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A Landlord’s Liability for Slip-and-Fall Injuries

Some renters struggle to get much in the way of service from their landlords. For one reason or another, some landlords simply refuse to take responsibility for maintenance problems that are unquestionably their obligation to resolve. Landlords who behave this way are banking on tenants and visitors lacking the resources to take real action to force the landlord to act. But when a tenant or visitor to a property gets injured in a slip-and-fall accident, the landlord’s inattention to maintenance can become a source of liability. In Nevada a landlord has a responsibility to exercise reasonable care to not cause visitors to its property to face an unreasonable risk of harm. A landlord who violates this obligation and, as a consequence, causes someone’s injury can be held liable for negligence. There are several factors that play into the landlord’s obligation to address maintenance problems that pose potential hazards:
  • How likely is the problem to cause an injury? The more likely a given problem is to cause an injury, the more unreasonable it becomes for the landlord to disregard it. A broken stair, damaged hallway tiling, or carpeting that is frayed are examples of problems that arguably create a likelihood of injury.
  • Did the landlord have notice of the problem? In some cases, holding a defendant liable for problems that it wasn’t aware of, and therefore couldn’t fix, may be unfair. On the other hand, if a landlord knows about a hazard and doesn’t take steps to fix it, the chance of liability goes up. For potential plaintiffs, delving into questions of notice can be an important part of the evidence-gathering process. The landlord may have received numerous complaints about a trip hazard and done nothing. In some cases, such as if the problem has persisted for a long time, the landlord may be deemed to have had notice even if it hadn’t received independent reports.
  • Did the landlord create the problem? Liability is more likely to adhere to a landlord who creates an unsafe condition and doesn’t correct it.
  • Was the hazard in a location under the landlord’s control? An important element of any premises liability case involving landlords is whether the hazard that caused the injury was in a common area or within a tenant’s exclusive premises, such as in an apartment’s bathroom. If the landlord does not control the location of the hazard and doesn’t have notice about it, liability may rest with the tenant rather than the landlord. A closer question arises if the landlord had notice of the problem and didn’t correct it despite having a contractual obligation to do so.
The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez represents clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury cases. If you have fallen at a rental property and the landlord or the landlord’s insurer is refusing to offer assistance, please reach out to us today for a free attorney consultation about your case. Call us at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

Suing for Slip-and-Fall Accidents in Las Vegas

A serious fall can have lasting consequences for the injured person, including disability and even death. When a fall happens as a consequence of another person’s negligence, the injured person has the option of suing for compensation. There are several considerations for someone who has been injured in a fall and is considering a lawsuit. In a slip and fall case, the key question is usually whether the defendant behaved negligently. At the core of negligence is the idea that the defendant owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff and breached that duty in some way. If the defendant didn’t owe a duty of care to the plaintiff, the defendant, by definition, did not commit an act of negligence. The specific legal obligation of an individual or business to take care to prevent another person’s injury varies:
  • An ordinary person owes only a reasonable duty of care toward others. For example, a homeowner owes a reasonable duty of care to keep his or her property safe for guests. If a known hazard exists on the property, such as a trench dug for construction, the homeowner has a duty to take reasonable steps to warn guests of the hazard.
  • A business that is open to the public owes a special duty of care to keep its premises safe. This rule has been interpreted to require a business such as a grocery store, restaurant, or hotel to take reasonable steps to monitor its facilities and resolve problems like spills, damaged equipment, or other issues that could cause a fall.
  • Special rules apply to common carriers—planes, busses, trains, and other forms of public transportation. A common carrier owes the highest duty of care toward its passengers.
A defendant in a slip-and-fall case may raise several common defenses. These include:
  • Open and obvious. This defense is used when a hazard would have been readily obvious to any reasonable person. It might apply in a case where a trip hazard was roped off with colorful warning tape.
  • Assumption of risk, which can apply in cases where the plaintiff knew about the risk of injury and went ahead with an activity anyway. An example where a defendant would raise assumption of risk might be if an ice rink patron slips and falls on the ice.
The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. If you have suffered a serious injury as a consequence of a fall and you would like to speak to an attorney about your options, please contact us today for a free attorney consultation.  Call us today at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

