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Understanding the Legal Risks of Private Pool Parties

Homeowners who have pools in their backyards are right to view their pools as great places for entertaining guests. A pool party is fun for everyone. At the same time, a pool always poses certain risks. In a party context, the danger of the pool can be made more significant. Homeowners who plan to hold pool parties should think about a few issues before the party starts.

  • Premises liability. By themselves, pools and their surrounding infrastructure (walkways, platforms, ladders, and so forth) implicate the legal principle of premises liability. A homeowner owes a visitor a general duty to keep the home and its surrounding property reasonably safe for the visitor. If the homeowner is aware of a dangerous condition, such as a damaged step that could cause cuts or trips, the homeowner needs to warn guests about the condition. Homeowners who plan to host parties should take a moment to make sure there are no hazards that could make the pool area unsafe.
  • Know your insurance coverage. Pool owners know that a pool makes a homeowner’s insurance policy more expensive. It’s important for the homeowner to know about the scope of coverage in the applicable insurance policy. If the policy contains specific limits, the party may need to be designed around those limits. Perhaps the policy will not cover injuries to children who are left unsupervised, or it won’t cover injuries suffered by people who have been drinking alcohol. Coverage limits may also be important to consider: a drowning could cost the homeowner a significantly greater sum than the default limits of the policy. For a party that’s usually large, such as a wedding, taking out special event insurance might be a good idea.
  • Alcohol and pools can be a bad mix. If a party will include drinking, there are a number of special risks that a pool can create. Pool decks can be slippery, and people who have been drinking may be more likely to slip and fall. A person who is especially drunk may have trouble swimming, or in rare cases may suffer a health crisis such as a heart attack. In some cases it may be appropriate to ask people who have been drinking heavily to not use the pool.
  • Supervise children. In a party setting it can be easy to lose track of what’s going on in a pool. A child may get into trouble and not be seen until it’s too late. In circumstances where there are a lot of distractions it may be appropriate to designate someone to be an impromptu “life guard” or to ask the kids to get out of the pool.

Someone who is injured at a pool party probably has recourse to the homeowner’s insurance policy, and may need to sue the homeowner as well to recover full compensation for the injury. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has served clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury cases. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

Broken Hips After Slip-and-Fall Accidents

A broken hip is a devastating injury. Recovery of full strength and motion can take as long as a year, during which the patient may endure multiple surgeries, physical therapy, and significant mobility limitations. Elderly patients are especially prone to hip fractures. When a slip-and-fall accident leads to a broken hip, a lawsuit against the responsible party may be warranted.

Slip-and-fall accidents in Nevada

Slip-and-fall accidents fall within the scope of premises liability, a legal standard that holds property owners and other responsible parties (like tenants) responsible to varying degrees for injuries that occur on their property. The rules governing a situation depend on the location of the injury and its specific cause.

  • Homeowners and residential tenants owe a duty to visitors to take reasonable steps to ensure that visitors are not injured by hazards on their properties. The reasonableness of the steps taken by a homeowner to address a hazard will vary by the facts of the case. For example, a homeowner may or may not be required to warn visitors if a walkway is slippery during rainy weather.
  • Businesses that are open to the public are held to a higher standard of care than homeowners are. They are required to keep their premises reasonably safe for use. Unlike a homeowner, a business needs to take affirmative steps to ensure that its facilities are free of hazards. Textbook slip-and-fall cases usually involve things like poorly maintained stairs, a failure to clean up a spill, or inadequate safety precautions around dangerous conditions like broken floor tiles.

Damages recoverable for broken hips

A plaintiff who has suffered a broken hip in a slip-and-fall accident that resulted from the defendant’s negligence often can recover compensation for the damages associated with the injury. Damages include medical expenses, lost wages, transportation costs, short- and long-term modifications to a home, and physical therapy. Damages can also include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and other “personal” consequences of the injury.

Someone injured in a slip-and-fall accident has two years to file a lawsuit in Nevada. Victims of someone’s negligence shouldn’t wait anywhere that long to consult with an attorney. Quite often there are important pieces of evidence, essential witnesses, and time-sensitive strategies that need to be addressed as soon as possible following the accident.

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases. Our attorneys are available for free consultations to discuss your injury and your options for filing a lawsuit. We can be reached at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contact page.

