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Common Sources of Infant Head Injuries

It’s commonly understood that an infant’s skull, and therefore the infant’s brain as well, is extremely delicate for the first year to year and a half of life. Before the skull fully knits together and hardens, an infant’s brain is vulnerable to serious injury that can have life-long consequences. For the infant and his or her parents, such injuries create lasting challenges and heartache. There are several sources of infant head injuries, many, but not all, related to falls:
  • Parental mistake. A clumsy mistake while holding an infant can lead to terrible injuries. That’s why parents need to take special care when lifting and holding their infants. Parents can make a variety of other mistakes, like leaving a child on a bed without adequately ensuring that the child can’t roll off or trying to sit a child in a seat that isn’t appropriate.
  • Professional caregiver negligence. Many parents rely on professional or semi-professional caregivers, like nannies or day care providers, to look after infants. When an infant is injured in a caregiver’s care, parents may have the option of suing the caregiver to recover compensation. Licensed and insured day care centers will have coverage for such lawsuits and likely will have greater resources to pay an award than an individual who is working as a nanny.
  • Negligence by a nurse or doctor. Nurses and doctors who work with infants are specially trained to prevent injuries. When an injury does occur, the professional who causes it may have committed professional negligence. A professional negligence claim must be supported by the sworn affidavit of a professional in a similar line of work as the defendant, who confirms his or her independent opinion that the defendant did not use reasonable care ordinarily used in similar circumstances by other similarly trained and experienced professionals. This affidavit requirement imposes an extra hurdle on parents who might want to sue a doctor, nurse, or hospital.
  • Car accidents. Unfortunately, even with advances in child safety seats car crashes can still lead to serious brain trauma in infants. In some cases, the injured infant wasn’t properly secured in the seat, while in others the seat was defective, improperly installed, or inappropriate for the age or weight of the child. Each of these scenarios will involve different legal issues, such as whether the car seat manufacturer bears liability for selling a defective product. If the accident was caused by another driver, that driver may use problems with an infant’s car seat as a partial defense against liability.
A serious brain injury to an infant is a terrible event to face as a parent. It can be helpful to work with a caring and respectful attorney to explore legal options for recovering compensation for medical bills and suffering. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and auto accident cases for over 45 years. Call us today for a free attorney consultation about your case at 702-388-4476 or reach out to us through our contacts page.

Water Features Pose Significant Risk to Children

Las Vegas is home to some of the most iconic urban water features in the country. Especially at night, when the water is lit up, big fountains can be an impressive show. Of course, the big fountains aren’t the only water features one can find in and around Las Vegas. More modest fountains and other water features, like a koi pond, are everywhere. Small children, who are attracted to water, can suffer serious injuries, including death, if they fall into a water feature and aren’t rescued in time.

Premises liability for water features

Homeowners and businesses alike owe certain obligations to guests to maintain their properties in reasonably safe condition. For a business that maintains a water feature that is accessible to the public, reasonable steps to keep the water feature safe might include:
  • Active, 24-hour video monitoring.
  • Maintaining fences and other barriers to prevent access.
  • Having personnel on site with training to respond to a drowning emergency.
Note that liability for a water feature can extend even to places that are not accessible to the public. Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, a property owner can be held liable for injuries suffered by a child who trespasses onto a property in order to gain access to a water feature, like a pool or private fountain. Property owners are required to take active steps to ensure that a child who trespasses onto their property to use an “attractive” feature is protected from injury, such as by ensuring that a barrier is in place or by covering the water feature when not in use.

What role does a parent’s supervision play?

Parents of small children should always keep a close eye on their kids when they are around water. This is true for all children, but especially those who don’t know how to swim or keep themselves safe in the water. Always bear in mind that water features that aren’t intended for human use probably have slippery bottoms, making rescues more difficult. Parents who allow their children to wander off to a water feature without adequate oversight may face a defense of contributory negligence in any ensuing personal injury case. The defense may argue that the parents disregarded the potential danger to their child and therefore should be at least partially responsible for the child’s resulting injuries. Additional facts, like warning signs or evidence that the parent was aware of the risk but ignored it, could work in the defense’s favor.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez represents clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury a litigation. Our practice focuses on providing caring service to each and every client. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call us today at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

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.

