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Funeral Home Negligence in Nevada

Funeral homes play an important role in helping families grieve for the loss of a loved one. The scope of their duties can extend well beyond just providing a space for holding memorial services, including services relating to the preparation and storage of remains, cremation, and advice regarding statutory requirements. A funeral home is subject to regulation by the Nevada Board of Funeral & Cemetery Services. In the midst of a challenging emotional time, a funeral home’s negligence can cause significant disruptions, both emotionally and financially, to a family.

Examples of funeral home negligence have been in the news lately. They cover a broad range of sometimes shocking behaviors by funeral homes that through inattention or outright fraud have created emotionally devastating circumstances for their clients. Examples have included homes that have mishandled the remains of deceased clients, such as not keeping them properly stored so that they begin to decompose. Other funeral homes have been caught storing bodies that they claimed were cremated. Still others have been discovered trying to cover up serious mistakes, like burying someone in the wrong plot.

A family that discovers wrongdoing like this can be left with deep feelings of anguish, in addition to potentially facing additional costs associated with correcting problems caused by the funeral home. In some circumstances a family that is dealing with such trauma can sue to recover compensation for the costs associated with a family’s suffering, therapy, and recovery.

Many funeral homes will ask their clients to sign contracts that contain some form of liability waiver for routine problems that can arise during the mortuary process. For example, contracts for a cremation may specify that a funeral home is not responsible for removing personal property like rings before cremation begins. It’s important for families to review these contracts with care and understand what their obligations are to avoid small but painful misunderstandings.

No contract can waive a funeral home’s liability for gross negligence or willful misconduct. In serious cases, such as the examples involving “lost” bodies, a family should not feel intimidated by a contract’s terms. Personal injury attorneys can review the facts of the case, including the terms of a contract, to help families understand their options.

The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez provide compassionate, caring service to each of our clients. We have represented clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury cases for over four decades. For a free attorney consultation about your case call us today at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

Negligent Dog Owners Create Risks of Injury

A dog attack can leave the victim with permanent injuries and facing a long, painful road to recovery. Bite victims often experience psychological as well as physical trauma. Bites can also become infected and leave lasting scars. Given all these risks, it’s important for dog owners to take precautions to prevent their dogs from injuring others.

A Nevada dog owner’s legal responsibilities

Most dog attacks are preventable. They happen when a responsible person fails to take necessary steps to keep the dog under control. A person with responsibility for a dog has a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent the dog from posing a threat of harm to other people and their property. Legal responsibility extends not only to the dog’s owner, but also to others who are entrusted with the dog’s care, such as a dog walker or sitter.

Most of the specific rules governing dog ownership are covered in local ordinances. Las Vegas requires dogs to be licensed, vaccinated against rabies, and kept on leashes except when contained on the owner’s property or at authorized leash-free locations, like dog parks. Failing to comply with leashing or vaccination requirements may be negligence per se, allowing someone who is injured as a consequence of such a violation to shift the burden of proving negligence from the plaintiff to the defendant dog owner.

A dog owner’s specific obligations to control the dog increase if the dog is known to have aggressive tendencies. Every dog is capable of biting, but not every dog responds to strangers with violence. Once a dog’s tendency to behave aggressively is known, the owner needs to take special steps to meet his or her obligation to take reasonable care. For example, if a homeowner keeps an aggressive dog in a yard all day, the homeowner must make sure that the dog can’t escape the yard.

Suing a dog’s owner for negligence

In the aftermath of being attacked by a dog the first priority should be to get medical care. But it’s important to take steps, if possible, to gather facts about the dog and its owner. The owner’s name and contact information should be obtained whenever possible. The victim and other witnesses to the attack should take notes about the circumstances that led to the attack: the time of day, whether the dog was leashed, the dog’s behavior prior to the attack, and so forth.

Many dog bite cases are clear-cut. A dog owner walking an aggressive dog off leash in a city park shouldn’t be surprised if the dog ends up hurting someone. But some cases require a closer look at the facts, including the dog’s history, the behavior of the victim and the dog’s caretaker at the time of the incident, and so forth.

A personal injury attorney with experience in dog bite litigation can help an injured person recover compensation. For over four decades the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented clients in dog bite cases. For a free attorney consultation about your case call us today at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

Liability for Lending Power Tools

Liability for Lending Power Tools

Lending power tools to neighbors and friends isn’t normally something that one would expect to create legal risk. In some situations, however, someone who has lent power tools can face a lawsuit from someone who is injured by the tool. In many situations such claims can be meritless, but the tool’s lender can end up spending money and time defending against a lawsuit that might have been avoided. There are a few things to consider before lending tools.