Suing for Injuries Caused by Moving Walkways

Moving walkways are a popular feature of big venues that want to offer their visitors an alternative to walking long distances. Although they are usually safe, they can sometimes cause slip-and-fall accidents. When someone falls on a moving walkway, the continuing motion of the track can aggravate injuries and make it more difficult for others to assist the fallen person. A few cases over the years have reported articles of clothing and even fingers and toes being caught in the end of a moving walkway. Such cases can lead to significant injury or even death. Someone injured on a moving walkway may have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the owner or operator of the walkway. Moving walkways invariably are found in public spaces. A business or other venue that is open to the public has a relatively high duty of care to maintain its facilities in reasonably safe condition. Emergency stop switches, railings, and walkway beds all need to be maintained to ensure that someone can use them safely and reliably. This extends to changing circumstances, such as if someone spills liquid that makes the walkway slippery, provided that the defendant had notice about the problem, or should have followed reasonable practices to discover it (such as through a routine inspection schedule). If a venue fails to properly maintain its moving walkways, and as a consequence someone is injured, the injured person may have a cause of action under a theory of premises liability. A premises liability claim can be brought against the owner of the venue as well as anyone who is responsible for its actual operation, such as a leaseholder or management company. A moving walkway may be perfectly well maintained but still cause injuries if someone is tripped by it as they get on or off. Falls may also happen if two riders collide. Whether a venue is responsible for injuries of this kind will depend on the facts of the case. In the case of a collision, if an individual caused an injury by pushing the plaintiff out of the way, the “pusher” may bear liability. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped injured plaintiffs in the Las Vegas area seek compensation for their injuries. If you have been injured by a moving walkway and would like to explore your legal options, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.  

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.

Nevada Homeowner Liability for Guest Injuries

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

A homeowner’s duty of care toward guests

Homeowner premises liability is a question of negligence. This is true whether the injury is being evaluated for coverage under the homeowner’s insurance policy or litigated before a jury. The first step in a negligence analysis is to determine if the homeowner owed the injured guest a duty of care, and what that duty was. In Nevada, a homeowner owes guests a general duty of reasonable care. Whether a homeowner acted reasonably to protect a guest from harm depends on the circumstances. Cf. Moody v. Manny’s Auto Repair, 110 Nev. 320, 333 (1994). A homeowner who knows about a dangerous condition owes guests a special duty to warn them of the danger. This is especially true of hidden dangers, like a loose stair that can easily slip. Cf. Galloway v. McDonalds Restaurants, 102 Nev. 534, 537 (1986).

Breaching the homeowner’s duty of care

A homeowner may be liable for negligence if he or she has breached the duty of care. Generally speaking, leaving a dangerous condition unresolved can constitute a breach. The central question is whether the homeowner behaved reasonably. If the homeowner spilled water on a floor, creating a slippery condition, the homeowner has an obligation to make the condition safe. But circumstances matter. It might be reasonable for a homeowner to leave a puddle of water if her baby is crying in the next room and no one is expected to cross the wet floor for the few minutes it takes to comfort the child. On the other hand, a homeowner who doesn’t take steps to address a patch of ice on his front porch, like salting it or putting down an anti-slip mat, might not be acting reasonably if there’s good reason to think that a guest might step on the ice.

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

For liability to stick, it isn’t enough that a homeowner hasn’t addressed a dangerous condition. The guest must show that the injury would not have occurred but for the homeowner’s negligence. This is a legal question that is often the focus of an attorney’s analysis of the facts. A negligent homeowner is responsible for the foreseeable injuries created by his or her negligence, provided there aren’t intervening causes. Cf. Taylor v. Silva, 96 Nev. 738, 741 (1980). To go back to our earlier example, a slip is a foreseeable result of a wet floor. But if the guest who slipped on the floor was drunk, the homeowner’s attorney might argue that the drunkenness was the real cause of the injury.

