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Lawsuits After Deaths During Childbirth

Despite all the significant advances medicine has made in improving outcomes for mothers and their babies during childbirth, complications still happen. Over the last several decades the rate of maternal deaths in child birth have risen significantly in the United States. Birth and its immediate aftermath are also dangerous for the child. The United States lags behind other developed nations, a problem that has gained significant attention in recent years. For those who are grieving the loss of a mother or child in childbirth, a lawsuit may offer a means of recovering compensation for the devastating impacts that such a death can cause. Childbirth involves a range of common complications that pose risks to mother and child even under perfect medical supervision. But some deaths during childbirth could have been prevented if a hospital’s staff had followed proper procedures, correctly interpreted warning signs, or had the appropriate training or equipment. When the death of a child or mother can be traced to negligence on the part of a hospital or its staff, a lawsuit for professional negligence may be warranted. Professional negligence is a specialized form of negligence that applies to cases involving licensed professionals, like nurses, doctors, surgeons, and so on. A professional negligence suit asserts that the defendant, or defendants, failed to use reasonable care, skill, or knowledge ordinarily used under similar circumstances by a similarly trained and experienced professional. NRS 41A.015. To bring a professional negligence suit the plaintiff must obtain a sworn affidavit from a qualified expert witness who supports the plaintiff’s argument that the defendant behaved negligently. A professional negligence claim can be accompanied by a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death is a cause of action available to the legal heirs of a person who has died: a surviving spouse, parent, surviving children, among others. Wrongful death can also be pursued by the legal representative of the deceased, such as an estate attorney. A wrongful death claim can seek compensation for funeral expenses as well as other special forms of damages, such as the plaintiff’s grief, loss of companionship, and the pain and suffering of the deceased. The estate may also pursue ‘survival’ claims for damages the person who has died suffered while they were still alive, including any penalties or punitive and exemplary damages which the person who died would have recovered if they had lived and damages for pain, suffering or disfigurement and loss of probable support, companionship, society, comfort and consortium. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez provides caring, compassionate counsel to clients in personal injury, professional negligence, and other cases in Las Vegas. We gladly provide free attorney consultations to new clients who wish to explore their legal options. Call us at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

Water Parks and Personal Injury in Nevada

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.

The Role of Wrongful Death in Nevada Personal Injury Cases

The Role of Wrongful Death in Nevada Personal Injury Cases
Wrongful death is a cause of action in civil lawsuits that follow deaths caused by the negligence or willful acts of others. Like a personal injury case, the central issue in wrongful death is whether the defendant was negligent toward the injured person, and whether the negligence caused the injury that led to death. Unlike ordinary personal injury cases, wrongful death cases are brought not by the injured person but by that person’s heirs or personal representatives.

Standing requirement for bringing a wrongful death claim

To bring a wrongful death claim in Nevada, the plaintiff must be a personal representative or legal heir of the person who has died. NRS 41.085. For purposes of wrongful death suits, a person’s heirs are identified by the state’s rules for people who die intestate—that is, without valid wills. On the one hand, this means that the potential list of heirs can be long. In cases where the deceased didn’t have immediate heirs (a spouse or surviving children, for example) the rules of intestacy can draw in people who at first seem far removed, like nieces and nephews or even distant cousins. On the other hand, someone who doesn’t qualify has an heir might not be able to bring a wrongful death suit. For example, a life-long partner of the deceased who was not joined to them by marriage or civil union could lack standing to bring a wrongful death claim. A fiancée would fall into this category as well. Note that it isn’t enough that the deceased person named someone as an heir in their will, because the statute’s definition of “heir” ignores the will. The “personal representative” of a deceased person is typically his or her estate lawyer, trustee, or executor. People in these roles are primarily focused on settling the person’s estate, which involves paying off debts ahead of distributing the remaining property to heirs. The statute allows such individuals to bring wrongful death suits to ensure that the responsible party pays the debts associated with the cause of death.

Damages available in wrongful death claims

The Nevada wrongful death statute allows plaintiffs to seek compensation for a wide range of damages. It draws a distinction between heirs and personal representatives for the types of damages that are available. Heirs can pursue monetary awards for:
  • The plaintiff’s grief.
  • Loss of support (for example, if the deceased was the primary earner in a household).
  • Loss of companionship.
  • Loss of comfort and consortium (in ordinary terms, the loss of one’s sexual partner).
  • Pain, suffering, or disfigurement of the deceased.
NRS 41.085(4). Personal representatives can pursue damages for things like funeral expenses and medical bills. A personal representative can also seek punitive or exemplary damages. The statute earmarks any damages recovered by a personal representative for the debts of the deceased person’s estate. NRS 41.085(5).

At GGRM we take wrongful death personally

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has been committed to giving our clients the personal, caring attention they deserve. We set ourselves apart through our compassionate approach to every case. If you are thinking about filing a lawsuit in connection with the death of a loved one, our attorneys are here to help you sort through your options. For a free attorney consultation, reach out to us today at 702-388-4476, or contact us through our website.