Dogs and Injuries to Small Children

Small children love playing with dogs. But not every dog has the temperament to tolerate rough play from a child, and sometimes a child can trigger defensive instincts even in a mild-mannered animal. Parents and caregivers who plan to have a dog around small children should take care to follow a few simple rules:
  • Supervise. Dogs shouldn’t be left alone with small children. A common mistake is to take for granted that an easy-going dog will stay that way when a child is doing things that may provoke it, like climbing on the dog’s back, grabbing at the dog’s face, ears, or eyes, or pulling on a tail.
  • Control the environment. A high-energy environment, with loud noises and lots of people running around, can overstimulate a dog and lead to accidents. Bear in mind that dogs can get physical when they play: they will run around, jump, use their front paws to push and grab, and so on. A small child can be injured by playful behavior just as much as aggressive behavior.
  • Teach. Even children who haven’t learned how to speak can learn how to interact with dogs. Teaching children to pet dogs with open handed, gentle movements can help them develop a better relationship with the dog, while also reducing the chances that they’ll do something to startle the dog.
  • Intervene. Watch closely for signs that the dog is distressed. Wide eyes, lowered ears, and of course growling are all signs that the dog needs to be separated from the child. The best course is usually to simply pick up the child.
If a child is injured by a dog, seek medical attention for the child right away. Children may not be able to communicate the extent of their injuries and can suffer broken bones more easily than an adult. Children have remarkable resilience, but parents should also watch for signs of psychological harm, like lingering fear of dogs, that might need to be addressed. Failing to take reasonable steps to keep a child safe from a dog could lead to legal liability for someone who has responsibility to keep the child safe. When a dog causes a child serious injuries that require medical intervention, the child’s parent or guardian may be forced to sue to recover compensation from the dog owner’s insurance policy or directly from the owner. To protect themselves and others, people who own dogs should verify that their insurance coverage will protect them in the event of a dog-related injury. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in personal injury cases, including injuries caused by dogs. If your child has been hurt by a dog and you are wondering about your legal options, please call us for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or through our site.

Safely Riding Bikes with Kids

Teaching kids how to ride bikes safely is a great way to encourage them to develop life-long healthy habits. Putting children on bikes also involves a significant responsibility. Preventing accidents and injuries should be a top priority. Children can be at greater risk than adults for bicycling accidents. They don’t always ride in a straight line, may not have sufficient skill to respond to changing conditions, and may be easily distracted. Bearing in mind that many accidents can be prevented even by the people who are not legally at fault, here are a few tips for keeping kids safe on bikes.
  1. Check for mechanical problems. Kids’ bikes go through a lot. They get dropped, left outside for long periods, and so on. Before going for a ride in public places it’s a good idea to always check for mechanical problems, especially with brakes and any point of contact between the bike, the rider, and the road (such as seats, handlebars, wheels). A quick tightening of a loose nut may prevent an accident.
  2. Make children wear helmets. Nevada law doesn’t require cyclists to wear helmets. Although not wearing a helmet won’t result in a citation, it could result in a serious or even fatal head injury. Bear in mind that helmets do not prevent every kind of head injury, they only reduce the likelihood of severe trauma.
  3. Teach traffic safety. Bicycles are not regulated in the same way as cars in Nevada, but they are subject to traffic rules. Kids who will ride in public need to have a basic working knowledge of what signs mean. It’s especially important that kids know when they must stop. They also need to know to stay within designated lanes and when it is ok to leave them. When riding on roads, cyclists are required to stay within designated bike lanes if they are present, unless roadway conditions in the bike lane makes it unsafe to do so.
If a child is injured while riding a bike and someone else was at fault, there may be an option of suing for compensation for the child’s injuries. The facts of the accident will be vitally important for determining the outcome of the case. After an accident it is important to gather as much information as possible about the event, including the time of day, the location, details about the people involved, and so on. Of course, this is easier said than done when a child has been injured and needs medical help. In any ensuing litigation the central question probably will be whether the person responsible for the accident was negligent. If the child was riding recklessly—for example, by running a red light into oncoming traffic—that may offer a partial or complete defense.

