Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How Do You Prove Liability in a Slip and Fall Case?



In a Las Vegas slip and fall case, a property owner is only liable for your injuries if there were on notice of the dangerous condition which caused your fall. Your Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney therefore has to prove that the owner was on “notice” of the dangerous condition. How is this done? The best way of showing this, is by finding evidence of prior similar falls. This evidence is required, because your Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer has to show that the at fault party “knew or should have know” that what caused you to fall, was a known hazard.

One would think that the property owner would simply turn this evidence over. However, in your Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney’s experience, the at fault parties fight tooth and nail before turning over any of this potentially damning evidence. What this means, is that your Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney has to fight in court, to get a copy of this evidence. The good news, is that your Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney has been successful in using the court process to get property owners to turn over documents of similar slip and falls.


Your Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney argues to the court, that the at fault party is required to produce all reports of slips, trips, or falls, because the prior injury claims are relevant to establish that a “dangerous condition” existed.


Our Nevada Supreme Court has held that evidence of prior accidents may be properly admitted to show notice of a dangerous condition. Southern Pac. Co. v. Watkins, 83 Nev. 471, 483, 435 P.2d 498, 506, (1967). In addition, the Court stated that, although evidence of the type here in question is usually excluded where it relates to a temporary condition which might or might not exist from one day to the other, it may be admissible upon a proper showing that the conditions surrounding the prior occurrences have continued and persisted. Eldorado Club, Inc. v. Graff, 78 Nev. 507, 510, 377 P.2d 174, 176 (1962).


When you hire your Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney, they will make sure to go over the process of establishing liability on the part of the property owner. 

 

Next time, we will talk about Diminished Value of your car after a car crash.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What is the Liability of Rental Car Companies after a Car Crash?

There are three major decisions from the Nevada Supreme Court on the liability of rental car companies after a car crash. The story starts in 1998, in the case of Alamo v. State Farm, where the high court said the rental company has to provide statutory minimums of $15,000 per person/$30,000.00 per accident, in accident coverage. See Alamo v. State Farm, 114 Nev. 154, 953 P.2d 1074 (1998); See also NRS 482.295. Once the court is satisfied that the car rental company has the required insurance, the judge can dismiss the rental company from the lawsuit. See NRS 482.305. Your Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney will then continue the case against the at fault driver. 

Less than two years after the Alamo case came out, the issue of car rental company liability was in front of the Nevada Supreme Court again in Salas v. Allstate Rent-A-Car. In Salas, the Court had to determine which insurance policy was first in line to pay for the injuries of an accident victim. The Court stated that since car insurance companies are in the business of evaluating risks and paying out claims, the at fault driver’s personal insurance policy pays before the car rental’s insurance kicks in. See Salas v. Allstate Rent-A-Car 14 P.3d 511(Nev. 2000). 


The trilogy ends six years later in 2006, in the case of Hall v. Enterprise Leasing. In Hall, the injured person settled with the at fault party and then tried to go after the car rental company, Enterprise, for their policy limits. However, the Nevada Supreme Court determined that the car rental company’s liability is “derivative” or is based on the at fault party’s liability. So, once the at fault party was out of the case, the car rental company had no more responsibility for accident related injuries. See Hall v. Enterprise Leasing 122 Nev. 685 137 P.3d 1104 (2006).
 

This is a very specialized area of law for a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney. The Hall case is notable for the fact that going after the car rental company’s insurance can be a trap for the unwary. In short, once you settle and dismiss the at fault driver, you can no longer go after the car rental company for your injuries. 
 

Next time, we will talk about evidence of prior slip and falls.