Tag Archives: Nevada auto accident

Latest Posts

Archives

Categories

Tags Cloud

Suing for Injuries from Rear-Ending Accidents

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 lawsuits

The 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 accidents

As 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 firm

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 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.

Can an Accident Witness Sue for Psychological Trauma?

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 injury

Someone 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 insurance

In 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.

How Fault is Determined in Nevada Auto Accidents

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 negligence

Like 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.

What Compensation is Available to a Car Accident Victim in Nevada?

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 litigation

It’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 victims

The 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.

Insurance policies are designed with economic damages in mind, in large part because they are fairly predictable, making them relatively simple to build into the cost of a policy. Noneconomic damages are different. They often need to be considered in light of a broad range of facts. An insurance policy may simply not cover such damages at all, leaving the at-fault driver personally liable for such damages. A plaintiff who wishes to pursue such damages needs to do so through litigation.

GGRM is a Las Vegas auto accident law firm

The 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.

A Driver’s Obligations to Report Car Accidents in Nevada

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.

Nevada drivers may also have an obligation to file a separate accident report with the Nevada DMV. Such an obligation arises after accidents that are not investigated by police and that either caused property damage exceeding $750, or that resulted in a personal injury or death. In practical terms, an accident involving serious injury or death will almost certainly be investigated by police, who will arrive on the scene not long after a call is made to request emergency medical care. But one can imagine cases where an accident could take place that doesn’t require a 911 call, but does lead to injuries that require care or damage to a vehicle in excess of the $750 threshold.

Accidents are reported to the DMV on Form SR-1. The form must be submitted within 10 days of the accident. It requires disclosure of the time and location of the accident, the names of the people involved (including pedestrians and cyclists), and a detailed description of the damage caused by the accident. It also needs to be accompanied by a physician’s report about any personal injuries that were suffered in the accident. Failing to file a required report can result in a one-year license suspension, and knowingly providing incorrect information is a crime.

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in auto accident cases. We are happy to provide you with a free attorney consultation about your case. Call us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Off-roading Accidents and the Law

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.

Someone who has been injured by another person’s negligence while off-roading should consult with a personal injury attorney to ensure that their rights are protected. For over four decades the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have helped clients pursue compensation for injuries suffered in auto accidents. For a free attorney consultation about your case call us today at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

Is Eating While Driving Negligence?

Anyone who spends a lot of time driving, or who has to squeeze meals into a commute as part of a busy schedule, often ends up eating while driving. Like so many bad driving habits, the risks associated with eating can be easy to dismiss for someone who hasn’t experienced the consequences of those risks. At the same time, eating and driving isn’t necessarily unlawful, but it can lead to negligent behavior in some cases.

Eating can be a big distraction

Eating while driving is on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) list of dangerous driver distractions. The NHTSA offers three types of distraction that drivers can experience:

  • Visual distractions draw the driver’s eyes away from the road.
  • Manual distractions require the driver to do something with his or her hands other than controlling the vehicle.
  • Cognitive distractions involve mental processes that aren’t related to driving.

Eating while driving potentially involves the first two items, and could involve the third as well. Glancing down at a bag of chips could be enough to make a driver not see the stopped car out ahead. Eating a burger requires using hands that might otherwise be on the steering wheel. And if the burger falls apart and drops a big mess into the driver’s lap, the driver may suddenly be worried about how to clean up and not about what’s happening outside the car.

Distracted driving is not, by itself, unlawful, but . . .

Prohibiting distracted driving isn’t practical, but that doesn’t mean that a distracted driver can’t be held responsible if his or her distraction leads to an accident. The NHTSA’s statistics show that distracted driving is a common cause of accidents. Nevada’s prohibition of cell phone use by drivers is an example of a specific case where lawmakers have found a way to address a source of distraction. But eating while driving is a different case. Eating while driving is common. Its potential for distraction falls on a spectrum, from relatively minimal distraction to the extreme case of being burned by spilled coffee.

Being distracted by food can lead a driver to make other mistakes that do qualify as negligence. Every driver owes other drivers and pedestrians a basic obligation to pay reasonable attention to the roadway. Failing to do so may be negligence, regardless of its underlying cause. Failing to comply with traffic laws, by swerving into an adjacent lane or running a stop sign, is negligence per se, meaning the fact that the defendant broke those specific rules creates a presumption that the driver was behaving negligently.

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in accident cases. For a free attorney consultation about your case call us today at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Suing for Burn Injuries in Nevada

Serious burns can have devastating and long-term consequences. For someone who has been burned in an accident and sues for compensation, it’s important to make a complete accounting of the damages associated with the burn. Doing so requires a thorough understanding of the burn’s medical prognosis and its impacts on the plaintiff’s life.

The types of burns

There are several causes of burns, any of which could be part of a personal injury case. Thermal burns are the type most people probably think of when they think of burns. They’re caused by exposure to heat, whether from touching a hot surface, being exposed to hot steam or liquids, or being burned by fire. Car accidents involving fire often can lead to burn injuries. Other types of burns include those caused by corrosive chemicals, especially to sensitive areas of the body like the eyes and respiratory system, and electrical burns resulting from high voltage shocks.