Talk to a Las Vegas personal injury firm about your case

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and accident cases for over 45 years. If you have questions about an accident involving a child on a bicycle, please contact us today for a free, no-obligation attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

Keeping Kids Safe While Riding in a Boat

In some ways, the pleasure of riding in a boat can bring out the kid in all of us. Children are naturally drawn to water and riding in a boat is undeniably fun. Owners and operators of boats who plan to take children aboard still need to think carefully about how to best keep their little passengers safe during the trip. Here are a few basic principles:
  1. Comply with floatation device requirements.

In Nevada every boat must carry life jackets that comply with U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) guidelines for personal flotation devices (PFDs). There are a number of specific rules for PFDs.
  • Every boat must carry at least one life jacket per passenger. Larger vessels (16 feet or larger) must carry additional floatation equipment. When considering whether sufficient PFDs are on board, take into account the size requirements of different passengers. Children and infants have very different sizing and fit requirements when compared to adults.
  • Children under 13 years of age are required to wear a PFD at all times while a vessel is underway unless the child is fully confined inside the boat. A child may not need to wear a life jacket while below deck on a sail boat, but would need to wear one on a power boat with only a partial enclosure.
  • Life jackets need to be in good condition. If a life jacket has a damaged buckle or frayed material it should be replaced.
  • Life jackets must be legibly marked with the applicable USCG approval number.
  • PFDs must be accessible, which means that it is being worn or can be reached and is ready to wear. A life jacket that’s kept in a box, especially if the box is locked, doesn’t meet this requirement.
  1. Know your passengers.

Take a moment to find out how much experience your young passengers have with boats. Children who have never ridden on a boat before probably don’t know what to expect if, for example, the boat hits waves while under power. Know whether your passengers can swim so that you can anticipate the kind of intervention that might be required in an emergency.
  1. Talk about boat safety.

Children should be taught how to respond in the event of an emergency on the water. In a real emergency, such as if the boat flips over or the child falls overboard, an adult may not be able to reach the child right away. Especially on boats that are prone to tipping (canoes, sail boats) it’s important to teach children to stay with the boat in the event of a capsize. Have a plan if the child falls overboard. Ideally, the child has spent time in the water wearing a lifejacket, so he or she knows what to expect.

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 cases. If you have been injured in a boating accident we are happy to discuss your case with you. Call today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or request a call through our website.

Rat Poison Can Seriously Injure Children and Pets

Rat Poison Can Seriously Injure Children and Pets
Despite the extensively documented dangers pellet-type rat poisons pose to pets, children, and wildlife, they continue to be a readily available and popular solution to a ubiquitous urban problem. Parents of small children or owners of dogs or cats that are allowed to roam outside should avoid using poisoned baits. But what if a neighbor uses them and poisoned rats begin showing up in your yard? There are a few things to bear in mind.

How rat poison works

There are several types of rodent poison common in the United States. A common feature of all of them is that they are designed to kill a small mammal. Even if a dog, cat, or child is substantially larger than a rat, the poison works in much the same way on their systems as it does on a rat’s. Even if it doesn’t kill, it can cause serious injury. Here are the four common types:
  • Anticoagulant rodenticides (ACR). These chemicals cause severe internal bleeding, effectively causing the rodent to bleed to death. In sufficient quantities they can cause bleeding from the nose or gums, coughing (bleeding in the lungs), and other severe symptoms.
  • Cholecalciferol. This type of poison causes kidney failure through a buildup of calcium in the body. It can be very difficult to treat due to the challenge of getting calcium out of the kidneys. Its symptoms can include lethargy, increased thirst, and tremors.
  • Bromethalin. This poison causes brain swelling, leading to vomiting, seizures, and other severe reactions.
  • Phosphides. These poisons are typically used to control larger pests like moles. They create a poisonous gas in the stomach.
Each of these poisons can be treated to various degrees, but the goal should really be to avoid having them in the environment at all. There are effective alternatives to poison, including “zap traps” that use electric shock and traps that kill the rat with a powerful blow to the spine.