A Homeowner’s Liability Toward “Odd-Jobs” Workers

Every homeowner can use a helping hand from time to time on projects around the house. Mowing lawns, fixing a leaky faucet, or patching a hole in a wall are all examples of work that the so-called gig economy has started to fill in. A homeowner can save time and potentially save a lot of money by hiring people on an impromptu, cash basis to do this sort of work. But whenever someone does work for pay there’s an added element of risk that homeowners need to think about. Although a homeowner may be justified in concluding that a risk is worth taking, it’s still worth understanding what the risks are so they can be minimized. There are several types of risk associated with hiring casual laborers to do work around the house:

  • Premises liability. In Nevada homeowner have a general duty of care to ensure that their homes and properties are in safe condition for lawful visitors. The homeowner’s obligation extends to keeping the home in reasonably safe condition and warning visitors of known hazards. If a visitor is injured by an unsafe condition they may have the option of suing the homeowner to recover compensation for the injury.
  • The posture of homeowner’s insurance. One of the key questions a homeowner should ask is whether his or her insurance will cover injuries to laborers who do work around the home. The answer is usually something like “Yes, but . . .” The limits of coverage provided by a policy can help the homeowner evaluate the scope of personal risk for a given type of job. For example, a policy may disclaim responsibility for injuries caused by unlicensed work on the home’s electrical system. Or it may limit damages that are available for individuals who are paid for their work, who the insurer assumes (rightly or wrongly) are providing their own insurance coverage.
  • The facts of the job. Hiring someone to paint a wall is probably less risky than asking someone to repair a roof or fix a gas-fired appliance. Measuring the potential harm that can come from a given project—fire, electric shock, falls—is always a good idea. If the risks are substantial it may be worth the cost to hire a contractor that carries its own insurance. Bear in mind, though, that even simple jobs can result in accidents and injuries: painting a wall can be enough to throw out a back or sprain an elbow.
  • Licensing and permitting requirements. One reason a homeowner will hire out work on a casual basis is to avoid the hassle and cost of getting permits and licenses that are required for certain kinds of work. If work is completed without legally required approvals it can create headaches when the home is sold, expose the homeowner to fees, and may invalidate insurance coverage in some cases. A licensed contractor helps homeowners comply with their legal obligations.

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call us today at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

DIY Home Improvement and Injury Liability

Homeowners know that labor is typically a big part of the cost of home improvement projects. For many it’s enough that doing the work themselves is the better choice. Although doing your own construction work can be rewarding, it can also create potential legal liability.

Liability for hazards

In Nevada a homeowner has a general duty to take reasonable care to maintain the home in a condition that is safe for guests. If the homeowner is aware of a potentially dangerous condition, such as a broken bannister, the law requires that the homeowner notify guests of the hazard. For a project with clearly understood dangers notifying guests about them may be straightforward. For example, a homeowner who digs a big trench in the front yard can place warning signs around it to caution passersby about the hole.

But doing major work on a home can create hazards that aren’t known to the homeowner until they become serious problems. Fixtures that aren’t properly installed can fall and injure guests. Unsafe electrical practices could lead to fire. Removing structural components could make the entire home unsafe. If someone is hurt by conditions like these, they will have good cause for suing the homeowner.

Insurance may not pay for DIY mistakes

A homeowner’s liability insurance will often cover risks for routine things like trip-and-fall accidents caused by the upturned edge of a rug. Where insurance might refuse to pay is if the homeowner has undertaken a do-it-yourself project that was not compliant with local rules, such as permitting requirements. Failing to use a licensed contractor for certain types of projects can also give an insurance company an excuse to not pay. This extends to significant parts of a home, including gas lines, plumbing, and electrical.

If a homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover injuries caused by the homeowner’s negligence the homeowner may be faced with significant unmitigated costs. In practice this means that a homeowner needs to be cautious about taking on projects that involve high degrees of risk. It may be significantly cheaper to hire a professional than to attempt doing dangerous work yourself. Key questions the homeowner should ask before tackling a project are:

  • Does the work involve anything that could cause a fire?
  • Does the work involve tearing down structural components that may have a nonobvious role in the home’s engineering?
  • Can the project be finished in a reasonable period of time so that hazards don’t pose a risk for longer than necessary?
  • Does the homeowner anticipate vulnerable guests, like small children or people with health problems, being present during construction?

GGRM is a Las Vegas injury law firm

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has served personal injury clients in the Las Vegas area. If you have been injured in a home or if you have questions about how home projects may affect your liability, please contact is today for a free attorney consultation. Call 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

Personal Injuries at Sporting Venues

There are a number of sources of personal injury at major sporting venues like stadiums and basketball arenas. Like any other public venue, sporting arenas can have physical problems that make them unsafe: wet floors, broken railings, inappropriately locked doors, and so on. Spectators can be injured by balls or other equipment flying into the stands. Spectators can also end up hurting each other, whether deliberately (in fights) or by accident. These circumstances each require a separate legal analysis, but all may offer injured people the option of suing for compensation.

