Everyone who has driven in heavy rain probably has noticed a perplexing tendency of some drivers to simply ignore the weather. Racing along at “dry weather” speeds during rain ignores the loss of traction and reduced visibility that comes with rain. When an accident occurs during bad weather, people who are injured in the crash may wonder how the weather’s role in the accident might factor into the at-fault driver’s liability. The answer to that question will depend on a number of considerations. As a general principle, Nevada drivers owe certain legal duties. The first of these is to obey traffic laws. The second is more abstract: a driver is obligated to drive in a safe manner, with the goal of avoiding accidents and injuries. In truth, even traffic laws are subject to a certain amount of interpretation once rain starts falling. Nevada law requires drivers to use their windshield wipers when driving in rain or snow. But it doesn’t necessarily require drivers to slow to a crawl. Speed limits generally are set according to what is deemed a safe maximum speed on a roadway in dry, daylight conditions. When roadway conditions change, the posted speed limit may no longer be appropriate. If the at-fault driver was breaking the speed limit at the time of the accident that does provide the plaintiff with a strong case for negligence, but it can be a closer call if the defendant was driving at or below the posted limit but was still moving too fast under the conditions. A driver’s general duty to operate a vehicle in a safe manner leads to more close questions that must be answered in light of the facts of the accident and the events leading up to it. The Nevada Department of Transportation’s rainy day driving safety tips provide a potential reference for evaluating whether someone was operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner. For example, someone who doesn’t adjust following distance to allow for longer stopping times might be driving in a negligent manner. Of course, the DOT’s list is not legally binding. Every accident needs to be evaluated according to its own merits. Far from excusing irresponsible driving, bad weather imposes additional obligations on drivers. The facts of the weather at the time of the accident will be important components of an injured person’s claims against the at-fault driver and his or her insurance. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in personal injury and auto accident cases. Contact us today for a free attorney consultation about your accident. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or through our site.
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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 securementA 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 companyAlmost 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 victimsThe 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.
Lies and deception are a reckless approach to getting out of liability for an accident, but that doesn’t stop some defendants from telling falsehoods. This can be especially problematic when the plaintiff and defendant are the only witnesses to the accident: there are no passengers, other drivers, or other bystanders who can shed light on the events leading up to the crash. When a defendant lies, the injured plaintiff can explore several options to establish the truth. The first is to obtain third party data. Auto accidents tend to generate a ton of information. Most contemporary cars have “brains” that can be accessed to gather data about virtually every system in the car. In an accident involving serious injury, police investigators may generate reports. In some cases it can make sense to investigate the defendant’s activities in the time leading up to the crash. Such information could come from deposing the defendant, or might be obtained from things like the defendant’s cell phone data. Another important approach is to examine the defendant’s own words. Lying consistently is very difficult to do. Many people who lie leave a trail of contradictory statements that can be used to refute their falsehoods. This is especially true of a defendant who has discussed the accident on social media or in other electronic forms, like email, which can be entered into evidence. The defendant may have made contradictory statements to others that could be brought in as evidence as well. A defendant who is “caught” in a lie in the course of litigation can face a number of consequences. If the defendant was testifying under oath, whether in a courtroom setting or in a deposition, the lie may be grounds for a criminal charge of perjury, a felony under Nevada law with penalties including up to four years in prison and a fine. In some cases the defendant’s attorneys may also be taken to task by the court for not taking steps to address their client’s deception. A good civil defense attorney wouldn’t allow his or her client to lie in court not just because of the serious criminal penalties that could result, but because it risks undermining the defendant’s case. For the personal injury plaintiff, proving that the defendant lied also calls into question the defendant’s other statements to the court. It puts the plaintiff in a significantly stronger position, because the credibility of the defendant as a witness has been seriously damaged. The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury cases for over four decades. We work closely with each client to find the best path to a successful outcome. For a free attorney consultation about your case call us today at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.