Potential legal problems with using rat poison

In addition to the physical risks to pets and children, using rat poison can create legal risks as well. The more serious one is if a child gets ahold of poison that hasn’t been adequately childproofed. In some situations a person who does so may be committing negligence. This can be true even if the child was trespassing on the property at the time. For example, if the property has a trampoline that is accessible to children in the neighborhood, one should anticipate children being around rat traps left nearby. A less costly but still serious risk is that the poison will hurt or kill a neighbor’s pet. Even if poison can’t be reached by pets in the containers where it’s left, a dog could easily find a dead or dying rat and eat it. Even though there are limits on how much a person can recover in a lawsuit for injuries to pets, it is better to avoid the problem to begin with.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped injured clients in the Las Vegas area recover compensation. If you have questions about a potential legal issue related to rat poison, call us today for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Legal Considerations When Hiring Minors to Babysit Children

Legal Considerations When Hiring Minors to Babysit Children
Hiring a neighbor’s teenager to look after kids is a familiar way for parents to free up an evening and kids to earn some spending money. Assuming the babysitter is responsible and able to address the typical kinds of problems that can come up—a scrape or a bruise—there’s probably little risk involved in these informal arrangements. But if a child is seriously injured while being watched by a minor, questions can come up about how legal liability applies in these situations. In thinking about how a minor’s liability for injuries to a child while babysitting it’s helpful to separate potential scenarios into two categories: negligence and willful acts of misconduct.

Minors are often shielded from liability for ordinary negligence

Negligence is the most common cause of action in personal injury lawsuits, in part because it offers relatively low requirements for attaching liability to the defendant. In a negligence case the defendant owed the plaintiff (or the plaintiff’s child) a duty of care, breached that duty of care, and as a consequence the plaintiff was injured (in legal terms, the plaintiff suffered damages). By accepting responsibility for a child, especially for pay, the babysitter undoubtedly has a duty to provide for the safety of the child. There are several problems with trying to pursue a negligence action against a minor. The first is that the minor probably doesn’t have much in the way of financial resources to pay a judgment, so even a successful outcome won’t help pay for an injured child’s medical bills. A second problem is that minors are generally given greater leeway to make mistakes, and a minor may present a sympathetic case in the courtroom. That leaves the possibility of suing the babysitter’s parents. But in Nevada a minor’s parents normally can’t be sued for the ordinary negligence or even recklessness of their minor children except in cases where the minor negligently causes an injury using a firearm. Rocky Mountain Produce Trucking Co. v. Johnson, 78 Nev. 44, 51-52 (1962), NRS 41.472.

Willful misconduct by a babysitter

The legal analysis changes if a babysitter deliberately acts wrongfully and as a consequence hurts a child. Parents of a minor are jointly and severally liable for damages caused by the minor’s acts of willful misconduct, up to $10,000 per act. NRS 41.470. What might constitute willful misconduct? Here are some examples:
  • Deliberately harming the child (hitting, choking, sexual assault).
  • Using illegal drugs that cause the babysitter to not be aware of risks to the child.
  • Intentionally placing the child in harm’s way as a stunt or joke.
The damages limitation placed upon actions for a minor’s willful misconduct forces a plaintiff to get creative when analyzing the facts of the child’s injury. Given the right set of facts the babysitter may have committed multiple separate acts of willful misconduct, allowing for the $10,000 cap to be multiplied according to the number of acts. The challenge is often that the only reliable witness to the wrongful acts is the babysitter. A skilled attorney can explore these issues.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped injured clients in the Las Vegas area recover compensation. If you have questions about your legal options to respond to a child’s injury caused by a babysitter, call us today for a free attorney consultation. Reach us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Childproofing a Home to Protect Little Ones and Prevent Liability

When a small child will be present in a home it’s vitally important that the homeowner take stock of potential hazards and, to the extent possible, remedy them. Many childproofing steps are simple—outlet covers, for example—and can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury to a child. Failing to address hazards could lead to a child’s serious injury or even death. Such tragedies can also create legal liability for an adult who hasn’t taken proper care.

