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The Risk of Driving on Recalled Tires

Auto tires are highly engineered and carefully constructed to provide safe performance under a wide range of conditions. Like any sophisticated product, tires can be subject to manufacturer recalls. Such recalls can come about as a manufacturer learns about problems revealed by the real-world use of their products. When drivers learn about a recall of a tire that is mounted in their cars, it’s important to take immediate steps to respond to the recall. The underlying cause of tire recalls can vary widely. Some recent recalls have included potential problems with sidewall or tread adhesives coming apart. Others have reported cases where the steel cords lying underneath the outer rubber of a tire could become exposed. In each case the threat to drivers is a sudden loss of tire pressure, loss of traction, and loss of control. Even at low speeds a catastrophic tire problem can lead to a serious crash. Nevada’s products liability law gives people who are injured by defective products the option of suing the manufacturer and marketer of the product for compensation. A manufacturer recall doesn’t free the manufacturer from liability for injuries caused by the defect to which the recall relates. If anything, a recall is intended to reduce the risk that someone will get hurt and sue. A recall can even be useful to a plaintiff in a personal injury trial, provided that the plaintiff can prove that the specific defect addressed in the recall also caused the plaintiff’s injury. Proving that a specific defect caused an accident can require the help of an expert as the specific source of a tire failure may be impossible for an untrained person to identify. Expert witnesses can charge substantial fees for their work, but the expert’s analysis and testimony can be critical to show that a defendant’s product was defective. An expert’s testimony is likely to be especially useful for plaintiffs who want to use the fact of a recall as part of their case for the defendant’s liability. If a driver knows about a tire recall but ignores it or puts off getting the problem resolved, the tire manufacturer may have an argument that the driver has assumed the risk of injury by continuing to use the defective tires. Such a defense may grow more convincing as time passes. A driver who is injured by a tire failure while on the way to the shop to have the tire promptly replaced under the manufacturer’s recall program probably won’t face this defense. But a driver who goes for six months after receiving (and reading) the notice may have a harder time recovering full compensation if something goes wrong. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in personal injury and products liability cases. If you or a loved one has been injured by an accident caused by a defective tire, please contact us today for a free attorney consultation. Call us at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

Lane Departure Warning Systems Can Prevent Accidents

Lane departure warning systems are among the new innovations auto manufacturers are building into their cars to help drivers avoid accidents. The systems use sensors built into the car to detect a lane and sound an alarm if the driver veers out of the lane. Some systems will even take partial control of the vehicle to keep the car moving in a straight line. For drivers who are distracted or tired, this feature can be a significant safety enhancement. Lane departure systems raise interesting legal questions that can become important in the event that a vehicle equipped with such a system gets into an accident. Here are some potential issues that can arise:
  • The system doesn’t work as intended. Perhaps the most interesting question for drivers is how reliable a safety feature like lane detection really is. Will the car always know what a lane is? If the car can impede steering in some way, could that create its own safety hazards? For someone who is injured in an accident where a safety system may not have worked correctly, a products liability case against the manufacturer of the car or its safety system may be an appropriate remedy.
  • A driver disregards warning signals. How much liability does a driver have if a lane departure system provides an audible warning, but the driver ignores it? Drivers may have a good argument that having an optional safety system does not create an explicit legal obligation to pay attention to it. However, disregarding a car’s warnings may provide one important piece of evidence that a driver was not paying attention at the time of the accident. As such, ignoring the lane departure system may form at least part of a foundation for a claim of negligence against the driver.
  • The system was turned off at the time of the accident. Lane departure systems are typically equipped with a switch to turn them off. Some drivers don’t like to hear alarms every time they change lanes. Some don’t the idea of the car taking control. And as already mentioned, just because an optional system is onboard doesn’t mean that the driver has an obligation to use it. That a system is disabled could be a factor in an accident if a driver is used to having it on, but for whatever reason it has been turned off and the driver isn’t aware of it. In such cases, the driver may be relying on the system to drive in an irresponsible way, such as texting while driving with the expectation that the system offers a degree of extra safety. In a sense, this kind of driver may actually be less safe as a consequence of placing too much reliance on a safety feature.
When an accident involves complex questions of technology, it’s important to have an experienced accident attorney at your side. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in personal injury and accident cases. Reach out to us today for a free attorney consultation about your accident. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or through our site.