  • Premises liability. Any business that is open to the public is required to take reasonable care to prevent foreseeable injuries to visitors. In the context of a sports venue, this generally means making sure that the facility is well maintained. This includes having a process in place to address common hazards. For example, spectators can be expected to spill drinks. A stadium should be routinely checking for water on floors that are likely to be slippery if they get wet. Similarly, venues should maintain their stairways and address broken infrastructure, even if it means shutting down a portion of the venue while the repairs are underway. Someone who is injured by a condition that should’ve been anticipated—for example, slipping on a wet floor—may have legal recourse against the owner or operator of the facility under a theory of premises liability.
  • Injuries to spectators. Major sports venues print liability waivers on the backs of their tickets. These waivers typically provide that spectators assume the risk of injury by sitting close to the action. The waivers are intended to discourage people from suing if they are hit by a stray baseball or hockey puck, or a basketball player falls over them and hurts them. Under Nevada law the enforceability of a liability waiver will depend on the facts of the injury. An ordinary situation, such as a tipped basketball flying into the stands, may be the sort of thing that a waiver would cover. But if a player deliberately flings a ball into the stands, perhaps with the intent to hurt a heckler, the waiver probably would not apply.
  • Injuries caused by other spectators. Some injuries at sports venues are caused not (or at least partially not) by the venue’s negligence but by actions of other patrons. In these cases it can be appropriate to sue the individual who caused the injury. For example, a spectator who drops an object from a high deck might be liable for injuries to people who are struck down below. Such cases may also implicate the venue, if the venue hasn’t taken reasonable precautions against the injury. Large stadiums often build netting under their upper decks to prevent objects as well as people from falling.

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and accident cases for over 45 years. If you have been injured at a sports venue, call us today for a free, confidential attorney consultation. We’re available at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

How Safe Are Trampoline Parks?

Indoor and outdoor trampoline parks have become a popular place to play for kids as well as adults. In addition to being fun, jumping on a trampoline can be good exercise, burning calories and developing core strength. Like any form of exercise, trampolining also involves a degree of risk. Landing awkwardly or falling off the trampoline can cause a range of injuries. At a trampoline park one must also be mindful of other people. Parks construct large “floors” of interconnected trampolines, so visitors can hop from place to place without restriction. Parks also tend to have equipment that is unfamiliar or unusual, which may increase the risk of injury.

A trampoline park’s safety is dependent on a range of factors. Some of these are within the jumper’s control, while others are not. Visitors to trampoline parks should keep all of these things in mind to improve their own safety:

  • Jumping on a trampoline is a skill. It’s important that each jumper understand his or her own limits. Although it’s easy to catch some air hopping onto a trampoline with no training, the truth is that it takes practice to develop strength and skill. This is especially true for doing tricks like flips.
  • Be mindful of other jumpers. Collisions are responsible for a significant number of injuries at trampoline parks. Jumping at a trampoline park is a bit like driving a car on a busy street. Even the most skilled driver can end up in an accident with another driver if the other driver isn’t paying attention. Jumpers need to stay alert for others coming into their space.
  • Report damaged equipment. If safety padding is missing or loose, or a trampoline isn’t working correctly, it’s important to stop using the damaged equipment. The operator of the park should be told about the problem so it can be addressed.

From a legal standpoint every trampoline park requires its visitors to agree to liability waivers that place strict limits on the park’s responsibility for injuries. Properly drafted liability waivers are enforceable contracts that will forestall lawsuits against park operators for many common forms of injury. But each case is different. Whether a waiver applies to a specific injury should be evaluated by an attorney.

Trampoline parks are responsible for maintaining the safety of their equipment and premises. This probably means that they have a duty to take reasonable steps to inspect their facilities to ensure that they are in good working order. It also means that they should not introduce dangerous elements, like heavy balls that can be thrown around in a room meant for very small children. Given the inherent risks involved with trampolining, parks should provide adequate supervision of jumpers to ensure that everyone is following the rules.

Individual jumpers may also be responsible for causing injuries. In most circumstances a jumper at a trampoline park has an obligation to behave reasonably. Someone who is recklessly leaping around without regard for the safety of others might be liable for negligence if someone gets hurt as a result. People who jump while intoxicated may increase this risk. Bear in mind that a liability waiver signed at the door is only between he park operator and the jumper, and doesn’t restrict liability between jumpers.

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases. If you have been injured at a trampoline park, our experienced injury attorneys are standing by to offer advice about your case. Call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

What Obligations Does a Nevada Mall Have to Provide Security?