Being in a serious car accident can have long-term consequences, especially for someone who has been injured and faces a long road to recovery. Amidst the fear and pain that comes in the immediate aftermath of a major crash, it’s important for people who have been injured to avoid making certain mistakes that could hurt their chances of recovering full compensation for their injuries from the at-fault driver or that driver’s insurance carrier. Naturally it’s essential to prioritize getting medical attention for those who need it after an accident. Once that step is resolved, there are some important things to avoid doing:
- Not gathering a complete record of information about the accident. It’s always important to exchange information with other people who were involved in the crash. Nevada law requires drivers who are involved in a crash to exchange basic contact information, as well as license and insurance details. Beyond that, it’s a good idea to note down the time and location of the accident and as many details about what happened as possible. If possible, taking pictures is always helpful. So is getting contact details from witnesses, such as passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers who stopped to help.
- Making statements that could imply fault. Although for many it’s instinctive to apologize after being an accident, an apology can become a tool of the other side in litigation as they seek to prove that their client wasn’t entirely at fault. One needn’t fear expressing concern for another person, of course, but it’s wise to avoid discussing the circumstances of the crash with the other driver. The inverse is also true: if the other driver begins to apologize profusely and offers a narrative about the accident that clearly shows fault, be sure to write down what was said.
- Posting on social media about the accident. For many, posting photos and stories about an accident can feel like a perfectly natural thing to do. But it can have repercussions in any ensuing legal case, where the specific words and photos posted to a social media platform can be used to contradict testimony or establish adverse facts. Social media posts can be used by a defendant to call into question the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries, establish that the plaintiff bears at least some fault for the accident, or other important details.
Getting rear-ended by another driver can cause major, life-altering injuries. Sometimes the nature of these injuries isn’t obvious until days or even weeks after the accident, when symptoms suddenly arise. Common injuries from rear-ending accidents include head trauma (concussions, skull fractures), neck and spine injuries (whiplash, herniated discs), and soft-tissue damage (injuries to nerves, muscular problems). Ideally the insurance of the at-fault driver will automatically cover the costs associated with such injuries, but in reality the injured person often needs to file a lawsuit to recover full compensation.
Insurance versus lawsuitsThe reason a lawsuit may be necessary in a rear-ending case has to do how insurance works. In Nevada the minimum liability insurance that all nonprofessional drivers are required to carry is $25,000 per injured person per accident. Needless to say, $25,000 is unlikely to cover all the costs associated with a serious injury. For a person dealing with major medical bills, an inability to work, or other significant financial consequences, suing the at-fault driver may be necessary to get more. Drivers who are involved in rear-ending accidents should take care to not fall into the trap of a quick settlement offer by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Settlement offers are usually made to limit an insurer’s exposure to risk. They rarely take into account the full scope of the consequences being suffered by the injured person. The injured person may feel that accepting the quick cash is necessary to cover immediate financial needs, but by taking it they may be leaving significant value on the table.
Documenting damages from rear-ending accidentsAs with any car accident, someone who has been rear-ended should try to keep good records about details of the accident and its aftermath. Take pictures of the accident scene, write down notes about what happened, and look for potential witnesses who may be of help developing a legal case should it be necessary. Even if no injuries are apparent immediately after the accident, it is important to be examined by a doctor to verify that there are no hidden injuries, such as neck and spine displacement, that could become a problem later. Seeking medical attention quickly also can be important for establishing the causal relationship between soft-tissue injuries and the accident. A defendant in rear-end cases may try to raise doubts about the link between the accident and an injury that was not immediately apparent at the time of the accident. A medical exam results in concrete records that can be important in any personal injury lawsuit.
GGRM is a Las Vegas auto accident law firmFor more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has served clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury and auto accident cases. If you have been injured in a rear-ending accident in Nevada, contact us today for a free attorney consultation. Call 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.
Bodily injuries resulting from an accident are rightfully given a lot of attention in the accident’s aftermath. Spinal injuries, broken limbs, and disfigurement are undeniably serious and highly visible. But the psychological consequences of an accident can be quite serious, too, and they may not be obvious to anyone outside of the small circle of the accident victim’s close friends and family. In any lawsuit following an accident involving serious personal injury, psychological harm needs to be factored into the compensation sought by the plaintiff.