Lane Departure Detection and Other Car Safety Features

Auto safety features have become increasingly more sophisticated over the last decade. Modern cars are often equipped with advanced equipment like rear-facing cameras, front and side obstacle detection, blind spot warnings, and lane-keep assist. These features, many of which come as a side benefit of the race toward self-driving cars, greatly enhance a vehicle’s safety. Despite their obvious advantages, modern safety features aren’t able to stop every kind of accident. In fact, their role in an accident could become a part of a personal injury dispute. An overarching reason that this is true is that modern cars record enormous quantities of information about their systems, including the state of safety features. Here are a few ways these systems might factor into a case:
  • Showing distraction. Technology has made it easier to prove that a driver was distracted at the time of an accident. If the accident was caused by the driver’s car veering across lanes, the fact that the lane-keep assist system was beeping could be used to show that the driver wasn’t paying attention. Likewise if the driver backed into someone or something while the backup camera was active, the extra information available on the camera monitor may serve as a useful fact for the plaintiff. Although the data probably doesn’t tell the whole picture, it can become a vital clue as to the state of mind of the driver in the moments before the accident.
  • Establishing facts. Many safety features rely upon a car’s “vision,” as provided by cameras and other sensory equipment. The data from sensors themselves can become valuable information in a dispute. For example, it may show where one vehicle was in relation to another at the time of a crash. A collision prevention system’s activation may indicate that the driver was following too closely or didn’t brake in time. Oftentimes the facts shown by a system’s technical records are more reliable than the scattered recollections of individuals involved in a crash. Sometimes the technical data can show that one of the people involved in a crash isn’t telling the truth.
  • Resting culpability on the manufacturer. It’s conceivable that a safety system may not work as intended. A driver who has come to rely on a car’s side and rear obstruction detectors might cause an accident if the detectors aren’t working properly. There could be many reasons for a malfunction: improper maintenance, ordinary wear and tear, or a fundamental flaw in the system’s design or construction. Where the responsibility for the system’s failure rests with the manufacturer, it may be drawn into a case on a products liability theory.
The role modern safety systems can play in a personal injury case will vary based on the specific facts of each accident. Working with experienced attorneys who understand how to use technical data is essential to building a strong case. For more than 45 years the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented personal injury clients in the Las Vegas area. If you have been injured in a car accident call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

Biking in the Rain Increases Injury Risk

As bicycles become more popular as alternatives to cars people are more and more willing to ride in weather that would deter a casual rider. Rain in Nevada can come in dramatic bursts that can make roads unsafe even for drivers. While riding on the road during rainy weather it’s worthwhile keeping a few things in mind.

Tips for safely riding bicycles in the rain

Perhaps the best advice for cyclists who want to ride in the rain is: don’t. But sometimes it can’t be avoided, because there isn’t another mode of transportation available or the weather has turned without warning. When on the road in the rain, these safety tips can reduce the risk of an accident:
  • Take steps to be visible. In addition to having the legally required minimum front and rear reflectors, cyclists who ride in rain should also wear bright colors and ideally should have front and rear lights. It is almost impossible for a cyclist to be “too visible” on the road during wet weather.
  • Ride conservatively. Rain drastically reduces traction. Stopping distances will be significantly greater. Making aggressive turns on wet pavement can easily cause wheels to slide, leading to a crash.
  • If possible, take the lane. Nevada law allows cyclists to take an entire lane on multilane roads that do not have a separate, designated bike lane. It is significantly safer for a cyclist to take an entire lane than to try to hug the shoulder. Even if riding on a single lane road, cyclists are permitted to take the lane if the shoulder is full of debris or standing water.
  • Be prepared to wait out the storm. Riding in an especially heavy downpour is not worth the risk. If the roadway is inundated with water there may be no safe speed at which to ride.

The law and cycling in the rain

Nevada law treats bicycles like other vehicles for traffic purposes, meaning riders are required to obey all the rules of the road. There is no special rule that dictates how drivers must behave during rain, so it remains up to the rider to decide what is safe. In that respect, the rider takes a degree of personal responsibility when riding in the rain. Riding in the rain will likely become an important issue in litigation if a bicyclist gets into an accident. Cases involving bike accidents have sometimes hinged on the cyclist’s assumption of the risk of injury. In a case where the rain played a factor in causing an accident one should anticipate the argument coming up. For example, if a cyclist rides into a deep puddle and falls in front of an oncoming car, the car’s driver probably will argue that the cyclist assumed the risk of injury or committed an act of contributory negligence by riding in conditions that were unsafe.