Childproofing recommendations

The National Safety Council is one of many organizations focused on providing helpful guidance for people looking for ways to improve the safety of their homes. They identify a range of important issues to consider when evaluating a home’s potential hazards for children. Some examples include:
  • Keeping firearms out of reach of children.
  • Examining places of high risk for ways to limit a child’s access to them. Such places include areas with water (pools, spas, kitchens, bathrooms), heat (fireplaces and stoves), toxic materials (cleaners and medicines), and places with fall risks (stairs).
  • Securing heavy furniture to the wall or other stable feature, especially tippy furniture like tall dressers (such as the popular Ikea “MALM” dresser, which the company has repeatedly recalled following the deaths of several toddlers) or televisions.
  • Covering wall outlets and ensuring that electrical plugs are well-seated.
The steps a homeowner takes to childproof a home will vary depending on how frequently children will be present, how practical it is to address each hazard, and other personal factors. Someone who is only occasionally visited by their small grandchild may see little utility in securing every kitchen cabinet, while the parent of a small child probably should take the steps to secure as much as possible.

Childproofing and the law

There are no particular laws requiring individuals to childproof their homes. As a practical matter such laws aren’t necessary. Parents and other caregivers have plenty of incentive to keep their little ones safe without needing the state’s intervention. The absence of specific laws places childproofing into the broad category of negligence. The key question in a typical negligence case is whether the person responsible for a child’s injury breached a duty of care owed to the child. Such duties include things like ensuring that a backyard pool can’t be accessed by children passing by the property. Whether an individual is committing negligence for failing to add locks to medicine cabinets or cover wall outlets will depend on the facts of the situation: the relationship of the homeowner to the child, the foreseeability of the child’s injury, and other factors.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has provided personal, caring service to clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. If you have questions about an injury to a child caused by inadequate childproofing of a home call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

Legal Strategies to Prevent Child Abuse

Legal Strategies to Protect Children from Abuse
When a child is suffering abuse at the hands of a parent, guardian, or other caregiver it can unfortunately sometimes be difficult to end the abuse without taking formal steps to create legal barriers between the child and the abuser. Especially in cases where the abuser is violent and potentially abusive toward the person who wishes to also protect the child, taking legal steps takes real courage. Anyone who wishes to protect a a child from an abuser in Nevada has a number of legal options.
  • Seek a protective order.
A protective order is a court-issued, legally binding document that requires the individual subject to the order (the “adverse party”) to not go to designated places, not approach designated people, or not engage in other behavior that could make the applicant for the order feel threatened or unsafe. For example, a protective order could require a person to stay a certain distance away from the home where a child lives, the child’s school, or a caregiver’s home. A protective order can be requested by someone who reasonably believes that his or her child has been the victim of a crime that is “harmful to minors,” such as sexual or physical abuse. NRS 33.400. There are a number of advantages to protective orders. A short-term (30 days) order can be requested without first notifying the abuser, giving immediate, if temporary, protection. The applicant for a protective order need only provide the court with the necessary basics to establish the necessity of a protective order. The complexity grows for a protective order that will last for a longer period. A protective order can be issued for up to one year provided that the adverse party is allowed to be present for a hearing.
  • Contact Child Protective Services.
The Nevada Division of Child and Family Services includes a special unit that responds to child abuse and neglect. Child Protective Services (CPS) invites the public to report child abuse. Based on the initial report a case worker will conduct a preliminary analysis to determine if the child’s safety is at risk and how the agency should respond. The agency also conducts investigations, including home visits and interviews to determine if the evidence substantiates the initial report. CPS has a range of options to protect the welfare of children, including removing the child from a home in some situations. Because CPS determinations can have serious consequences for children and families, their processes are subject to hearing and appeal requirements.
  • Contact the police.
In cases where abuse is severe and ongoing it can be necessary to call 911 to request police assistance. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has a specialized unit that investigates criminal child abuse.
  • Sue for damages.
An abused child often needs counseling to ensure that trauma doesn’t lead to long-term mental and physical health problems. Child abusers can be sued to recover compensation not just for the child’s medical bills, but in many cases also for pain, suffering, emotional distress, and other related damages. Whether a lawsuit is appropriate will depend on the circumstances.

Talk to an attorney about how to best respond to child abuse

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has provided caring, personalized service to clients in the Las Vegas area for over 45 years. We can help you craft a legal strategy to protect a child from abuse. For a free attorney consultation please contact us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.