How do tools create liability risk?

No matter their safety features, power tools are inherently dangerous. They can cause very serious injuries, like amputations, or even death. There are two principal ways a tool can cause such injuries: through improper use (i.e., attempting to hand-hold a board while cutting it with a circular saw) or as a consequence of inadequate maintenance.

Liability for an injury caused by a power tool will always be a question of facts as well as law. The nature of the injury and the state of mind of the person who was using the tool at the time of the accident will be of central importance. Was the tool being used in an unreasonably dangerous way? Was the person using it under the influence of alcohol or drugs? If the person using it was a minor, was an adult providing adequate supervision?

Amidst these questions a tool’s lender may wonder why anyone would think the lender could be at fault. One answer is that lawyers for an injured person may think of a lawsuit against the lender as a way to force the lender (or the lender’s insurance provider) to settle rather than endure the expense of trial. In other words, the risk isn’t so much that an injured plaintiff can “win” but that the cost of fighting the suit is great enough to force the defendant to pay something.

Avoid practices that assume responsibility for a tool’s performance

The most common way a defendant can end up with liability for an injury is to behave like a business when lending out tools. Asking for a payment in exchange for lending is the clearest way to do this. A plaintiff could also argue that other forms of consideration were given to the lender, such as an in-kind exchange of tools. A plaintiff may even argue that a jar of homemade jam given as a “thank you” gift was in fact a form of payment. If lending, the best course is to not accept any form of payment.

A lender can create an impression of being in the tool-lending business in other ways. Taking out special insurance is an example. So is imposing nonfinancial requirements on the borrower, such as asking them to take out their own insurance.

If you’re going to lend tools, lend only well-maintained tools

A tool’s owner needs to make sure that the tool is free of dangerous defects before lending it out. Problems like a frayed power cord, loose blade guard, or improperly tightened mounting bolt could create heightened risk for anyone using the tool. Especially where the borrower doesn’t know about such dangers, the owner may be responsible if the fault causes injuries.

There are a few other steps that a lender can take:

  • Be sure to include the tool’s instruction manual with the tool.
  • Avoid lending worn out equipment, such as saw blades or drill bits.
  • Never lend “customized” tools, such as those with replacement parts or pieces missing.

When it comes to dangerous equipment, it’s important to bear in mind that a friendship is not necessarily a shield against litigation. The cost of recovery can force an injured person to look for sources of compensation wherever they can be found. If you have been injured by a borrowed tool and you would like to explore your legal options, the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez can help. For a free attorney consultation call today at 702-388-4476. We can also be reached through our contacts page.

Runners and Dog Bite Injuries in Nevada

Runners and Dog Bite Injuries in Nevada

Being attacked by a dog is a runner’s worst nightmare. A dog’s bite can cause painful, debilitating injuries. It can also cause psychological harm, leading to anxiety and stress that can be difficult to overcome. Runners who are bitten by dogs often have the option of suing the person who was responsible.

Potential defendants in a dog attack

Determining who is legally and financially responsible for a dog is an important early step in bite lawsuits. Depending on the circumstances, responsibility can sometimes be placed with more than one person. Here are some common examples:

  • The owner. A dog’s owner is responsible for taking reasonable steps to prevent his or her pet from hurting other people and property. Liability often follows the owner even if the owner was not directly in control of the animal when the bite occurred.
  • A dog walker. If someone other than the owner is walking the dog at the time of the attack, that person may be liable for the injury, because a person walking a dog is responsible for keeping the dog under control. Bear in mind that professional dog walking businesses may have insurance available to help pay for injuries to third parties.
  • A property owner or landlord. In some situations a landlord may assume responsibility for a dog on his or her property. For example, in Wright v. Schum, 105 Nev. 611 (1989), a landlord was held responsible for injuries caused by a dog that escaped from an improperly fenced yard. The landlord had assumed legal responsibility for the dog because it had notice of the dog’s aggressive behaviors and had asked the tenant to keep it chained.

