Category: Negligence

My child was injured at school

Las Vegas bus accident attorneys

The law requires that schools must provide a safe environment for students. Once they are on school property, the school has a responsibility to their students for a reasonable duty of care. Students spend a significant time in school, and it is inevitable that accidents will occur.

In Loco Parentis a Latin term meaning “in [the] place of a parent” or “instead of a parent.”  Refers to the legal responsibility of some person or organization to perform some of the functions or responsibilities of a parent. Legal Information Institute. In Loco Parentis

Authorities must repair or eliminate dangerous conditions in a timely manner and make sure students receive proper supervision. Many student injury cases fall under the category of negligence. A case based on negligence often highlights a school’s failure to provide a safe environment for student safety while they’re on school grounds, on buses, or at a school sponsored event.

Common Causes of Injuries at School

  • Bullies
  • Slip and falls
  • Playground injuries
  • School bus accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Inadequate security on premises

Damages

The school’s negligence must have resulted in damages that are calculable and provable. These include medical costs, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and pain and suffering. If the child had a part-time job, then you may have a wage loss claim.

Let’s take a look at an example of negligence in school wherein a school employee failed to supervise students who were under her care. Johnson v. School District of Millard, 573 N.W.2d 116 (Neb. 1998). Robbie L. Johnson, a first grader at Willa Cather Elementary School, was injured while in his music class.  Nancy Patton, a music teacher taught her class the song and game “London Bridge.” London Bridge is a game in which two children, while singing a song, form a “bridge” by linking their arms. Robbie testified that he was swung “fast and hard” while caught in his classmates’ arms.  While swinging Johnson, the two children released their hands and threw Johnson into a bookcase, cutting his head above his right eyebrow. Robbie required fifty stitches to close the cut above his right eye. Johnson suffered blurred vision for a short period of time and continues to suffer headaches as a result of his injury.

If you or a loved one are facing a lawsuit for injuries you sustained as a result of an accident in Las Vegas, the experienced accident attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates can assist you. With a combined total of 50+ years of experience, we can advise and guide you through the process and obtain the best results possible.

Can A Car Owner Be Responsible For A Car Accident Involving Their Car?

Can A Vehicle Owner Responsible If Someone Gets Into An Accident In Their Car?


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Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney

Can A Vehicle Owner Responsible If Someone Gets Into An Accident In Their Car?

The owner of a vehicle can be responsible in some cases if they permitted someone to driver their car and that person gets into a car accident. This concept is called negligent entrustment. In essence under this concept, if an owner permits a person they know is unfit to operate a vehicle and that person causes a crash, the owner is responsible. Negligent entrustment can also apply when an owner knew or had a reason to know that unfit driver was using their vehicle and failed to stop it.

Who Can Be Responsible For Negligent Entrustment?

One of the leading cases on negligent entrustment in Nevada is the case of Zugel by Zugel v. Miller, 100 Nev. 525, 688 P.2d 310 (1984). In that case, a 13-year old purchased a motorcycle with the permission of his parents. The parents claimed they told their son not to drive the motorcycle on the public streets. But the son did, with a friend of his as a passenger. The son ran a stop sign and caused an accident. The passenger made a claim against the teenage driver and his parents. The parents disclaimed responsibility for negligent entrustment.

 

The Nevada Supreme Court disagreed with the parents. What swayed the Court was the son’s testimony that his parents knew he routinely rode his motorcycle on public streets. As stated by the Court, “[f]rom this fact alone the jury could have inferred that respondents possessed knowledge of their son’s activities of driving the motorcycle on public roadways.”

Under this theory of liability, the entrusting person need not have known that the motor vehicle was going to be driven on a public roadway. In fact, a parent who entrusts his child with a motor vehicle may be found liable under a theory of negligent entrustment even when the parent expressly instructs the child not to use the vehicle on a public roadway.

Nevada Supreme Court

The doctrine of negligent entrustment does not apply unless the person that gave permission is the owner of the vehicle. For example, in Mills v. Continental Parking Corp., 86 Nev. 724, 475 P.2d 673 (Nev. 1970), a parking attendant gave keys to a car’s owner who was allegedly obviously drunk. The drunk car owner then hit and killed a pedestrian. The Court held that the parking attendant cannot be held responsible for returning the keys to the owner, even though the owner was drunk. The Court reasoned, essentially, that the parking attendant had an obligation to return to the keys; otherwise, the attendant can be liable for conversion.