The practical challenges of psychological injurySomeone who has suffered a mental health setback can require specialized care, potentially including medication, potentially for a long time. This kind of treatment can be very expensive but may be required to sustain the person’s long-term physical health. Getting compensated for these costs is important. There are several reasons why a psychological injury may pose challenges for an injured plaintiff in a personal injury case. The first is diagnosis. Psychological injuries can be difficult to identify, let alone treat. In the immediate aftermath of an accident the victim’s physical injuries likely will give rise to significant costs and hardship. The victim may not even be aware of the psychological damage that he or she has suffered until sometime later. Another potential problem for plaintiffs is proof. A plaintiff must be able to prove damages with reasonable certainty in order to recover compensation for them. Psychological injuries can give rise to a “battle of the experts” in the courtroom, as the defense tries to discredit or undermine the plaintiff’s claims related to these “unobservable” injuries.
Psychological harm and insuranceIn accidents covered by insurance, like car crashes, a key question is whether the at-fault person’s insurance policy will cover treatment for mental health consequences of the accident. Many general liability policies are drafted to cover “bodily injury,” which they very specifically define to exclude psychological injury such as mental anguish, suffering, or specific conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. Although an insurance company has a legal obligation to provide coverage for injuries that fall within the scope of its policies, it will closely scrutinize claims and deny anything that falls outside the policy. This limitation has important consequences for people who hope to recover full compensation for their injuries from the at-fault party’s insurance policy. The injured plaintiff may need to pursue compensation from other sources, such as the personal assets of the at-fault individual. For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in personal injury cases. We can help you examine your legal options to recover compensation for psychological injuries. For a free attorney consultation, call us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.
Determining fault is a key component of deciding who pays for injuries and property damage that result in a car crash. Deciding who is at fault requires an analysis of the facts surrounding the accident: who was involved, what were they doing at the time of the accident, where did the accident occur, and so forth. As in many states, Nevada applies rules of negligence to determine who is at fault in an accident.
Accidents typically happen due to negligenceLike many personal injury cases, a car accident often happens because at least one driver was acting negligently. In Nevada every driver has a duty to operate his or her vehicle in a careful manner. This duty is owed to other drivers and their passengers, as well as pedestrians, cyclists, and anyone else who happens to be on or near the roadway. For negligence to apply, the duty to drive with care must have been breached, and as a consequence of the breach the plaintiff suffered an injury. In some accidents, determining fault is a fairly straightforward matter. If a driver who was involved in the accident was breaking a law or regulation at the time of the accident, that driver may be said to have been committing negligence per se. This moves the burden of proof from the plaintiff to the defense and makes a successful outcome for the plaintiff significantly more likely. Examples of this sort of behavior might include driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, running a red light, or speeding.
Is it true that everyone involved in a crash is at least partially to blame?A truism says that in an accident there’s always an element of blame shared between everyone involved. The assumption is that even an injured bystander might have done things differently to prevent the accident or at least reduce the harm done. For legal purposes, the reality is that some accidents are entirely the fault of one driver. But there are cases were blame can be spread around, least to a degree. Nevada is a modified comparative negligence state. This standard says that a court can reduce a plaintiff’s recovery from the defendant by the extent to which the plaintiff’s negligent actions contributed to causing the accident or the resulting damages. If the plaintiff is found to be 50% or more at fault, the defendant can walk away without owing anything. As an example, if both the defendant and the plaintiff were speeding at the time of the accident, a jury may conclude that the plaintiff’s breaking the speed limit contributed 5% to the cause of the crash. In any auto accident case involving serious personal injury, it’s important to consult with an attorney even if an insurance company appears to be handling the case the right way. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in personal injury and auto 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.
Being in an auto accident often triggers a complicated chain of consequences. The insurance companies for the drivers involved in the accident typically will have a certain idea of what they are willing to cover and what they will contest. The drivers themselves may disagree about important facts. If someone has suffered a serious injury, medical recovery and the injury’s short- and long-term impacts on the person’s life may take center stage. In the midst of this complexity, it can be helpful for a person to understand what sort of compensation can be obtained by filing a lawsuit.