The elements of a dog bite claim in Nevada

In Nevada a dog bite is treated like most other kinds of personal injury. In a typical case the injured plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent. To win a dog bite lawsuit, the plaintiff needs to prove four things:

  1. The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. Negligence claims need to rest upon a defendant’s legal obligation. In the case of dogs, this duty sometimes comes from local ordinances governing leash use. In Nevada dogs may be kept outside at a person’s home without being leashed provided they are kept within a fully enclosed space.
  2. The defendant breached its duty of care. This element simply requires the plaintiff to show that the defendant didn’t do what it was supposed to do. In the case of home-kept dogs, a homeowner who fails to maintain proper fencing might be breaching his or her duty of care. The same might hold true if someone lets an aggressively barking dog out a front door without being leashed.
  3. The defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injury. This element looks at two things. First, that the chain of events from the defendant’s breach of duty to the plaintiff’s injury shows causation. Second, that there weren’t intervening circumstances that might place responsibility elsewhere. For example, if the dog was properly leashed, but the leash harness was defective and broke, perhaps true responsibility lies with the harness manufacturer.
  4. The plaintiff suffered damages. The plaintiff must show that he or she has accumulated medical expenses and other compensable harm from the bite. Damages might include psychological counseling necessary to recover from the fear and anxiety that can follow a dog attack. This element serves to prevent litigation over minor incidents, like a dog rushing someone and barking, but not actually biting.

GGRM understands dog bite litigation

If you are a runner who has been injured by a dog the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez can help you understand your legal options. For over 45 years we have helped dog bite victims in the Las Vegas area recover the compensation they deserve. For a free attorney consultation call us today at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

How to Handle Negligence by an In-Home Caregiver

How to Handle Negligence by an In-Home Caregiver

In-home caregivers provide many kinds of services to the people they serve. Personal caregivers help the elderly and people with disabilities with nonmedical needs, like bathing, cooking, and household chores. When a caregiver causes an injury through negligent behavior, families may have questions about their legal options.

Nevada’s laws against abuse and neglect of the elderly and disabled

Under NRS 41.1395, a caregiver who abuses, neglects, or exploits an older (60 years of age or older) or disabled person and causes personal injury or other losses can be sued for double the actual damages suffered by the harmed person. The law provides for recovery of attorneys’ fees where the caregiver’s actions weren’t just negligent, but involved recklessness, oppression, fraud, or malice.

There are three distinct causes of action under NRS 41.1395. Abuse involves (1) a willful and unjustified infliction of pain, injury, or mental anguish, or (2) deprivation of food, shelter, clothing, or services that are necessary for the health of the individual. Exploitation involves taking advantage of an individual’s trust to take his or her money or other valuable assets.

The third cause of action is neglect. Neglect involves a failure to provide food, shelter, clothing, or services by someone who has agreed to provide such care either through contract or by voluntary assumption of those responsibilities.

The scope of “neglect”

An important point about neglect is that it can be applied to someone who doesn’t have a formal written agreement, but has “expressly acknowledged” that he or she has taken responsibility for providing care. Depending on the circumstances, this could extend to someone who verbally agrees to look after a vulnerable person and fails to provide responsible care.

Another point is that a caregiver’s responsibility to provide services is limited to those services “within the scope of the person’s responsibility or obligation.” One can expect this phrase to be a focus in cases involving a verbal agreement. For example, a family might informally hire through Craigslist a non-professional “companion” to spend an afternoon with an elderly client making conversation, preparing a light meal, and helping with minor housework. In such a role the caregiver can be expected to take reasonable steps to protect the client’s health, such as calling 911 in the event of an emergency. However, such a caregiver probably can’t be expected to provide medical services that would require licensure or specialized training, such as assistance with oxygen or medication.

Suing a caregiver for damages in cases of neglect

One reason to hire caregivers through licensed agencies rather than through informal networks is to have access to the agency’s insurance in the event that something goes wrong. Nevada law requires numerous steps for an agency to be licensed to provide personal caregivers in a home. Among these are requirements that an agency carry adequate insurance, provide sufficient training to their staff, and screen employees’ criminal histories and professional credentials. Once in operation, an agency must comply with numerous regulations.

GGRM helps Las Vegas families

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez prides itself on providing clients with personalized, compassionate service. If you or a loved one has suffered neglect at the hands of a caregiver and you would like help understanding your legal options, our attorneys are here to help. To speak to an attorney at no cost, please give us a call today at 702-388-4476. We can also be reached through our contacts page.