Malls are an interesting example of privately owned public spaces. Like any public space where a significant number of people interact, there’s always a chance of something happening at a mall that could lead to personal injury. When the personal injury arises from what could be broadly described as a “security incident,” such as a fight between two patrons or a random shooting, the victims may want to explore filing suit against the owner or operator of the mall. But what obligations does a mall have to provide security?

Premises liability and security considerations

Someone who is injured in a purely accidental way at a mall often has a cause of action under the theory of premises liability. The law of premises liability requires businesses to keep their premises in reasonably safe condition for use. Sprague v. Lucky Stores, 109 Nev. 247, 250 (1993). If a business fails to comply with this rule and a patron is injured as a consequence, the business may be liable for negligence.

A typical example of a premises liability case is a slip-and-fall on a wet floor at a supermarket. Provided the supermarket caused the wet floor (for example, an employee mopped the floor and left it wet) or knew or had reason to know the floor was wet (a customer dropped a bottle of wine, or the wet spot had been there for long enough that the store should have discovered it) premises liability probably will apply.

Negligent security is a variation of premises liability. In Nevada business have a legal duty to prevent foreseeable criminal acts against visitors. Providing security is one way a business can do this, but the scope of the obligation will vary by the location and nature of the business. For example, a small strip mall may only be obligated to ensure that its parking lot and other publicly accessible spaces are well lit at night. But a large mall probably needs more: surveillance cameras, on-site guards, and so on.

Foreseeability can be a significant question

For a mall owner or operator to be liable for negligent security the event giving rise to the plaintiff’s injury must have been foreseeable and criminal. Foreseeability poses an interesting problem for some plaintiffs. One might successfully argue that muggings, sexual assault, and fist fights are all foreseeable possibilities in a place where large numbers of people congregate. But is a random shooting incident also foreseeable? In these times perhaps the answer is yes, but the next question is: what reasonable steps can a mall take to prevent such events?

Negligent security focuses on violent criminal behavior. Boorish and even harassing behavior isn’t necessarily criminal, even if the victim has a potential civil cause of action against the perpetrator. By the same token, however, providing a safe environment probably requires intervention in some otherwise noncriminal situations. This list of a mall security officer’s duties includes mediating disagreements between patrons. In some cases a security officer may make a situation worse, and may end up committing negligence as a consequence.

Talk to a personal injury lawyer about your case

Premises liability, and in particular negligent security, is a complex topic that relies heavily on the specific facts of each incident. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped injured clients recover compensation. If you have been injured in an incident at a mall and you questions about your legal options to seek compensation from the mall’s owner or operator, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

Water Parks and Personal Injury

Water parks pose a range of potential risks for visitors. Wet surfaces are often slippery and can cause slip-and-fall accidents. Fast-moving water slides can cause users to collide with objects or each other. And water always poses a risk of drowning. The water park may bear legal responsibility for some injuries suffered by guests.

Water parks owe a high duty of care to guests

Every business owes its visitors a special legal duty to keep its premises reasonably safe for use. That means that a water park has a special obligation to ensure that its facilities are safely maintained. A water park’s failure to address a safety problem may give rise to a premises liability claim. Examples might include broken equipment, unaddressed slip risks, inadequate sanitation, or repairs that do not adequately restore a feature to a safe condition.

A facility’s violation of laws or regulations can improve the likelihood of a lawsuit’s success. Water facilities are subject to specific rules and regulations that govern their design and maintenance. For example, in Las Vegas the Southern Nevada Pool Code imposes requirements for any publicly accessible pool such as safely designed drainage, water quality standards, and proper surface care. Water parks are also required to have lifeguards regularly stationed where they can assist patrons in the event of an emergency. Lifeguards are required to hold certifications that qualify them to perform first aid and other life-saving procedures, as well as being able to rescue someone who has suffered an injury in the water.

Suing for wrongful death in drowning cases

Drowning is the worst-case scenario for a water park visitor. If someone should die from drowning at a water park and the park bears responsibility for the death, the person’s next-of-kin may have the option of suing for wrongful death. In a wrongful death suit the plaintiff can recover compensation for grief as well as other damages.

The highly publicized case of the boy beheaded by a waterslide in Kansas City offers an example of probably the most extreme case of negligence by a water park. According to the prosecutor pursuing criminal action against the slide’s owners, the slide’s design made it inherently unsafe. One hopes that the Kansas City accident gives operators of water rides reason to pause before building extremely unsafe amusements, but given the competitive landscape one can expect businesses to continue to push the safety envelope.