Insurance versus litigationIt’s important to note that not every auto accident leads to a lawsuit. One of the important rationales for requiring every driver in Nevada to have insurance is to provide a straightforward way to resolve questions of fault and financial liability after an accident. For relatively simple cases, where the only significant damage in a crash is to personal property (i.e., the cars involved), it may make sense to simply let the insurance claims process run its normal course. Insurance companies prefer to resolve cases without litigation. For the insurer, this approach is cheaper and allows them to stay in control. A quick settlement offer is one way an insurer will try to manage its risk related to an accident. But in cases involving personal injury, the potential plaintiff needs to be careful about accepting a “deal” that is heavily lopsided in favor of the insurer. Litigation can rebalance the distribution of power between the injured individual and the insurance companies involved in the case. Especially if the insurer for the at-fault driver is trying to escape liability for certain claims, filing a lawsuit can force it to negotiate in a fairer way. A lawsuit may also be required if there are complicated facts about the case that need to be hashed out through the litigation process. For example, if there is a serious dispute about whether the injured plaintiff bears some responsibility for the crash, it may be necessary to conduct discovery in a litigation setting.
Compensation available to car crash victimsThe goal of filing a personal injury lawsuit following an accident is to recover financial compensation for the damages done by the at-fault driver. Damages fall into three categories:
- Economic damages are consequences with clearly defined financial parameters. They include the cost of property damage, including damage to a car and other personal property. They also include medical bills incurred by the plaintiff, both in the past and projected into the future, as well as lost wages and other career impacts.
- Noneconomic damages capture abstract consequences that get reduced to a dollar value through negotiation or jury deliberation. The value of an injured person’s pain, loss of enjoyment, and disfigurement are examples of common noneconomic damages.
GGRM is a Las Vegas auto accident law firmThe attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented Nevada clients in personal injury and auto accident cases for over 45 years. We can help you examine your case and devise a strategy for recovering full compensation for your injuries. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call us at 702-388-4476 or through our website.
Nevada law imposes a number of requirements on drivers who have been in an accident. Everyone who drives in the state should understand these obligations so they can be prepared to comply with them in the event of an accident. Failing to follow the law can result in significant penalties, including a suspended license. For someone who has been injured in an accident, if the at-fault party fails to comply with the rules it can strengthen the case when filing a lawsuit to recover compensation. Anyone involved in an accident in Nevada needs to follow these rules:
- Do not leave the scene. Failing to do so may constitute a hit-and-run violation.
- The drivers involved in an accident must exchange certain personal information: name, address, driver’s license number, license plate numbers, and auto insurance carrier information.
- If anyone was injured in the accident, call 911 and take reasonable steps to stabilize the injury before emergency responders arrive.
Off-road driving is a popular pastime in Nevada. But as anyone who has spent significant time driving the state’s back roads knows, there are risks associated with leaving the pavement. Understanding how those risks can lead to legal liability is important for anyone who plans to pursue off-roading as a hobby. Off-roading exposes vehicles to mechanical failures that aren’t likely to happen on ordinary roads. Here are some ideas that are worth thinking about:
- Make sure your insurance covers the risks of off-roading. A typical auto insurance policy may not cover off-roading. Many drivers may be focused on mechanical faults that could happen, but they should also think about the sort of expenses that might be associated with a significant injury while in the back country. For example, does an insurance policy cover a helicopter airlift in the event of an injury in an area that is inaccessible to a conventional ambulance? If not, does the driver have a plan to cover such costs?
- Take steps to prevent injury. Drivers need to make sure that they and their passengers are safe. Depending on the kinds of activities that will be pursued while off road, wearing helmets and installing specialized safety equipment, such as roll bars and harnesses, may be necessary.
- Comply with the rules of the “road.” Even though a vehicle may be able to virtually anywhere, it’s important to only drive on land that is approved for off-roading use. Trespassing is only one of the ways a driver can end up in trouble. Driving on land that is subject to environmental protections, for example, could expose the driver to substantial fines and even criminal prosecution. Should an accident occur while driving in an unauthorized location, the fact that the driver was driving unlawfully may limit an insurer’s obligation to honor coverage and may be used by the property’s owner to seek compensation.
- Mechanical failures could give rise to products liability lawsuits. A vehicle designed for off-road use, like an ATV, or equipped with off-roading gear, like a customized pickup, typically has features that are designed to withstand the rigors of the sport. When an accident is caused by failure of a piece of equipment that can be traced to a defect in its manufacture or design, the option may exist to file a lawsuit against the equipment’s manufacturer and marketer.
- Assumption of risk can limit recovery options. For someone injured in an off-roading accident the ability to recover compensation will often require overcoming the defense of assumption of risk. Assumption of risk can apply in cases where the plaintiff knowingly took part in a dangerous activity and got hurt in a foreseeable way.