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Las Vegas Litigation Law Blog

Consumers don't understand semiautomated cars

In a new report, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed that most drivers in Nevada and across the US don't understand the limitations of semiautonomous vehicles. As a result, many people are misusing the cars' semiautomated features and endangering themselves and other motorists.

For the report, IIHS researchers surveyed over 2,000 drivers about various semiautonomous systems currently on the market, including Acura and Audi's Traffic Jam Assist, Nissan's ProPilot Assist, BMW's Driving Assistant Plus, Tesla's Autopilot and Cadillac's Super Cruise. While designed to assist with some driving activities, these systems all require drivers to remain alert and keep their hands on the wheel of the car. However, researchers found that most of the survey's participants did not understand how the systems worked and misunderstood their capabilities.

How entrepreneurs can fund their companies

Entrepreneurs in Nevada and elsewhere will need to know where they will get the capital needed to operate their companies. One option is to fund operations with a credit card in the owner's name. Ideally, the credit card will be used to buy materials or other costs that will be covered when a job is completed. Another option is to ask family members or friends to loan money or buy equity in the business.

Adding a trusted person as a partner could be a good idea if that person has a business background. Otherwise, it may be better to simply borrow money and repay it in regular installments. This can prevent another party from trying to gain control over the company based on the fact that he or she owns a stake in the business. Taking funds out of a savings account can be an effective way to get working capital with no questions asked.

Safety tips for drivers and pedestrians

It isn't uncommon for passenger vehicles to share roads with those who are walking or riding their bikes. Therefore, both drivers and pedestrians need to account for each other when using roadways in Nevada and throughout the country. Pedestrians can help keep themselves safe by using a sidewalk and by following all applicable traffic laws. If there is no sidewalk, individuals should walk facing traffic to increase their visibility.

Pedestrians should refrain from walking or biking while distracted or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They should also make eye contact with drivers before crossing a street. Ideally, a person looking to cross the street will do so at a stoplight or any other well-lit location where drivers expect this to happen. Drivers are encouraged to slow down when the weather is bad or at night when it can be harder to see.

Nevada governor signs law allowing electric scooter programs

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed a bill into law on June 3 that allows local authorities in the Silver State to authorize companies like Bird and Lime to operate electric scooter sharing programs. The skateboard-sized machines can travel at speeds of up to 15 mph and be rented for as little as $1, but they have also been linked to worrying rises in serious head injuries.

Detailed information about electric scooter injuries is sparse because the machines are relatively new. However, what data there is makes for sobering reading. Figures gathered by public officials in Texas and the Centers for Disease Control reveal that 192 scooter riders were injured in Austin in only three months in 2018, and a worrying 15% of them suffered traumatic brain injuries. A peer-reviewed study co-authored by a Los Angeles trauma doctor suggests that about 40% of the scooter riders who crash suffer some sort of head injury.

Lawsuit against HBO focuses on 1992 contract

When companies and artists in Nevada decide to work together, the terms of a contract govern how the relationship moves forward. However, disputes can arise about a contract later on, especially when terms such as non-disclosure, non-disparagement or non-competition are involved. One example of such a dispute is being played out between the estate of late singer Michael Jackson and TV network HBO. Jackson's estate sued HBO for $100 million after the cable channel aired a documentary entitled "Leaving Neverland," which focuses on allegations of child abuse and pedophilia against the performer. The documentary focuses on the stories of two men who say they were abused by Jackson during his life.

Jackson's estate is claiming that HBO's airing of the documentary violated a 1992 contract between the singer and the network, even though the contract reportedly expired years ago. Representatives say that HBO breached an agreement that allowed it to broadcast footage from "Michael Jackson in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour" in 1992 on the condition that it not disparage Michael Jackson. However, the network says that the non-disparagement provisions of that contract were no longer valid as "Leaving Neverland" was created and produced long after the contract was terminated.

IIHS: automakers are neglecting backseat passenger safety

Though modern vehicles are safer than ever, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety believes that there is one area that could do with improvement: rear-seat safety. Nevada residents should know that the increase in ride-hailing services complicates matters. Studies show that more people neglect their seat belts when riding in hired vehicles than they do in their private vehicles.

The IIHS analyzed 117 crashes where a passenger in the back seat died or was seriously injured. A third of these victims suffered chest injuries while head injuries were reported for nine of the injured victims and 18 of the fatalities. Based on the same crash data, the organization has developed new crash tests, hoping to raise awareness of the situation.

AAA: 100 deadliest days for teen drivers are in summer

In Nevada, as elsewhere in the nation, auto accident risk goes up during the summer, especially among teen drivers. Ford Motor Company says that the 100 days between Memorial Day (the unofficial start of summer) and Labor Day are a dangerous time for teens. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety goes so far as to call this the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers.

The deadly teen driver crash average goes up to 15% in those first 100 days. The reason is that teens are inexperienced and that they spend more time on the road during this season. Parties, in particular Fourth of July parties, can lead to teens driving while impaired. At other times, teens are liable to become distracted by their phones behind the wheel.

Parking lots can pose serious injury risks

People in Las Vegas may suffer unexpected accidents and injuries in the most unlikely of locations, including the parking lot of their workplace, shopping center or entertainment destination. Business owners have a responsibility to create a safe environment for their employees, customers and guests, and that responsibility extends to their parking lots and garages as well. Every year, over 50,000 car accidents take place in parking areas. These are not all small fender-benders; they are linked to over 500 annual deaths and 60,000 injuries.

There are a number of factors that can lead to unexpected danger in a parking lot. The danger of auto accidents is exacerbated when a parking lot is poorly planned and maintained. When businesses fail to post signage, paint arrows or define spaces, customers and employees are left to drive around looking for a space. Motor vehicle accidents are the predictable outcome of this type of mismanaged, poorly maintained lot. However, crashes are not the only serious risk to safety found in a parking lot. Guests may be at risk of criminal activity, including robbery or assault, if businesses fail to maintain proper lighting in their parking lots. Poorly lit areas or burned-out lights can attract dangerous activity to the lot.

Staying alert makes car accidents less likely

Drivers in Nevada know factors like poor road conditions, unpredictable motorists, wildlife and bad weather can lead to car accidents. Those who keep a few safety tips in mind while they're on the road may have a better chance of avoiding crashes. Adhering to traffic laws, being in the right condition to drive, paying attention and wearing a seat belt all reduce the risk of car accident injuries.

Traffic laws are designed for the safety of drivers and pedestrians. Negligent driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents nationwide. Failing to consider weather or the effects of speeding increase the risk of a crash.

Determining driver negligence

When a car accident results in a personal injury, affected residents of Nevada might immediately start thinking about how they can prove another driver was at fault for the wreck. Fault in a car accident is referred to by the legal definition of "negligent driving." While negligent driving has a broad definition in casual conversation, its legal definition is slightly different. For example, while a person affected by a car accident may feel the other driver was negligent, in order for a court to agree, there has to be a loss or personal injury.

One way that a court determines negligence is by looking at whether the vehicle was properly maintained at the time of the accident. However, lack of maintenance needs to be a direct cause of the accident in order for it to be a factor in determining negligence. For example, if the accident was caused by the driver following too closely and his or her brakes were worn, that may be considered negligent driving. However, broken headlights during the day when the weather is clear might not be.

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