Talk to a Las Vegas personal injury attorney about your case

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. If you or a loved one has been injured at a water park and you would like to find out what your legal options are, call us today for a free attorney consultation. We’re available at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

Childproofing a Home to Protect Little Ones and Prevent Liability

When a small child will be present in a home it’s vitally important that the homeowner take stock of potential hazards and, to the extent possible, remedy them. Many childproofing steps are simple—outlet covers, for example—and can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury to a child. Failing to address hazards could lead to a child’s serious injury or even death. Such tragedies can also create legal liability for an adult who hasn’t taken proper care.

Childproofing recommendations

The National Safety Council is one of many organizations focused on providing helpful guidance for people looking for ways to improve the safety of their homes. They identify a range of important issues to consider when evaluating a home’s potential hazards for children. Some examples include:

  • Keeping firearms out of reach of children.
  • Examining places of high risk for ways to limit a child’s access to them. Such places include areas with water (pools, spas, kitchens, bathrooms), heat (fireplaces and stoves), toxic materials (cleaners and medicines), and places with fall risks (stairs).
  • Securing heavy furniture to the wall or other stable feature, especially tippy furniture like tall dressers (such as the popular Ikea “MALM” dresser, which the company has repeatedly recalled following the deaths of several toddlers) or televisions.
  • Covering wall outlets and ensuring that electrical plugs are well-seated.

The steps a homeowner takes to childproof a home will vary depending on how frequently children will be present, how practical it is to address each hazard, and other personal factors. Someone who is only occasionally visited by their small grandchild may see little utility in securing every kitchen cabinet, while the parent of a small child probably should take the steps to secure as much as possible.

Childproofing and the law

There are no particular laws requiring individuals to childproof their homes. As a practical matter such laws aren’t necessary. Parents and other caregivers have plenty of incentive to keep their little ones safe without needing the state’s intervention.

The absence of specific laws places childproofing into the broad category of negligence. The key question in a typical negligence case is whether the person responsible for a child’s injury breached a duty of care owed to the child. Such duties include things like ensuring that a backyard pool can’t be accessed by children passing by the property. Whether an individual is committing negligence for failing to add locks to medicine cabinets or cover wall outlets will depend on the facts of the situation: the relationship of the homeowner to the child, the foreseeability of the child’s injury, and other factors.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has provided personal, caring service to clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. If you have questions about an injury to a child caused by inadequate childproofing of a home call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

Suing for Injuries on Escalators

Suing for Injuries on Escalators

A fall on an escalator can cause terrible injuries. The moving stairs can cause serious cuts, grab loose clothing, and send a person tumbling out of control. Escalator-related injuries cause about 10,000 visits to emergency rooms in the United States each year. In some situations a person who is injured by an escalator may have reason to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. A fall on an escalator can happen for a number of reasons. These can be separated into several general categories:

1. Falls caused by improper maintenance.

An escalator that isn’t adequately maintained poses a danger to every rider, and the owner/operator may be liable for any resulting injuries under a theory of premises liability. Operators of escalators in public places, like malls, have a legal obligation to maintain them in reasonably safe condition for use. If the operator knows, or should know, about a dangerous condition, it must take steps to fix the problem. Sprague v. Lucky Stores, 109 Nev. 247 (1993).

2. Falls caused by other riders.

Someone busily rushing up or down an escalator could easily bump into another rider and cause that rider to fall. Given the inherent extra dangerousness of riding on an escalator, a person who aggressively pushes others out of the way may be responsible for any resulting injuries under a general negligence theory, or in more extreme cases may be liable for recklessness or even battery.

What matters is not that the defendant believed the bump wouldn’t be significant, but that the injured plaintiff was hurt. For example, it doesn’t matter that the defendant didn’t see that the person he was shoving was elderly and potentially unstable. Aggressively pushing past people on an escalator creates a risk for everyone.

3. Falls caused by a rider’s negligence.

People who ride on escalators bear a degree of responsibility for their own safety. A properly maintained escalator has a degree of dangerousness even in ordinary operation. That is why escalators bear signs instructing passengers to hold on to handrails and advising against using them with strollers or other carts. An operator sued by someone who falls due to nothing more than his or her own infirmity or clumsiness may have a successful argument that the rider assumes the risk of injury by stepping onto the escalator. This can apply even more to someone who rides despite having known balance problems, whether from a medical condition or drunkenness. A person who rides while knowing he or she is unfit may be committing an act of negligence which frees the operator from liability.

For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area recover compensation for personal injuries. If you have been injured in a fall on a escalator please reach out to us to discuss your legal options. For a free attorney consultation call today at 702-388-4476. We can also be reached through our contacts page.