Restaurant Responsibilities for Food Allergies

People who suffer from food allergies face constant challenges when they go out to eat. Being exposed to an allergen can have serious or even fatal health consequences. For restaurants, one challenge of food allergies is their sheer variety. When someone is exposed to an allergen in restaurant food and suffers serious injury as a result, the question may become whether the restaurant bears legal responsibility.

Liability requires negligence

Responsibility for personal injury is usually a question of negligence. A negligence claim against a restaurant must show that the restaurant owed the patron a duty of reasonable care, breached that duty, and as a result of the breach the patron was injured.

In any negligence case, the duty of reasonable care needs to be based in law, created either by statute or by the courts. Nevada has a lengthy set of rules restaurants must follow for general sanitation and food preparation, chiefly to avoid the spread of food-borne illnesses. Nevada law also requires restaurants to train their employees in food safety, including general training in food allergies. NAC 446.053. Restaurants also must label prepackaged or repackaged food with lists of ingredients, including any source of major food allergies. For labeling purposes, “major food allergens” include milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts, wheat, and soybeans. NAC 446.187.

But in general, Nevada does not require restaurants to actively protect their customers from allergens. That makes sense. A restaurant can’t predict the allergies of every person who walked through the door. Instead, people who have food allergies must take steps to protect themselves, by asking questions and knowing the things they must avoid.

Where negligence might apply

A restaurant might bear liability for a customer’s allergy-related injuries if certain facts are present. Here are a few examples:

  • Failure to comply with training or labeling laws. If a restaurant doesn’t properly train its staff in the basics of food allergies, it may be committing negligence per se (that is, its negligence might be presumed from the fact that it was not complying with a regulatory requirement). But the failure to comply with regulations would need to be causally connected to the patron’s injury.
  • Providing bad information. A restaurant could be liable if it doesn’t provide accurate information once asked. For example, if a patron asks if a dish contains peanuts and the staff incorrectly responds that it does not, the restaurant may be liable if the patron suffers serious injury. Ultimately, this is why Nevada requires its restaurants to train its personnel: to avoid harmful mistakes.
  • Failure to respond to an emergency. When a restaurant patron suffers a medical emergency, the restaurant becomes responsible for taking reasonable steps to help. That might include promptly calling 911 and taking other steps that an ordinary person might take. This doesn’t mean that the restaurant needs to take every possible step. For example, a restaurant that doesn’t keep an EpiPen auto-injector on hand to respond to serious allergic reactions isn’t necessarily behaving unreasonably.

We are happy to answer your questions

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area seek compensation for their injuries. If you have questions about your legal options following a serious allergic reaction to food and would like to speak to a lawyer, call us today for a free consultation at 702-388-4476, or reach us through our contact page.

Can A Restaurant Be Sued For Foodborne Illness?

Getting sick from eating restaurant food is never nice. In some situations a foodborne illness can be grave enough to involve high costs that might justify a lawsuit. The FDA estimates that foodborne illnesses in the United States result in about 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year. When an illness leads to significant costs or even death, a lawsuit may be a necessary step to recover compensation.

Tracing the origin of foodborne illness

Determining the source of contamination is a central challenge in cases involving foodborne illness. Bacteria and viruses can be introduced into food at any point in its product lifecycle. Here are some examples:

  • Contaminated soil might stay on plants from farm to plate.
  • Improperly cleaned equipment could spread bacteria at a meat processing plant.
  • A sick restaurant worker could forget to wash his or her hands and spread illness.

For the injured plaintiff, the problem will be proving that the restaurant was the source of the disease. To cast doubt on the restaurant’s liability, the restaurant’s attorneys will undoubtedly scrutinize all the other potential ways the plaintiff may have been exposed to the cause of the disease. Evidence in these cases can be ephemeral, as the plaintiff’s leftovers are tossed into the garbage or composted.

Potential legal theories

Products liability is the most likely legal theory to arise in a foodborne illness case. In Nevada, responsibility for unsafe consumer products rests with every step in the product’s life cycle, from its original manufacturing to its storage and eventual sale. NRS 695E.090. In the case of food, this might include the farm where the food was raised, a processing facility, a warehousing company, a distributor, or the restaurant that prepared and served the food to the plaintiff.

A products liability lawsuit often argues that the defendant was negligent by not exercising reasonable care to prevent the plaintiff’s illness. Examples of negligence might include not properly washing food, not cooking it thoroughly, or not inspecting food for problems. A restaurant that fails to require its employees to wash their hands and take other precautions might also be committing negligence.

