Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tips for Riders: Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents

A few months ago we discussed some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in the United States. Although the majority of motorcycle crashes are caused by the actions of passenger vehicle drivers, there are precautions that riders can take to protect themselves.

Take a professional training course. Some studies show that more than 90% of the riders involved in motorcycle accidents are self-taught or taught by friends. Get training from a professional to learn the safest ways to operate your bike and methods to avoid collisions.

Always wear a helmet. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37% of riders killed in motorcycle accidents would have survived if they had simply worn a helmet. In Nevada, all riders and passengers are required to wear helmets that meet the safety standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Wear full protective gear. Motorcycles don’t offer any of the protection provided by passenger vehicles. In the event of a collision, your clothing is the only thing protecting your skin from the ground. Wearing close-fitting and abrasion-resistant materials, such as leather, can help prevent severe road rash and lacerations if you are thrown from your bike. Protect yourself by wearing a jacket, long pants, boots, and gloves.

Maintain your bike. Make sure your bike’s engine, brakes, tires, turn signals, headlamps, and other parts are working properly before you hit the road.

Be defensive. Many motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers’ failure to see riders. Always be aware of what is happening in the lanes around you, make sure that you don’t tailgate, and leave yourself plenty of stopping distance.

Follow traffic laws. Obeying the laws, such as using your signals, not speeding, and not splitting or sharing lanes can reduce your risk of being in an accident.

Avoid road and weather hazards. Be on the lookout for pot holes and debris in the road, and if you cannot avoid them, slow down as much as you can before encountering them. If you must drive in the rain, drive slower, leave plenty of room between your bike and other vehicles, and be gentle when steering and using your brakes or throttle.

If you were hurt in a motorcycle collision in the Las Vegas area, our experienced personal injury lawyers at De Castroverde Law Group can assist you with seeking compensation for your losses. Visit our Motorcycle Accident page for more information.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Field Sobriety Tests – Fight the Evidence

When drivers are stopped for suspected drunk driving, one of the most common methods used by officers to determine whether or not they are intoxicated is administering field sobriety tests. If you consent to field sobriety testing, the officer will administer any of the following tests:

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – checks for involuntary jerking of the eyes when intoxicated.

One-Leg Stand – tests the driver’s ability to divide their attention between simple tasks, as they must stand on one leg while counting out loud.

Walk-And-Turn – tests the driver’s ability to follow directions while dividing their attention, because they must take nine heal-to-toe steps while walking on a straight line, then turn on one foot and return to the start in the same manner.

Evidence obtained from field sobriety testing is not bullet proof, and there are numerous factors that could negatively impact a sober person’s results. Some of the factors that could have affected your ability to correctly perform the tests include:
  • You were unable to hear the officer’s instructions over the noise of traffic
  • The officer’s instructions were unclear
  • You were distracted by the noise and lights of passing traffic
  • You did not understand the officer’s instructions because of a language barrier
  • You were extremely nervous or embarrassed
  • The ground was slippery, wet, or covered with a substance that made it difficult to walk on
  • You were wearing unstable footwear, such as high heels or sandals, which made the tests difficult to perform
  • You had trouble performing the tests because you have a physical disability or are overweight
  • You suffer from a preexisting medical condition that negatively impacted your test results
Failing your field sobriety tests does not mean that you will automatically be convicted of DUI. It’s important to understand that you have the opportunity to fight the charges. Your attorney can evaluate your specific situation and determine your defense options.

We encourage you to contact De Castroverde Law Group to learn how our experienced defense lawyers can help you challenge DUI charges in the Las Vegas area.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wrongful Death Claims – What Damages Can Be Recovered?

After losing a loved one in a negligent accident, family members are often forced to deal with expensive medical bills and the impact of lost wages in the midst of their grief. A wrongful death claim not only enables the victim’s family members to hold the responsible party liable for their harmful actions, but also gives them the opportunity to recover damages that resulted from the fatal accident.

There are two main types of damages that can be sought through a wrongful death claim or lawsuit in Nevada: economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages
Economic damages include the costs incurred by the fatal accident, as well as the value of any financial contributions the victim would have made to the family if the accident hadn't occurred. The victim’s family can seek such economic damages as:
  • Medical expenses caused by the accident
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of the victim’s expected wages
  • Loss of benefits, including medical coverage and pension plans
  • Loss of the value of goods and services that the victim would have provided
  • Loss of inheritance caused by the victim’s premature death

Non-Economic Damages
Losing a loved one causes more than just financial difficulties, and non-economic damages seek to provide justice for the less tangible harm sustained by the victim’s family. Non-economic damages can include:
  • Grief and sorrow
  • Loss of love and companionship from the deceased
  • Loss of care, protection, and guidance from the deceased
  • Loss of consortium from a deceased spouse
If your family has suffered the loss of a loved one because of another person’s negligence, De Castroverde Law Group can provide you with the effective and attentive advocacy you deserve. Contact our Las Vegas attorneys to learn about the types of damages you can seek through a wrongful death claim.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Seeking Justice Through Wrongful Death Claims

When a person is killed due to the negligence of another party, the victim’s family can hold the party legally responsible by filing a wrongful death claim. Although nothing can ever make up for the loss of a loved one, a wrongful death claim can provide grieving families with the opportunity to obtain justice on behalf of the victim and recover much-needed compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost income.