Always talk to an attorney after a serious injury

People who are injured while visiting friends or family are sometimes reluctant to explore their legal options for fear of offending the homeowner. But in cases of serious injury, leaving legal questions unaddressed can be a serious mistake. This is especially true when an insurer is involved. For over 45 years, the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped personal injury clients in Las Vegas get compensation. We know how to handle insurance adjusters and can work with you to get the coverage you need. For a no-cost attorney consultation call us today at 702-388-4476, or ask us to reach out to you through our contact page.

What to Know About Falls During Wet and Icy Weather

What to Know About Falls During Wet and Icy Weather
Rainy or freezing weather can make ordinarily safe conditions treacherous. Too often, slippery ground isn’t obvious until one’s feet are sliding away. A simple fall can cause serious injuries, involving substantial medical expenses and lost work time. People injured by falls in wet or icy weather may have the option to sue for compensation under Nevada’s premises liability laws.

Premises liability and landowner negligence

Premises liability is a variation of the general theory of negligence. In a negligence lawsuit, the injured plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, breached that duty, and the breach caused the plaintiff’s injury. In the case of premises liability, Nevada law imposes a duty upon landowners (or other responsible occupants, like lessees) to take reasonable care that visitors on their properties are not injured by risks on the premises. Foster v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 128 Nev. 773, 777 (2012). The general duty of reasonable care extends to risks created by both natural and artificial conditions on the land. Id. at 780. In the Costco case, the Nevada Supreme Court extended landowner liability to “open and obvious” risks that the landowner has not properly addressed. Id. at 778-79.

Businesses are held to a high standard

The law distinguishes between different types of landowners. Businesses owe visitors a duty to keep their premises in reasonably safe condition for use. Sprague v. Lucky Stores, 109 Nev. 247, 250 (1993). A business can have liability for injuries caused by dangerous conditions on its property if its employees create the problem (for example, by spilling something on the floor) or if the business has actual or constructive notice of the condition (for example, if a visitor to a store spills a bottle of oil and tells an employee about it) and fails to correct the problem. Id. A homeowner who invites friends over for a visit owes visitors a lower duty of care than a business. If dangerous conditions exist, and the homeowner knows about them, he or she has a duty to warn visitors about the conditions and take steps to fix them. But a homeowner doesn’t have a business’s obligation to actively inspect for risks. A homeowner who doesn’t know about a hidden patch of ice on her front walkway might not be liable for a fall there. Someone who is injured in a fall can have their ability to recover compensation reduced if their own negligence contributed to their injuries.

Premises liability for wet and icy conditions

A landowner’s legal liability for a slip and fall heavily depends upon the specific facts of the situation. For businesses, a strong case can be made for liability if proper care hasn’t been taken to watch for and address a wet or icy condition. Bad facts for a defendant might include a failure to promptly post signs like “wet floor” warnings, not shoveling snow or salting ice, or failing to put down an anti-slip mat in a location where rain water is known to create a slippery condition. A business needs to actively ensure that wet or icy weather isn’t creating dangerous conditions. A homeowner can also wind up with liability if a known condition isn’t addressed. For example, pipes and sprinkler systems often freeze and break during cold weather, leading to leaks that can create ice across walkways. If the homeowner knows (or should know) about the dangerous condition, he or she needs to take steps to get rid of the ice or at least post a warning.

Don’t hesitate to talk to a personal injury lawyer about slip and fall accidents

The GGRM law firm has represented injured Las Vegas residents for over 45 years. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident and would like to speak to a lawyer about your legal options, call us today for a free consultation at 702-388-4476, or reach us through our contact page.