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Legal Blog by Las Vegas based Richard Harris Law Firm

Filed under: Blog

September 14, 2021

Pre-Existing Injuries Affecting Settlements

In most personal injury and auto accident cases, the victim will face questions from the other party’s legal team and insurance company about pre-existing injuries before the accident. People assume that the victim was completely…

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In most personal injury and auto accident cases, the victim will face questions from the other party’s legal team and insurance company about pre-existing injuries before the accident. People assume that the victim was completely healthy before the accident, although that is rarely true. Most people deal with injuries or health conditions, major or minor, throughout their life and it may be right before the accident. Injuries can vary, some being mental, some being physical, and some being a combination of the two. Generally, victims are not entitled to compensation for injuries and conditions that occurred before the incident happened. However, victims may be entitled to compensation for pre-existing injuries that were made worse due to the accident.

Disclosing Prior Injuries

It is important that people involved in accidents or injury cases are honest with their attorneys about their injuries or prior injuries. Failing to disclose previous injuries can work against you, as your chances of a fair settlement may be diminished. Disclosing prior injuries is essential because if they were significantly worsened due to the accident or injury, you may receive additional compensation for it. Also, doctors can look deeper into the previous injury and how it was aggravated due to the new accident, making your chances greater for compensation. As a victim, you should never feel discouraged to disclose prior injuries or conditions. Having detailed and complete medical records of your previous injury or condition can substantially change the current case and the compensation you may receive because of it.

The Eggshell Theory

A person’s pre-existing injury or condition may make them more susceptible to an injury in an accident. However, that doesn’t mean that they are less entitled to compensation because of that. In the “eggshell theory,” defendants must take plaintiffs as is, and they are not allowed to use the plaintiffs’ previous injuries during injury attribution. This rule applies to all personal injury and auto accident claims, and it states that the fragility of the injury victim is not a valid defense against a claim. According to the “eggshell” rule, defendants are liable for all damages that stem from their negligent actions, even if they had no idea about the victim’s previous conditions and that it played a role in affecting the severity of the injury. It is essential that the victim explains his or her conditions after an accident to their medical and legal team to be properly treated and accurately compensated. 

Proving Prior Injuries

Although every case is unique, prior injuries offer a set-in-stone way for judges and lawyers to see how the victim has suffered because of a subsequent event. It is important that your lawyer works with your medical team to provide an honest and complete documentation of your prior condition or injury. Your attorney will attempt to establish the degree to which the accident worsened your prior injury or condition, minor or major. Providing detailed medical records proves your prior injuries or conditions and gives you a greater chance for compensation. 

You should never feel discouraged to disclose a prior injury in order to pursue compensation, as it is completely normal for people to have their previous conditions or injuries worsened due to an accident. Nothing is more important than one’s health, and understanding the severity of an injury, the treatment for the injury, and the time an injury takes to heal is very important for the person and the lawyers to understand. If you have been injured due to someone’s negligence, it is important that you seek a qualified legal team to help you receive compensation. At Richard Harris Law Firm, our attorneys understand the legal system better than anyone else, and will help you get back on your feet. We will help you recover compensation for your pain and suffering, but if you have a pre-existing injury, don’t let that derail you from pursuing a personal injury claim. We will aggressively fight the charges for you and detail medical records and other important evidence in order for you to receive the correct compensation.

Filed under: Blog

September 8, 2021

Traumatic Brain Injury in Nevada

Traumatic brain injuries can be devastating to one’s life, as the effects can be unpredictable and life-lasting. Unlike most other injuries, brain injuries do not heal the same, as symptoms could appear right after the…

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Traumatic brain injuries can be devastating to one’s life, as the effects can be unpredictable and life-lasting. Unlike most other injuries, brain injuries do not heal the same, as symptoms could appear right after the accident, or they could appear months after the accident. These injuries cause permanent biological damage and could require lifetime medical treatments. According to NRS 427A.850, Nevada has a unique program to protect victims of traumatic brain injury. The program includes special treatment, such as in-home care, care provided in an assisted living facility, and special instruction in the skills required for independent living and job placement. Additionally, there is treatment for substance use disorders and support for the family of the victim. Every victim of a traumatic brain injury has the rights to these services and is encouraged to take advantage of them in order to compensate for their suffering.