 

In Las Vegas, tourists too get into car accidents in rental vehicles. The question arises in those situations as to whether the rental car company can be responsible for a renter is an unfit driver. Under N.R.S. 483.610, a rental car company is required to check driver’s licenses, unless the renter comes from a country or state that does not require driver’s licenses. This statute further requires the rental company to visually inspect the license and compare the driver’s signature with that on the license. Attorneys for insurance companies and the rental companies have argued that this statute does not require rental car companies to verify that a driver has a valid driver’s license or is fit to drive a car.

What does it mean to be unfit or incompetent driver?

Not everyone who negligently causes a car accident is an unfit or incompetent driver. To answer the question of what is an unfit or incompetent driver, we have to look at the laws that says who can’t or shouldn’t drive. The easiest and least disputable is a drunk driver. The law says that a driver who is impaired by alcohol or drugs shouldn’t be driving and penalizes drunk drivers. A car owner who lets a driver they know to be drunk or otherwise impaired to driver their car is responsible for negligent entrustment.

An owner who permits an unlicensed person to drive their vehicle may also be responsible for negligent entrustment. In Zugel v. Zugel, the Court found the parents liable even though their son had driven the motorcycle a number of times. Why? Because the law said that the son, who had no driver’s license, was not legally competent to drive.

There may be other situations where a vehicle owner is responsible for a car accident caused by a driver they lent the car to. To find out if negligent entrustment applies in your case, it is best to speak to a car accident attorney who has experience pursuing claims for negligent entrustment.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident and want to know who is responsible for paying for your injuries, speak to an experienced Las Vegas Car Accident Attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates. Our skilled Las Vegas accident attorneys will answer your questions and conduct any needed research and investigation to ensure full compensation for our clients.

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Accident At Work? You May Have A Personal Injury Claim

Personal Injury Accident At Work

Where you hurt while working?

People injured in an accident while working will generally have a claim for worker’s compensation. What many don’t realize is that they may also have a personal injury claim. There are important differences between a personal injury claim and a worker’s compensation claim. One of those important differences provides an important benefit to an accident victim who presents a personal injury claim and could amount to thousands of dollars.

Differences Between Worker’s Compensation and Personal Injury Law

Worker’s compensation laws arose over a century ago to provide a faster way to provide compensation to injured workers. Traditionally, the law did not distinguish between injuries at work and injuries from any other accident. Before legislatures enacted these laws, people injured at work could only receive compensation from their employer for those injuries if they showed their employer was negligent. Employers can try to escape responsibility by showing that the employee was also negligent. In some states, if the employee had any negligent, the employee couldn’t recover anything, not even for their medical bills.

Because of these harsh results and other reasons, legislatures passed laws that allowed an employee to recover against an employer for his or her work-related injury without having to show the employer’s negligence. To provide this new benefit to employees, however, legislatures required a trade-off. In exchange for not having to prove fault, legislatures prohibited employees from bringing personal injury lawsuits against the employers, with few exceptions. Nevada’s worker’s compensation statute, for example, makes worker’s compensation the “exclusive remedy” against an employer for on-the-job injuries. Another trade-off is the loss of the right to obtain compensation for pain, suffering, and lost enjoyment of life. So, under worker’s compensation laws, an employee can get compensated for medical bills and wage loss. However, the injured employee can’t get compensation for the pain and suffering he or she endured. Nevada’s worker’s compensation statutes can be found in Chapter 616A, 616B, 616C, and 616D of the Nevada Revised Statutes.

An employee may have both a worker’s compensation and personal injury claim, however, if the work-related accident was caused by someone other than an employer. That is, if an employee was in an accident while on the clock and the accident was caused by a third-person, the employee can make a worker’s compensation claim and also a claim for personal injuries against the person who caused the accident. The worker’s compensation claim will cover the medical bills and wage loss, while the personal injury claim will cover the pain, suffering, and lost enjoyment of life. Also, if the third party who caused the accident acted recklessly, intentionally, or with malice, the injured employee may have a claim for punitive damages.

Examples of Personal Injury Claims From On-The-Job Accidents

  • A person running an errand for work gets into a car accident and is injured. That person will have both a worker’s compensation claim and a personal injury claim. The car accident injury claim will be against the person who caused the accident and their insurance company. The experienced Las Vegas car accident attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates have recovered millions of dollars for accident victims in this situation.

