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Hit by Debris from a Truck in Nevada

Trucks carrying gravel, construction debris, and other loose material are supposed to have covers that keep their cargoes safely under control. But accidents still happen, and some operators are more careful than others when they load their vehicles. Many of us have had our windshields cracked by a loose rock falling out of a truck. But sometimes falling debris can cause much more significant problems, including accidents that result in personal injuries. In such cases, an injured person may have a legal claim against the operator of the truck.

The rules governing cargo securement

A general principle that applies to all drivers on the road is that a driver has a legal obligation to operate his or her vehicle in a reasonably safe manner. Anyone who puts cargo on a vehicle must take reasonable steps to ensure that the cargo is safely secured against falling into the roadway or otherwise creating unsafe conditions. This is true for all drivers. For example, it applies to someone who loads a mattress onto the top of a car to bring home. Commercial cargo carriers are subject to a broad range of rules with a variety of sources. Federal law regulates many kinds of commercial vehicles that fall within the scope of interstate commerce—a broad concept that captures many types of businesses, such as those using interstate highways. Federal cargo securement rules impose specific requirements for certain types of cargo. Nevada state law may have rules that go further than the federal standards for a given type of cargo.

Suing a trucking company

Almost by definition, debris falling off a truck is a sign that the person who loaded the truck, the driver, or the business that owns the truck has failed to comply with cargo securement rules. Ideally the driver of the truck sees the accident and pulls over to render assistance and provide insurance information. Sometimes a driver may not see that debris has fallen from the back of the truck and might need to be tracked down by other means. Commercial trucking firms are required to carry significantly more insurance than ordinary drivers. Someone who has been injured in a cargo-related accident should be able to rely upon the trucking company’s insurance coverage to provide at least partial compensation for injuries. But there are cases where the insurance company refuses to provide full coverage, or where the company’s insurance limits aren’t sufficient to cover the full cost of an injury. A lawsuit may be necessary. In cases where a trucking company or its agents have failed to comply with applicable cargo securement rules, the fact of noncompliance can be an important component in litigation. As a rule, when a civil defendant was violating a law or regulation at the time of an accident, and that violation was a cause of the accident itself, the plaintiff can use the violation to establish that the defendant has committed negligence per se. This standard shifts the burden of proof to the defendant, who now must show that its negligent behavior was not the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. In cases involving loose cargo, such a case may be difficult for the defense to prove. Instead, it likely will be forced to settle on favorable terms.

The GGRM Law Firm represents auto accident victims

The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented clients in the Las Vegas area in auto accident cases for over four decades. If you have been injured as a result of debris falling from a truck, contact us today for a free attorney consultation about your case. Call us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

Employer Obligations to Secure Employee Privacy Against Cyber Attacks

Employer Obligations to Secure Employee Privacy Against Cyber Attacks
Major data theft has become a fact of life in the digital age. When an employer suffers a security breach and loses sensitive information about its employees, employees can face long-term problems with identity theft and violated privacy. But does a Nevada employer face legal liability to its affected employees when such a breach occurs? The law is unclear.

Distinguishing between deliberate disclosures and unlawful data breaches

Employers are required to maintain the confidentiality of a wide range of employee information. For example, under federal and state law, health records must be scrupulously kept apart from other information, with access limited only to appropriate individuals. Employees are entitled to an expectation of privacy regarding other records as well. An employer shouldn’t leave documents with wage information lying around for anyone to look at. These kinds of restrictions generally prohibit deliberate disclosures of information. In the context of a data breach, in which an outside actor unlawfully breaks into a company’s computer system and steals information, the employer has not deliberately disclosed anything. An employee whose information is stolen must rely on a different theory to recover compensation. One possibility is negligence.

An employer’s duty to protect employee information from theft

Cases addressing this question have thus far shown that proving negligence can be a challenge for employees affected by data breaches. Among other things, proving negligence requires a plaintiff to show that a defendant breached a legal duty of care, and as a consequence caused the plaintiff to suffer a compensable loss. In Castillo v. Seagate Tech., LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187428 (N.D. Cal. 2016), employees sued an employer for negligence after the employer disclosed W-2 information to a third party that requested it using a malicious phishing scheme. The hackers used employee data to file fraudulent tax returns. Significantly, the court held that the employer owed its employees, together with their spouses and dependents, a legal duty to protect their personal information against foreseeable attempts to steal it. But the court went on to find that many of the employees in the case hadn’t shown that they’d suffered compensable damages as a consequence of the employer’s breach of duty. In short, even though the company owed its employees a duty to prevent theft of their personal information, the employees couldn’t sue for negligence without showing that the theft resulted in real costs. It’s not clear whether a Nevada court would follow the logic of Castillo to impose a similar legal duty upon employers to protect employee records. Courts elsewhere have not imposed such an obligation under similar circumstances. For example, in Dittman v. UPMC, 154 A.3d 318 (Sup. Ct. Pa. 2017), a Pennsylvania court held that an employer had no legal duty to protect electronic records against an attack unless the likelihood of such an attack was well understood, for example because the employer had suffered a similar attack in the past.

Talk to an attorney if your information has been stolen

Talking to an attorney is an important step for employees who have had their personal information stolen from an employer’s systems. The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez provide personalized, caring guidance to clients in the Las Vegas area. We are happy to explain your legal options for seeking compensation after an employer data breach. For a no-cost attorney consultation, call us today at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contact page.