Talk to a Las Vegas personal injury firm about your bike accident

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez represents clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury and accident cases. If you have been injured while riding a bicycle in the Las Vegas area, please reach out to us today for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

Safely Carrying Dogs in Cars

People love taking their dogs with them wherever they go, and dogs love it, too. But dogs moving around inside a car can be dangerously distracting for drivers and can lead to serious accidents. Dogs that aren’t adequately secure in a car can also suffer injuries in sudden stops or collisions. Dog owners should take a moment to think seriously about how they protect themselves and their dogs from injury. Here are a few tips:
  • Dogs should be restrained just like any other passenger. At a minimum, dogs should only ride in the back seat, but keeping them restrained is an even better policy. Like everything else in the car, a dog can be forcefully thrown toward the front of the vehicle in a collision, leading to serious injuries. Ideally a dog riding in a vehicle should be kept in a kennel. Far from being cruel, a familiar kennel can help keep a dog calm and contained. Retailers also sell harnesses one can use to essentially provide a dog with a seatbelt.
  • Never carry a dog in a truck bed. One of the most common sources of injury for dogs riding in vehicles is from falling out of truck beds. It is rarely sufficient to tie a dog to the truck with a leash. Dogs can still fall out and be strangled by the leash. If available, put the dog in the truck’s back seat.
  • Avoid letting the dog hang its head out of an open window. As fun as it is to watch a dog enjoy the breeze, a dog hanging its head out of an open window in a moving car is at substantially greater risk of suffering an injury from flying debris, obstructions like branches, and other vehicles. Dogs also sometimes fall or jump out of open windows.
  • Be mindful of the heat. Like small children, dogs can suffer serious heat-related injuries or even death if left inside a hot car. Nevada law prohibits leaving any pet in a parked or standing vehicle in extreme hot or cold weather unless there is a person at least 12 years of age in the car with the pet. Nevada law authorizes rescuers to use “any reasonable means necessary” to save a pet left in a hot car without incurring civil liability. This means that leaving a dog in a hot car could expose the owner to prosecution but also lead to a broken window or other damage to the car. The best solution, of course, is to avoid do this at all.
Driving with an unrestrained dog in the car probably increases the risk that the driver will be dangerously distracted. If an accident does occur and the dog owner is at fault, the fact that there was a dog loose in the car may become an important fact in determining liability. The driver may find that his or her insurance carrier is unsympathetic and unhelpful in such cases, potentially leaving the driver holding the bill. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area seek compensation for personal injuries. If you have questions about how driving with a dog may affect your legal liability, call us today for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contact page.

Personal Injury Considerations for Owners of RVs

Personal Injury Considerations for Owners of RVs
As a matter of convenience and comfort it’s hard to beat an RV for long-distance travel. But RVs also pose a range of risks for personal injury that are unique to these types of vehicles. Before hitting the road an RV owner should take stock of the risks. Planning ahead—by buying appropriate insurance and adopting safe practices—can prevent a lot of trouble later on. Here are examples of how personal injury can arise while using an RV. An RV typically contains electrical equipment, heaters, hot plates, and other potential sources of fire. A cigarette dropped on carpeting or upholstery can also cause a blaze. Special care needs to be taken to ensure that potential fire hazards are addressed in advance. In particular, be careful about making modifications to electrical systems that leave wires exposed. Also make sure that any propane tanks are kept outside the vehicle in appropriate containers.
  • Unsecured passengers.
In Nevada all passengers in a vehicle over the age of 6 must wear seat belts while the vehicle is in motion. Nevada is a “secondary seat belt law” state, meaning a police officer won’t pull over a vehicle solely because someone is visibly not wearing a belt. But just because a traffic cop won’t pull over your RV doesn’t mean that passengers should be allowed to freely roam around the living space while the vehicle is moving. Passengers can fall and suffer serious injury as a result.
  • Inadequate driver training.
A driver who is inexperienced with operating large vehicles poses an increased risk of accidents, especially while driving in congested areas like city streets, parking lots, or gas stations. Nevada requires drivers of RVs that weigh 26,001 pounds or more to qualify for a Class A or Class B driver’s license. These are ordinarily commercial licenses covering large combination vehicles, like tractor trailers (Class A), or busses (Class B). A separate qualification, Endorsement J, is necessary to tow a vehicle over 10,000 pounds. A driver who lacks these qualifications must not drive a large RV. For example, a family should not allow an unqualified teenaged driver to take the wheel simply to give the primary driver a rest.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning.
An idling RV poses a special risk of causing carbon monoxide poisoning. Modern RVs are equipped with carbon monoxide sensors, but it’s important to ensure that the sensor is working correctly before going on a trip. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, often making it undetectable until the harm has already been done. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and auto accident cases for over 45 years. If you have been injured in an accident involving an RV call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or ask us to call you through our contacts page.