NOTABLE SETTLEMENT

Our client, a master painter, suffered a career-ending injury during a car accident in Las Vegas. While driving from one job site to another, his truck was rear-ended by an SUV. The at-fault driver’s insurance company gave our client a difficult time, because of a prior back injury. Nevertheless, shortly after filing suit, we were able to obtain about a million dollars in total settlement.

  • A person is injured at work while using defective product, such as a ladder, electric saw, or even a washing machine.

NOTABLE SETTLEMENT

A hotel employee’s was amputated while using a commercial washing machine at work. During their investigation, the accident lawyers at D.R. Patti & Associates discovered that the employer had hired an outside company to repair the washing machine on multiple occasions. The outside company failed to properly repair the machine, which allowed the employee to unknowingly disable the machine’s safety features. After suing both the repair company and the washing machine manufacturer, D.R. Patti & Associates was able to obtain a multi-million dollar settlement for our client’s product liability and personal injury claims.

  • An employee, as part of their job, is visiting a construction site that is not owned by the employer and is injured due to the negligence of someone at the construction site.
  • An employee is shopping on behalf of her employer and slips and falls at the store. The employee may have a premises liability claim.

In their combined 50+ years of experience, our accident attorneys have handled the simplest to the most complex accident cases. In that time, the Las Vegas personal injury lawyers at D.R. Patti & Associates have been able to obtain millions of dollars for work-related accident injuries caused by negligent third-parties. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident while on-the-job and want to know if you also have a personal injury claim, give us a call.

What is Negligence in a Personal Injury Case? (Part I)

Las Vegas Personal Injury And Car Accident Attorneys

Many lay people may use the term “negligence” without fully understanding how the law defines it and how it is applied. Generally, “negligence” refers to the failure to exercise the appropriate level of care. So when someone says “so and so was negligent,” they are really saying that person did not act in a way that others generally act. While a violation of the law can be negligence, negligence does not require there to be a violation of the law.

American common law recognizes that a person injured by the negligence of others is entitled to compensation. The underlying policy behind the concept of negligence is that certain conduct involves a risk of harm to others that is greater than what society is willing to accept. Because of that risk of harm, the law makes the negligent person responsible for the resulting harms.

To be legally recognized as a negligence claim, the following elements must be proved:

  1. Duty: the defendant owed the injured person a duty recognized by the law
  2. Breach: the defendant breached that duty
  3. Damages: the defendant’s breach of that duty legally or proximately caused injuries
  4. Causation: the injury caused by defendant’s breach was foreseeable

Each of the foregoing concepts continue to be litigated, depending on the circumstances or as society changes. This is particularly with the concept of duty, since duty, as defined, is one that the law recognizes. Some states may recognize a particular duty, but not in other states. For example, Nevada does not recognize “dram shop” laws. Dram shop laws are laws that make a business that sells alcohol to a person who is obviously drunk liable if that person injures another. For example, if after leaving a bar, a drunk driver hits and kills someone, the victim’s family may be able to hold the bar responsible. While a majority of other states have such law, Nevada generally does not. See Hamm v. Carson City Nugget, Inc., 85 Nev. 99, 450 P.2d 358 (1969).

Negligence can give rise to the following common types of personal injury cases:

In car accident cases, negligence is often expressed as a driver’s failure to exercise ordinary care. Usually, duty and breach of duty are not an issue in Las Vegas car accident cases. It is quite well settled law that a driver owes a legally-recognized duty to other drivers and pedestrians to exercise care when driving. What is kind of care is often answered by looking at the traffic laws and rules of the road. Nevada’s traffic laws and rules of the road can be found in Chapters 484, 484A, 484B, and 484C of the Nevada Revised Statutes.

What could be issues in Las Vegas car accident cases are damages and causation, particularly if there is not a lot of visible property damage. We’ve already discussed in another blog how insurance companies use low property damage to argue that someone could not be injured. This tactic of insurance companies is so prevalent that there is a name for it – “Minor Impact Soft Tissue” or MIST cases. Don’t be fooled by these arguments. Of course, the insurance companies’ goal is to pay as little as possible, and they do so by equating visible property damage to a person. But a person is not a car, is not built with metal, and every person is unique. Read more on how experienced Las Vegas car accident attorneys deal with the insurance companies MIST arguments.

If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of another, contact the Las Vegas personal injury attorneys of D.R. Patti & Associates. With a combined total of 50+ years of experience, our award-winning attorneys have handled many negligence cases arising from a variety of circumstances. We’ve handled the typical and less typical Las Vegas car accidents to commercial trucking accidents and have obtained millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Call us today.