and should be held responsible for the consequences of her text message. The court in Kubert found that the sender was not liable.

A potential exception for knowingly sending distracting texts

Although it ruled in favor of the sender in the Kubert case, the New Jersey court held that the sender of a text can still be held liable for injuries that are proximately caused by sending a text if the sender knew, or had special reason to know, that the recipient would view the text while driving. Kubert, 432 N.J. Super. at 507. A Pennsylvania court cited Kubert in allowing a case to go forward against the sender of a text under similar circumstances. Although New Jersey cases aren’t binding in Nevada, the novel nature of this question may give a court reason to consider taking the Kubert court’s lead in future cases. Given the right set of facts, the sender of a text message might effectively be committing an independent act of negligence that contributes to an accident. Sending a distracting text could be similar to a passenger acting in a particularly distracting way—hitting the driver or covering the driver’s eyes, for example. When the sender knows that the recipient is driving, and the text could be a distraction, there’s a possibility that liability could stick. Another side to these cases is whether the driver who received the text, or the recipient’s insurance carrier, could sue the sender. It remains to be seen how questions like these will play out going forward. Although in most circumstances courts are likely to reject the idea that merely sending a text message creates liability for an accident, especially when the driver is acting wrongfully by reading it, chances are good that the right facts will come together to test these issues before a Nevada court.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

The attorneys at the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have broad experience with personal injury cases. If you have been injured in an accident and have questions about your legal options, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. For a free attorney consultation call us today at 702-388-4476 or ask us to reach out to you through our contact page.

The Evidentiary Role of Modern Car Computers

The Evidentiary Role of Modern Car Computers
Modern cars record an incredible amount of information. After an accident, data from a car’s memory can reveal details that the car’s driver couldn’t know. Sometimes a car’s memory will reveal that a driver’s recollection of the accident is flawed or self-serving. Other times it can prove that a driver is telling the truth.

The kinds of data a car records

Modern cars are loaded with electronic sensors that pass an enormous volume of information to devices called Electronic Control Modules, or ECMs. Since the mid-1990s all cars sold in the United States have been required to comply with the Onboard Diagnostic II (OBD II) Standard, which standardized the format and type of data collected by ECMs. OBD II systems collect information for use by mechanics who are diagnosing problems with a car, emissions inspectors, and accident investigators. The specific data gathered by a car’s OBD II system will vary by manufacturer, but generally includes things like accelerator and brake pedal positions, engine RPMs, and error or warning signals. Some cars also collect details like the vehicle’s pitch and yaw, seatbelt status, and the weight of passengers. The introduction of onboard navigation systems and other Internet-connected tools has added another category of computer to the modern car. These systems not only gather data about where a car has been. They also record speed, cross-referenced to the location’s speed limit, time information, and other details that car manufacturers sell to third parties.

The use of car data in a lawsuit

The information gathered by a car’s computer can become significant in a lawsuit that follows an accident in a number of ways. OBD II information can be extracted from a car using specialized readers. The availability of information from non-OBD II systems, like navigation computers, will depend on whether the information is stored locally or only on the system’s remote servers, and whether the owner of the system allows consumers to access it. The key thing to understand about a car’s electronic data is that it can be exceptionally compelling evidence of pivotal details about an accident. Did the driver accelerate or brake? Was the driver speeding? Was there a mechanical problem with the car that contributed to the accident? Technical details are perceived—often correctly—as more reliable than human recollections about an event. Digital records often can’t tell the entire story about an accident. A car’s data won’t necessarily reflect things like what the driver saw, whether the driver was distracted, and whether external factors like roadway conditions played a role. But it’s important to take car computer data into account when building a case.

GGRM understands car accident litigation

For more than 45 years, the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has worked with clients in the Las Vegas area to get the compensation they deserve for injuries from car accidents. For a free attorney consultation, reach out to us today at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contacts page.

