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Proving Lost Earnings in a Personal Injury Case

Serious injuries often force people to take time off work to recover. As a consequence, seeking compensation for lost income can be an important part of a personal injury lawsuit. Lost earnings come up in the damages phase of litigation, after the defendant’s liability for the injury is already established. Like other forms of damages, proving lost earnings can be harder than one might first assume. The simplest lost earnings scenario involves the individual who needs to take a certain, clearly defined amount of time off work and wants to be compensated for the wages that he or she didn’t earn during that time. This situation applies most clearly where the personal injury lawsuit is ongoing after the injured person has returned to work. Pay stubs from periods before and after the accident, tax forms from prior years (such as an IRS Form W-2 for people who work for an employer), or other forms of wage verification from an employer can be sufficient evidence to establish the amount of the lost wages. Someone who is self-employed can use tax records, checks from clients, or bank statements to establish the income that has been lost. Proving lost earnings gets more complicated if the person who was injured is no longer able to earn as much as before the injury, or has lost the ability to work altogether. In these cases the question is not just how much the injured person lost in the past, but also how large the person’s potential earnings were at the time of the injury. There are numerous ways to calculate future lost earnings, and some cases (like workers’ compensation) have predetermined methods. The analysis might consider one or more of the following:
  • The individual’s earnings history.
  • The medical prognosis of the injury, including how much recovery is possible (reduced to a percentage which gets applied to the wage figures).
  • The scope of employment options available to the individual in light of the injury and the individual’s skills.
  • Estimates of earnings growth, including the potential for reasonably foreseeable promotions, cost-of-living adjustments, and other factors.
  • Lost benefits, like employer 401(k) contributions, lost pensions, and insurance coverage, including estimates of how the value of those benefits may have increased over time.
Some plaintiffs will have an especially complicated questions of proof to overcome. Self-employed individuals who are early in their careers, people who have wildly fluctuating earning histories, and individuals for whom future earnings are highly contingent (such as artists and entrepreneurs) will need tailored strategies to ensure that they receive their just compensation. An experienced personal injury law firm knows how to get the most for its clients. For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped personal injury clients recover compensation for lost earnings and other damages related to injuries. If you would like to speak to an attorney about your case, please call us today for a free, confidential consultation at 702-388-4476 or ask us to reach out to you through our contact page.

When Can EMS Professionals Use Force?

When Can EMS Professionals Use Force?
From time to time an EMS professional will encounter a belligerent or physically aggressive patient. Whatever the cause of the patient’s aggression—mental health challenges, alcohol or other substance abuse, or some other issue—for EMS the challenge will be to resolve the situation in a way that is safe for everyone involved and gets the patient the care he or she needs. Here are some things to keep in mind when making the decision to use force to restrain a patient.
  • A patient’s aggressive behavior may be a sign of a serious medical condition.

The first thing to bear in mind about someone who is behaving erratically or violently is that he or she may be experiencing a serious medical event that requires immediate intervention. A diabetic may become delirious due to low blood sugar levels, or a drug user may be experiencing symptoms of overdose or withdrawal. Such conditions aren’t always easy to identify in the field and can only be diagnosed properly once the patient is at the hospital. Using force to restrain a patient may be necessary to save his or her life. In legal terms, a patient can be deemed to give implied consent to treatment in emergency or life-threatening situations. Unfortunately, some situations will be clearer than others. A patient who is clearly delirious and unaware of what’s happening probably would want to be helped if in his or her right mind. But a slightly drunk patient who was just dumped by his girlfriend may simply be angry and may still have the legal capacity to refuse treatment.
  • Restrain with care.

Any time a person is restrained there is a risk of injury. In every event, it is best to begin with verbal engagement and only move on to physical methods if talking just isn’t going to work. There are a number of principles to bear in mind when using physical restraints. An EMS professional should never attempt to physically restrain a patient without police present. And care must be taken to ensure that restraints do not impede the patient’s circulation or breathing. Some EMS professionals have faced the threat of criminal charges after restraints suffocated their patients.
  • Report physical encounters.

EMS professionals who find themselves in physical altercations with patients need to protect themselves against civil and even criminal liability. Reporting the event to supervisors and, if applicable, a union legal representative, is an essential step to take as soon as possible after the event. Gathering facts while memory is fresh is important. This is especially the case if the patient suffered serious injury or death. In many cases it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney who is outside the employer/union relationship.

GGRM can answer your questions

For over 45 years the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented clients in the Las Vegas first responder community. If you have been in a situation that required force against an unwilling patient and you would like to discuss your legal risks and options, we are here to answer your questions. Call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476, or reach us through our contact page.