Burns fall within one of three tiers of severity:

  • A first-degree burn is relatively mild and rarely leads to long-term consequences. A mild sunburn is a good example of a first-degree burn.
  • Second-degree burns have penetrated deeper into the skin and can lead to painful blistering and other problems.
  • Third-degree burns have penetrated the entire skin and may damage underlying tissues. Third-degree burns are extremely serious and potentially life-threatening, as they can result in destroyed nerve endings and other problems for which there is no remedy.

In addition to the tier system, burns are also categorized according to their location and the overall coverage of the body. A victim of a structure fire may have extensive burns over a large portion of his or her body. The more significant the burn coverage is and the deeper the burns have penetrated the skin, the more serious the burn.

Suing for damages after a burn injury

Burn victims often need to seek special forms of compensation in their personal injury lawsuits. A burn can involve a lifetime of lingering pain and discomfort, disfigurement, and a long road of physical therapy and other medical treatments. In settlement negotiations or at trial, the victim’s attorneys must account for all of these consequences. Doing so requires approaching the issue from several angles:

  • A calculation of past and anticipated future medical costs.
  • Consultation with burn experts to evaluate the anticipated long-term effects of the injury.
  • Gathering evidence about the burn’s impacts on the plaintiff’s day-to-day life, such as the way the burn will affect the plaintiff’s emotional and psychological health, career prospects, and personal relationships.

Experienced personal injury attorneys understand that a burn victim is enduring an especially difficult process that needs to be handled with care and compassion. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury cases. We can help you or your loved one seek just compensation for burn injuries. Please call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

Drinking and Self-Driving Cars

As the technologies in self-driving cars reach maturity it seems almost inevitable that there will come a time when actively driving a car will feel optional. For some it will be tempting to think of a self-driving car like a taxi. But thus far, the safety record of self-driving cars has left open doubts about how much drivers can rely on them without keeping an eye on what’s going on around the car. An important issue related to this is whether it will be safe to operate a self-driving car after drinking enough alcohol to be over the legal limit.

The legal framework for self-driving cars is still in its infancy. Given the enormous complexity of a self-driving car’s technologies, lawmakers probably will be slow to allow fully autonomous vehicles to hit the roads. Nevertheless, many states, including Nevada, have adopted preliminary rules that provide guidance for driver-operators and the manufacturers of self-driving vehicles. There are two key reasons why “drunk operating” is not a legal option:

  1. There is no exception for drunk driving and driverless cars. Being behind the wheel of a self-driving car is still driving, even though the operator isn’t touching any controls and may even be ignoring the roadway. Although in theory operating a self-driving car may be a safer alternative to driving drunk, it is still not legal. Operating a self-driving car while drunk is a crime and can lead to accidents and injury liability.
  2. Safety mechanisms rely on an alert driver. Under existing law, a self-driving vehicle in Nevada must include a safety system that will turn control of the vehicle over to the operator in the event that the car’s systems cease to function as expected. This means that the operator always needs to be ready to take control. Many of the accidents involving self-driving cars have featured situations where the driver was not paying attention to the road. A driver who is reading a book or sleeping can’t do anything in the event that the car’s sensors fail to detect a pedestrian. A drunk operator’s reaction times will be even slower than those fo a sober operator.

The fact that an operator of a self-driving vehicle was drunk at the time of an accident will be a major factor in any ensuing litigation brought by someone who was injured in the accident. The operator may attempt to lay the blame on inadequacies in the car’s design, and perhaps the plaintiff will want to pursue action there as well. But the operator is still responsible for causing the accident, even if he or she wasn’t actively controlling the car at the time.

If you or a loved one is injured in an accident involving a self-driving car, do not let the fact that the car was autonomous distract you from the human operator’s responsibility for the car. Accidents where the self-driving car is at fault will present new and interesting questions for lawyers to resolve. For over four decades the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have helped clients seek compensation for injuries caused by car accidents. For a free attorney consultation about your case call us today at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

Admissions of Fault After an Accident in Nevada

Although it isn’t necessarily enough to build an entire case upon, a defendant’s admission of fault can be a powerful piece of evidence in litigation following an accident. An admission of fault might be as simple as an apology, or as detailed as a description of exactly how the fault took place. After an accident if the at-fault driver says something like, “I wasn’t looking where I was going and ran into you!” that statement will be a key part of making sure the defendant is held responsible for paying for the plaintiff’s damages.

An admission of fault can come in several forms. Any of these could be used as an admission of fault:

  • Apologizing after an accident. Although many states have what are called “apology laws” that prevent a simple “I’m sorry,” from being used to prove fault, Nevada is not one of them. That means that an apology can be used to help show fault.
  • Posting about an accident on social media. After accidents many defendants make the mistake of admitting fault to their friends and family in emails or social media. Such admissions are discoverable by plaintiffs in litigation, and can undermine the defendant’s contrary arguments in court or in depositions.
  • Admitting fault outside privileged contexts. Beyond electronic communications, admitting fault in a conversation that isn’t covered by a legal privilege—a discussion with an attorney, for example—can serve as evidence just as effectively as a social media post. OF course, the plaintiff needs to know about the conversation to use it.

Just because the defendant admitted fault doesn’t mean that the plaintiff has a slam dunk case. A defendant can always provide countervailing evidence that explains the alleged admission in a variety of ways. A reflexive “I’m sorry” may have little evidentiary value once examined in the context of other facts. The admission may have been made before the individual had a chance to fully understand all the facts of the accident.

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area recover compensation for injuries suffered in auto accidents. If you have questions about your legal options following a serious accident, we are happy to examine your case. Please call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.