Strict products liability is an alternative to negligence. To prevail in a strict liability case, a plaintiff must establish, among other things, that the problem with the food was present at the time it left the defendant’s possession. Strict liability can be difficult to prove unless facts align in the plaintiff’s favor—perhaps other patrons also fell ill and can be identified, or the restaurant failed to comply with a manufacturer’s recall.

In the most tragic cases, a plaintiff may also consider pursuing a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death is also based on negligence. It allows specific types of plaintiffs to seek specific types of damages on behalf of someone who has died as a consequence of the defendant’s negligence.

GGRM can help

For over 40 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients who have been injured recover the compensation they deserve. If you have been seriously harmed by foodborne illness and need help understanding your legal options, our attorneys are here to help. For a free attorney consultation call us today at 702-388-4476, or send us a request through our site.

Can Venues Be Sued For Spreading Communicable Diseases?

Every now and then we hear about a business like a hotel or cruise ship getting quarantined for the presence of a serious pathogen. Some infectious diseases, like hepatitis A or Legionnaires’ disease, can linger in an environment that’s not kept clean and dry. The consequences for someone who contracts such a disease can be devastating, even fatal. When a patron of a business comes down with a serious illness that can be traced to the business itself, a lawsuit may follow.

Premises liability and communicable disease

Like other types of personal injury lawsuits, a civil case for damages arising from a disease will be based on the theory of negligence. To prevail in a negligence suit, the injured plaintiff must show:

  • The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care.
  • The defendant breached that duty of care.
  • The defendant’s breach was the legal cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • The plaintiff’s injuries resulted in damages, like medical bills and lost earnings.

In Nevada the owner or operator of a property has a legal duty to take reasonable care to ensure that visitors on the property are not injured by dangerous conditions on the premises. Foster v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 128 Nev. 773, 777 (2012). A business that invites the public onto its property is expected to take extra steps to ensure that its facilities are safe for use. Doud v. Las Vegas Hilton Corp., 109 Nev. 1096 (1993). A business is expected to correct problems that it knows about, or should know about. A business is also responsible for problems created by the actions, or inactions, of its employees. Sprague v. Lucky Stores, 109 Nev. 247, 250 (1993).

The foreseeability of disease

One challenge in a case involving disease is that the source of the disease probably was invisible. This differentiates disease from ordinary premises liability cases arising from things like improperly maintained stairways. Unlike a pool of spilled olive oil on a supermarket floor, bacteria on the rim of a spa or a virus lurking in water pipes isn’t easy to spot. This can make the element of actual or constructive notice more difficult to prove in the case of disease.

Instead, a plaintiff likely will argue that the presence of disease was a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s negligence. Hammerstein v. Jean Dev. West, 111 Nev. 1471, 1477 (1995). In other words, a venue that fails to take reasonable steps to clean areas where bacteria can foreseeably thrive arguably has acted negligently. A gym needs to routinely disinfect its shower areas. A hotel needs to keep its pool and spa areas properly treated.

GGRM understands premises liability

For over 45 years, the experienced personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have given personalized, caring advice to clients in the Las Vegas area. If you are recovering from a disease that you think was caused by a venue’s negligence, an attorney can help you review your options. For a free attorney consultation call us today at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you by leaving a note on our contact page.

Las Vegas Landlord Obligations to Fix Unsafe Conditions

Las Vegas Apartment Landlord Obligations to Fix Unsafe Conditions

When a dangerous condition on a landlord’s property injures someone, questions invariably arise about the landlord’s obligations to keep the premises safe. Like other personal injury cases, a plaintiff suing a landlord will need to show that the landowner acted negligently, by failing to fulfill its duty of care toward the injured person. But where does a landlord’s obligation apply, and what are its limits?

A landlord’s duty of care

Nevada law requires landlords to exercise reasonable care not to subject others to an unreasonable risk of harm. Wright v. Schum, 105 Nev. 611, 614 (1989). Whether a landlord’s actions are reasonable depends on the circumstances. The likelihood of an injury and its probable seriousness are important factors in this analysis. Turpel v. Sayles, 101 Nev. 35, 38 (1985), quoting Sargent v. Ross, 308 A.2d 528, 534 (N.H. 1973). Under this rule, a landowner has an obligation to address dangerous conditions that it knows about. And it has an obligation not to create unsafe conditions, like locking a door that could foreseeably be used as a fire escape route.