The Collections Process Following A Successful Lawsuit

The Collections Process Following A Successful Lawsuit
Successfully suing the person or business who is responsible for causing a personal injury takes time and expertise. For cases that don’t settle but instead go to trial, success for the plaintiff means obtaining a court judgment against the defendant. In a personal injury case the court order typically requires the defendant to pay the expenses associated with an injury—medical bills, lost earnings, and other costs that have been or will be incurred by the plaintiff during the recovery process. But a court’s judgment is just a piece of paper. Collecting on a judgment often requires more.

A court judgment is not always a remedy

Many injured plaintiffs are often disappointed to learn that a court’s favorable ruling doesn’t immediately resolve the financial challenges associated with their injuries. Unless the defendant raises a valid appeal, a court’s judgment is a binding order against the defendant. The plaintiff has become a creditor of the defendant, similar to a lender. But some defendants refuse to pay, perhaps because they lack the financial resources to do so. When that happens, the plaintiff is responsible for ensuring that the judgment is enforced. The court will not, by itself, take further steps to force the defendant to pay.

Strategies for collecting on a judgment

In Nevada a prevailing plaintiff has six years from the date of the court’s order to enforce a judgment. If enforcing the judgment is taking longer than six years the plaintiff can request an extension of time. NRS 11.190(1)(a). There are several paths a creditor can pursue to recover on a judgment in Nevada.
  • Wage garnishment. In Nevada creditors can obtain a court order to garnish a delinquent debtor’s wages (a so-called writ of garnishment). A wage garnishment order requires an employer to withhold money from the debtor’s paycheck and instead pay it to the creditor. State law places a strict cap on how much of a person’s wages can be garnished: 25% of the debtor’s disposable earnings, or the amount by which the debtor’s earnings exceed 50 times the federal minimum hourly wage, whichever is less . NRS 31.295. Of course, in many situations a defendant will not have earnings sufficient to compensate the plaintiff for anywhere close to the amount of a judgment.
  • Seizing property. A creditor may also ask the court to issue a writ of execution against certain property of the defendant, which allows the creditor to take possession of the property. A writ of execution must specify the property to be seized, such as cash in a certain bank account, a certain car, or other property. Writs of execution are subject to a range of rules and procedures, in part to ensure that a bank or other institution can rely upon them when handing over an individual’s assets. They are also subject to a wide range of exceptions to ensure that the debtor isn’t left homeless or unable to provide for dependents. See NRS Chapter 21.
  • Filing property liens. Another option for creditors is to file liens against certain assets of a debtor. A lien places a publicly available claim on property, such as a car or a piece of real estate, that must be cleared before the owner can sell the property. It can be an effective backstop against a debtor who owns a home, because the lien will complicate selling the home or using it as collateral on a loan.

GGRM helps clients get the compensation they deserve

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented injured clients in the Las Vegas area. We are passionate about helping our clients get back on their feet after an injury. That often involves taking steps to enforce a judgment. If you have been injured or you’re having difficulty collecting on a judgment, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

Welcome to the GGRM Law Firm Blog — Bringing You the Latest News and Information in Nevada State Law and National Legal Issues

This blog is an effort to keep you informed of ongoing changes, important news and information about accident and personal injury related laws. The law practice of Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez (GGRM Law Firm) aims to use this blog as our communications platform. We want to not only inform and educate, but open dialogue between our Las Vegas, Nevada law firm and the clients we serve. Check back often for blog posts concerning laws and news regarding personal injury and worker’s compensation in Nevada.  We couple our 40 years of experience with the current accident and personal injury issues of today to provide you with “news you can use”. You can look to this blog for expert legal insight; especially with regard to worker’s compensation and personal injury law. For example, on January 16, 2011 the New York Times wrote an article about the unregulated business of lawsuit loans. This is the practice of loaning money to plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits, which typically results in dire financial problems due to high interest rates and difficult terms:
  • Injured plaintiffs may turn to a lawsuit lender when they’ve been out of work for a considerable amount of time and cannot borrow money from family or friends.
  • Another reason injured plaintiffs become desperate and turn to a lawsuit lender is because it can take months or years to settle a personal injury case.
  • Lawsuit lenders’ prices are usually unadvertised, allowing for additional fees and higher rates.
  • While accepted worker’s compensation claims pay for ongoing medical expenses, some worker’s compensation plaintiffs still seek lawsuit loans.
This practice generally occurs for both personal injury and worker’s compensation cases throughout the country. However, the state of Nevada prohibits liens on worker’s compensation settlements. In fact many lawsuit lenders have little understanding of how an injured worker receives his or her settlement under Nevada law. Unfortunately, some attorneys will sign their name on an agreement between the lawsuit lender and the client. At Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, Martinez Law Firm,  we know that when you work with a lawsuit lender, you take on the sole responsibility to repay the loan.  Going into debt may not be the best decision so we encourage clients to have an in-depth discussion with an attorney before proceeding. For more information about how the state of Nevada views worker’s compensation claims or lawsuit loans, contact Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, Martinez Law Firm today 702-388-GGRM (4476) and allow us to review your case.