Causes of a Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries can be caused in many different scenarios, including slip-and-falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports-related injuries, or even construction accidents. If you suffered from a traumatic brain injury, you are highly encouraged to seek medical assistance right away, because the injury can be made worse if you fail to seek assistance. Swelling or bleeding of the brain can cause fatal results either hours or days after the accident first occurred. According to the CDC, the number of student-athletes who have received traumatic brain injuries due to physical contact in sports have significantly increased over the last few decades. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, otherwise known as CTE, is commonly found in football players or boxers. CTE is a form of a traumatic brain injury, as it results from having multiple concussions, causing mood and behavioral disturbances. Another significant risk of having a traumatic brain injury is repeated head trauma. An example would be having multiple concussions, as it is unlikely to have head trauma from one concussion, but it is likely that after multiple concussions you would start having effects of head trauma. Traumatic brain injuries are very serious, and there are multiple causes to being diagnosed with one.

Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury

As a doctor, it can be difficult to figure out how serious a brain injury really is, as even severe brain injuries can appear mild at first. While brain injuries have life-lasting effects, some of the effects you feel can be short lasting, such as:

  • Dazed feeling
  • Pain shortly after the injury
  • Memory loss
  • Uneven pupils
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures
  • Visual disturbances

Long-term effects from suffering traumatic brain injury can be very unpredictable, and the cognitive effects can be life-lasting. The effects of head injuries are different for everyone, as some people may not even feel dazed or have pain from their head injury, although that doesn’t mean there is no injury.

Compensation for Brain Injuries

If you are a traumatic brain injury victim due to someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to receive compensation. The injury compensation includes the amount of lost wages, medical care bills, property damage, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life. Your life is completely changed when you receive a traumatic brain injury, and it is only right to receive compensation, especially if someone else caused it. If you are a victim of traumatic brain injury, there are certain documents you must have ready to provide to the court and doctors. These documents include insurance information, social security, driver’s license, school records, work records, accident report, bank statements, and birth certificate. These documents give the court, the doctors, and the person who caused you the injury more insight on how much it cost and how it changed your life, including employment. Bills for traumatic brain injuries can get very expensive, as some services may even get into the millions. It is highly encouraged that you file for compensation if you received a traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic brain injuries are very different and more serious than most other injuries, and it is important that you get help in order to get back on track. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, it is best to reach out to a legal team to talk about the situation that led to your brain injury, and if it was caused by someone’s negligence. Although no one can reverse the incident that led to your traumatic brain injury, our attorneys at Richard Harris Law Firm can help you receive compensation to pay for your medical bills and other damages that have altered your day-to-day activities.

Filed under: Blog

August 31, 2021

Youth Sport Injuries

Youth sport injuries can be very life-changing and devastating because of how serious they are. In order to keep your child safe while playing the sport they love, it is important that you are aware…

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Youth sport injuries can be very life-changing and devastating because of how serious they are. In order to keep your child safe while playing the sport they love, it is important that you are aware of how they can get injured and try to prevent it. Using the right equipment and understanding the rules of the game and how to play fair are the two most important ways to help prevent injuries. Getting injured at a young age can carry on for the rest of your life, causing more injuries that can be serious later on.

Types of Sport Injuries

Common injuries among children playing sports include concussions, muscle strains, broken bones, fractured bones, traumatic brain injuries, spine injuries, or even a heat stroke. There are two kinds of sports injuries, acute traumatic injuries and overuse injuries. Acute traumatic injuries are injuries like fractures, strains, sprains, concussions, and cuts. These result from getting tackled in football, getting checked in hockey, or falling off a skateboard. Overuse injuries are ones that include stress fractures and tendonitis. Stress fractures and tendonitis can be life-lasting, irritating injuries that can come up later in your life. They are otherwise known as chronic injuries because they can result from overtraining and can get more serious if they are not treated properly.

You can get injured anywhere on your body, but there are areas in your body where injuries are more common or more serious in certain sports. Neck and head injuries most often occur in sports like football, hockey, or rugby, because of the contact in the sport. Neck injuries are also common in gymnastics because of falling accidents. Neck and head injuries are typically the most dangerous injuries as a child, because of the long-lasting symptoms they can include. Back injuries are typically derived from twists or overexertion of back muscles while bending over or lifting improperly. Similar to head injuries, back injuries are most common in contact sports like football, although weightlifting is a big cause of back injuries. However, hand and wrist injuries are extremely common in almost every sport. Fingers, hands, and wrists are all at risk when playing sports like basketball, where the ball can jam into your finger or sprain your wrist trying to steal the ball. These types of injuries can all seem minor, but can turn into a major injury if it is not treated properly and in a timely manner.