Reasons to Never Leave a Child Unattended in a Parked Car

Reasons to Never Leave a Child Unattended in a Parked Car
Parents are often tempted to leave their children in the car while they run a quick errand. Many parents remember their own parents doing this to them when they were kids. But our current understanding is that leaving kids in cars is dangerous. Not only is it a crime to leave kids unattended in a car, it also exposes them to a number of potential dangers.
  • Heat injuries.
Nevada’s hot weather makes cars especially dangerous places for small children. In addition to the highly publicized problem of children being killed when trapped in cars, children can suffer lasting health effects from heat stroke and sunburn. A parent who leaves a child in a hot car may face charges of child endangerment or even manslaughter.
  • Risk of mechanical injury.
Even if a car is parked where it won’t get hot in the sun, a child who is allowed to freely roam inside a car can fall or get trapped in various ways. A child who is trapped inside a car with no way to call for help could suffer injuries that are only made worse by the length of time it takes to discover them and seek medical help.
  • Exposure to predators.
A child left alone in a car becomes an easy target for someone who would seek to do them harm. With child trafficking an increasingly significant problem, it’s wise to not discount the threat of kidnapping. Infants and very small children are especially vulnerable.
  • The rights of rescuers.
If someone spots a child trapped in a parked vehicle and calls the authorities, police or other first responders are allowed to break into a car to rescue the child. They may do so without liability to the owner of the vehicle. Imagine coming out of the grocery store to find a squad of firefighters smashing your car’s windows to get to your child. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez represents clients in personal injury, workers’ compensation, and other cases. For a free attorney consultation please contact us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Leaving Kids in Hot Cars in Nevada

Leaving Kids in Hot Cars in Nevada
It’s extremely dangerous to leave children for any significant amount of time in a hot car. Even on cloudy days the sun’s heat can rapidly raise temperatures inside a car to unsafe levels. Each year an average of 37 children die from heat-related injuries after being left in hot cars. More suffer from heat stroke and other complications, which at a young age can have lasting consequences. Because of the risks, many states, including Nevada, have adopted laws that provide for criminal penalties for responsible adults who leave children unattended in cars.

Nevada’s unattended child law

Nevada’s “hot car” law was passed in 2005. It provides for criminal penalties for people who violate the law. It applies to parents, guardians, or other people who are responsible for a child who is seven years old or younger. It is a crime to knowingly and intentionally leave such a child unsupervised in a vehicle where “conditions present a significant risk to the health and safety of the child.” It is also unlawful to leave a child under the age of eight unattended in a car if it is running or if the keys are in the ignition. The parameters of this law are in fact quite narrowly constructed. Whether someone can be criminally prosecuted for violating the law will depend on the state’s ability to prove a number of things:
  • Intent. It isn’t enough that a parent or other responsible adult accidentally leaves a child in a hot car. The decision to leave the child in the car must be knowing and intentional. This gives an otherwise liable adult a potentially strong excuse that he or she simply forgot that the child was in the car. This brand of forgetfulness is more common than one would expect.
  • Conditions were unsafe. This piece of the puzzle may be relatively straightforward: the outside temperature was over 100 degrees, the car was parked in the sun, and all the windows were rolled up. But if the car was parked under a large shade structure, perhaps the child was not particularly at risk. Note that risk involves more than just heat. Leaving a child unattended could increase chances of other kinds of injury and could expose the child to kidnappers.
  • The child was unsupervised. If the responsible adult left the child in the car but was standing a short distance away within visual contact, a crime probably wasn’t committed at least with respect to the hot car law. However, the adult who ignores the risks of the hot car may have broken other laws, such as negligent supervision or child endangerment.

Pursuing civil action

Whether or not a crime was committed, parents of a child who is injured in a hot car may wish to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim against other adults who were responsible at the time of the incident. If the responsible adult was violating a law at the time of the event a plaintiff will have a relatively easy road to making a successful claim. A criminal conviction creates a presumption of liability in the civil context. Why would someone wish to pursue a civil case in these cases? One reason is that criminal prosecution, even if it is successful, cannot grant the scope of damages that is available in civil trials. When a child is injured or killed a parent’s pain and suffering can be a significant component of damages, but pain and suffering is only available through a civil trial.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has prided itself on providing compassionate, personalized services to clients in personal injury cases. If your child has suffered an injury in a hot car and you would like to discuss your legal options, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.