Where tenant responsibility takes hold

A distinction should be drawn between areas of a property that are under the landowner’s exclusive control and those under tenant control. A landlord has exclusive responsibility for conditions that are present in a property’s common areas. This is true even if a tenant or visitor initially creates the condition—even if the landlord has a legal claim against the person who created the risk, the responsibility still rests with the landlord to fix it.

Under the modern rule, a tenant’s possession of the premises is one of the circumstantial facts used to determine the reasonableness of a landlord’s behavior. Turpel, 101 Nev. at 38. A landlord that has no notice of a dangerous condition within a tenant’s apartment probably isn’t acting unreasonably if it doesn’t fix the problem, at least so long as the condition was a consequence of the tenant’s negligence.

A landlord can assume responsibility for a dangerous condition like a vicious dog by asserting control over it, however badly. The Nevada Supreme Court dealt with this question in Wright. In that case, a tenant’s escaped pit bull injured the plaintiff, who sued both the tenant and his landlord. In Wright the dog escaped the property thanks to defective fencing on the property’s perimeter. The Court found that the landlord could be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries because the landlord had notice of the dog’s aggressiveness and had taken steps to address the problem by asking the tenant to keep the dog chained. Wright, 105 Nev. at 614-15.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

If you have been injured by a dangerous condition that was potentially due to a landlord’s negligence, it’s important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at GGRM are broadly experienced in handling complex personal injury cases. For a free attorney consultation, please give us a call today at 702-388-4476. We can also be reached through our contacts page.

Nevada Homeowner Liability for Guest Injuries

Nevada homeowners have an obligation to keep their homes reasonably safe for guests. When a guest is seriously injured, the homeowner’s liability will usually come down to whether the homeowner took reasonable steps to prevent the injury. Although this standard sounds straightforward, in practice it can raise challenging legal questions, especially in the case of serious injury.

A homeowner’s duty of care toward guests

Homeowner premises liability is a question of negligence. This is true whether the injury is being evaluated for coverage under the homeowner’s insurance policy or litigated before a jury. The first step in a negligence analysis is to determine if the homeowner owed the injured guest a duty of care, and what that duty was.

In Nevada, a homeowner owes guests a general duty of reasonable care. Whether a homeowner acted reasonably to protect a guest from harm depends on the circumstances. Cf. Moody v. Manny’s Auto Repair, 110 Nev. 320, 333 (1994). A homeowner who knows about a dangerous condition owes guests a special duty to warn them of the danger. This is especially true of hidden dangers, like a loose stair that can easily slip. Cf. Galloway v. McDonalds Restaurants, 102 Nev. 534, 537 (1986).

Breaching the homeowner’s duty of care

A homeowner may be liable for negligence if he or she has breached the duty of care. Generally speaking, leaving a dangerous condition unresolved can constitute a breach. The central question is whether the homeowner behaved reasonably. If the homeowner spilled water on a floor, creating a slippery condition, the homeowner has an obligation to make the condition safe.

But circumstances matter. It might be reasonable for a homeowner to leave a puddle of water if her baby is crying in the next room and no one is expected to cross the wet floor for the few minutes it takes to comfort the child. On the other hand, a homeowner who doesn’t take steps to address a patch of ice on his front porch, like salting it or putting down an anti-slip mat, might not be acting reasonably if there’s good reason to think that a guest might step on the ice.

The breached duty of care must be the legal cause of the injury

For liability to stick, it isn’t enough that a homeowner hasn’t addressed a dangerous condition. The guest must show that the injury would not have occurred but for the homeowner’s negligence. This is a legal question that is often the focus of an attorney’s analysis of the facts.

A negligent homeowner is responsible for the foreseeable injuries created by his or her negligence, provided there aren’t intervening causes. Cf. Taylor v. Silva, 96 Nev. 738, 741 (1980). To go back to our earlier example, a slip is a foreseeable result of a wet floor. But if the guest who slipped on the floor was drunk, the homeowner’s attorney might argue that the drunkenness was the real cause of the injury.

Always talk to an attorney after a serious injury

People who are injured while visiting friends or family are sometimes reluctant to explore their legal options for fear of offending the homeowner. But in cases of serious injury, leaving legal questions unaddressed can be a serious mistake. This is especially true when an insurer is involved.

For over 45 years, the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped personal injury clients in Las Vegas get compensation. We know how to handle insurance adjusters and can work with you to get the coverage you need. For a no-cost attorney consultation call us today at 702-388-4476, or ask us to reach out to you through our contact page.