How Car Accident Liability is Determined in Nevada

How Car Accident Liability is Determined in Nevada
In Nevada, someone who is at fault for an auto accident is responsible for compensating the other people involved in the accident for their personal injuries and property damage (usually through the at-fault driver’s insurance). Determining whether someone is at fault in a car accident is a legal question requiring a careful examination of the facts of the accident, the drivers involved, and the surrounding circumstances. In Nevada the rule applied to most car accidents is modified comparative negligence. To understand this rule it helps to break it down into its constituent parts.

Basic negligence in car accidents

Most car accident cases in Nevada rest on the initial question of whether the at-fault driver acted negligently. Negligence is a common legal standard in many kinds of civil lawsuits. In a negligence case, the plaintiff (that is, the injured party) tries to prove that the at-fault driver (the defendant) was not driving with a reasonable level of care in light of the circumstances, and as a consequence injured the plaintiff. Quite often the facts of the accident determine what a “reasonable level of care” means. A cell phone distraction looks different depending on whether it took place on a sunny day at normal speeds or on a rainy night at speeds well in excess of the limit.

Comparative negligence can offset some liability

But basic negligence doesn’t account for an important feature of car accidents: it’s relatively rare for one driver to be exclusively at fault. In response, Nevada applies the rule of comparative negligence, which offsets the at-fault driver’s responsibility by the extent to which the other driver (or drivers) contributed to the accident. For example, say the defendant swerved into the plaintiff’s lane and caused the plaintiff to smash into a guard rail. If the plaintiff was distracted by a cell phone at the time of the accident, the defendant could argue that the distraction impeded the defendant’s reactions and therefore contributed to the accident by, say, 20%.

The modified rule protects victims

Nevada applies a modified comparative negligence rule to car accident cases, in the sense that if the fault analysis concludes that the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault, the defendant doesn’t owe any damages at all. The modified comparative negligence rule discourages lawsuits that seem to flip accidents on their heads, putting the accidents’ victims in the role of defendants while the truly at-fault driver seeks recovery. Of course, in practice even a seemingly clear case can grow uncertain if the factual analysis begins to edge the defendant’s contribution to the accident toward the 51% cutoff point.

It’s important to talk to an attorney after a serious car accident

Although the facts of a car accident may at first seem straightforward, they can undergo complex interpretations in the hands of attorneys who are working to protect the interests of their clients. In a lawsuit, understanding how to handle bad facts and take advantage of good ones requires the expert guidance of an experienced lawyer. Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented victims of car accidents in Las Vegas for over 45 years. If you have been in an accident and you have questions about your legal options, our experienced team of attorneys is here to help. Reach out to us today at 702-388-4476, or send us a request through our site.

Things to Keep in Mind if You Are at Fault for a Car Accident

Things to keep in mind if you are at fault in a car accident

Regardless of whether you are determined to be at fault or not, there are some universal steps you should take immediately following a car accident. First, immediately check on the safety of everyone involved in the accident. Call paramedics if there’s the slightest possibility that anyone is injured. Whether or not paramedics are needed, make sure a police officer comes to the scene of the accident. It’s essential that a police report is created to determine which driver will be held legally at fault.

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible following the accident. Keep careful track of the claim number you are assigned and the name of your claims adjuster. Report the accident to the other driver’s insurance company as well, but be careful about what you say. Following that, seek the services of an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. Regardless of who is at fault, your attorney can assist you with documentation and take the lead during stressful claim settlement negotiations. If you do believe you are at fault, it is essential that you take extreme care when conversing with the other vehicle’s driver or passengers. Don’t discuss how the accident happened, which driver is at fault, or apologize or make any other admission of guilt or fault. A safe game plan is to ask the other driver if anyone was hurt, exchange contact and insurance info, and then suggest that everyone wait until the police arrive. That’s it.  Remain calm and don’t get drawn in to any arguments or confrontations. If the other driver does attempt to escalate the situation, simply walk away and wait for the police. It’s also important to get names and contact information for anyone who was a witness to the accident. And make sure to take as many pictures as possible of both the accident scene and the damage to both vehicles. For over 45 years we've been providing Las Vegas with the best personal injury representation available. More importantly, our clients have always come first. Visit our website to get contact information and learn more about us.