Who can file a wrongful death claim?

Wrongful death claims and lawsuits can only be brought by “real parties of interest”, which usually includes:
  • Immediate family members – refers to spouses, children, and parents if the victim was unmarried
  • Life partners and putative spouses – refers to domestic partners, life partners, and “putative spouses”, which means the person believed in good faith that he or she was legally married to the victim
  • Distant family members – refers to brothers, sisters, and grandparents of the victim
  • Financial dependents – refers to any person who was dependent upon the victim’s financial support
If you are unsure whether or not you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim, speaking with an attorney about your situation can help you understand your available options.

What parties can be sued?

Wrongful death claims and lawsuits can be filed against various types of parties, such as individuals, employees, businesses, and government agencies. For example, the real parties of interest could file a wrongful death suit against:  
  • A doctor whose misdiagnosis caused the victim’s death, and the hospital that employed the doctor
  • A driver who caused a fatal collision because they were texting behind the wheel
  • An employer who failed to provide a safe working environment, which led to the victim’s death
  • An automobile manufacturer whose defective vehicle caused a fatal accident
  • A pharmacist who failed to warn a patient about potentially fatal drug interactions
De Castroverde Law Group believes that families who have lost loved ones in negligent accidents deserve justice, and we can assist you with filing a wrongful death claim in Las Vegas. Don’t hesitate to contact our firm to learn more about your legal options. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Understanding Gang Enhancement Laws

If you are convicted of a felony offense in Nevada, you will face additional penalties if the prosecution can prove that you committed the crime as part of a criminal gang. 

Under NRS 193.168, a “gang enhancement” can be imposed if the defendant knowingly commits a felony in affiliation with, at the direction of, or for the benefit of a criminal gang, specifically intending to further, assist, or promote the gang’s activities.

Proving Gang Involvement

The law defines a criminal gang as any formally or informally organized group of people that is constructed so that the organization will continue to operate if members leave the organization or new members join the organization. Furthermore, this organization must:
  • Use a common name or identifying symbol;
  • Exhibit particular conduct, status, and customs specific to it; and
  • Engage in felonious criminal activity as one of its common activities.
At the hearing to determine if the defendant should face a gang enhancement, the prosecution must present evidence that the defendant exhibited particular customs and conduct indicative of involvement in a criminal gang. Such evidence can include:
  • The defendant follows social customs and behaves like a gang member
  • The defendant uses terminology specific to criminal gangs
  • The defendant shows animosity toward certain people due to specific rivalries between gangs
  • The defendant follows codes of conduct, both routine and criminal, of a particular gang
  • The defendant knows common practices and the operations of a certain gang and its members
  • The defendant committed crimes that are specific to a particular gang or gangs in general

Additional Sentencing for Gang Enhancement

If a gang enhancement is imposed, the defendant will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment in addition to the penalties sentenced for the original crime. Gang enhancement sentencing carries a minimum term of 1 year in state prison and a maximum term of 20 years in state prison. When determining the length of the sentence, the judge will consider such factors as:
  • The defendant’s criminal history
  • The specific facts and circumstances of the case
  • The crime’s impact upon the victim(s)
  • Any mitigating factors
  • Any other information that is relevant to the case
If you are facing a gang enhancement for crimes committed in the Las Vegas area, it is very important to retain a criminal defense lawyer who can aggressively fight your charges. Our attorneys are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights and obtaining the best possible results no matter the charges and penalties they face. To learn more about the benefits of hiring De Castroverde Law Group for your case, visit our website today!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Cases

“Pain and suffering” is an important component of most personal injury cases, and refers to the physical and mental anguish sustained by the victim as a result of the accident. 

The extent of the victim’s suffering can affect the amount of compensation they receive in a personal injury case.

There are two types of pain and suffering: physical and mental.
  • Physical Pain and Suffering refers to the pain caused by the victim’s physical injuries, and can also include the detrimental side effects that they are likely to suffer in the future as a result of their injuries.
  • Mental Pain and Suffering refers to the by-products of the physical injuries, such as emotional distress, a loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, humiliation, anxiety, and anger.

Determining the Value of Pain and Suffering

The impact pain and suffering will have upon the amount of compensation a victim can receive is based upon a number of different factors. To determine the value of your pain and suffering, the insurance company or jury will consider such factors as:
  • The type of injury sustained: Catastrophic injuries, such as damage to the brain or spinal cord, will require long-term care and are likely to result in larger damages. Likewise, a victim often receives more compensation if their injury will cause them to suffer continual physical pain.
  • The victim’s age at the time of the accident: In many cases younger victims can get larger damages for pain and suffering, because they will have to deal with the pain a longer period of time.
  • The injury’s affect upon the victim: This considers the victim’s pain and suffering from the injury in the past and presently, as well as the certainty of pain in the future.
An experienced attorney can evaluate your case and determine the value of your pain and suffering if you were the victim of a negligent accident. We encourage you to contact our personal injury team at De Castroverde Law Group if you would like to discuss your case and legal options.