What To Do If Your Youth Incurs a Sports Injury

If your child believes they are injured during the game or activity, it is important that they take a rest on the sidelines and take care of the injury before going back out. It is important that if you believe the injury is serious, you consult a doctor. Signs that you should see a doctor include:

  • Unbearable pain
  • Swelling around injured area
  • Limping
  • Limited range of motion
  • Continuous pain

Claim for Sports Injuries

It is possible to receive a claim if your child incurs a sports injury, and it depends where the injury originated from. If the injury originated from human negligence, defective products, or an unsafe environment, then it can be possible to receive compensation. A significant barrier to recovering damages from a sports injury is the assumption of risk, or a notion of consent. Typically, there is an assumption of risk for every sport, such as if your child is playing tackle football, there is a risk for a concussion. However, receiving an infectious disease in the locker room after the game does not fall under the assumption of risk. If you are filing for a claim due to someone’s negligence or a defective product, there is typically a cap on the amount you can claim. This is due to state sovereignty laws protecting public schools and universities; however, private schools and universities do not fall under the state sovereignty laws. It is important that if you are attempting to file a claim, you understand what the school falls under and the details regarding it.

Youth sports injuries could seem minor, but can be detrimental to your child’s health later in their life. It is important that as a parent, you take caution and ensure your child has the correct equipment and understands the rules to help prevent injuries from happening. If your child has incurred a sports injury due to someone else’s negligence or a defective product, it is important that you seek legal assistance to help receive compensation. At Richard Harris Law Firm, our trusted attorneys have years of experience dealing with youth sports injuries and can help you with your case and inform you about the seriousness of sports injuries in children.

Filed under: Blog

August 24, 2021

2021 Nevada Motorcycle Laws

Being a motorcyclist can be very dangerous, as suffering a fatal injury as a motorcyclist is much more common than suffering a fatal injury driving a car. A very common cause of motorcycle accidents is…

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Being a motorcyclist can be very dangerous, as suffering a fatal injury as a motorcyclist is much more common than suffering a fatal injury driving a car. A very common cause of motorcycle accidents is drivers breaking the Nevada traffic laws. If you want to become a motorcyclist in Nevada, there are specific laws that you must meet before driving a motorcycle on the road. Motorcyclists are required to have a class M license and wear a helmet that follows the Nevada motorcycle helmet standards. In Nevada in 2019, 51 motorcyclists lost their lives due to a fatal traffic accident.

Motorcycle Licensing

In some states, drivers with a standard driver’s license can take one test to receive a motorcycle endorsement. Legally in Nevada, you cannot operate a motorcycle without obtaining the correct license, a class M license, which can be added to your current driver’s license. To receive a class M license, you must either enroll in an approved motorcycle course and pass the course, or you can request a written and skills motorcycle test with the Nevada DMV. If you are under the age of 18 attempting to obtain a class M license, you must follow the additional requirements:

  • Show proof of school attendance.
  • Complete driver’s education.
  • Pass a vision and knowledge test.
  • Receive a learner’s permit.
  • Show proof of 50 completed hours driving with a licensed driver that is at least 21 years old.
  • Finally, pass a driving skills test.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws

According to the Nevada Law NRS 486.231, all motorcycle operators and passengers must wear a helmet at all times. If there is no windshield on the motorcycle, protective eyewear and face masks are required. The other important motorcycle helmet safety laws include:

  • Passengers of three-wheeled motorcycles must wear protective eye and face gear, unless the motorcycle has an enclosed cab.
  • While riding on a highway, all motorcycle passengers must wear securely fastened helmets, and protective eye and face gear if there is no windshield on the motorcycle.
  • If the motorcycle is participating in an authorized parade, motorcyclists and passengers are not required to wear protective clothing and gear. 

Required Motorcycle Equipment

A motorcycle must meet all state and local requirements of specific equipment in order to be legally drivable on public roads. A motorcycle must be safe and have proper equipment, such as at least one headlight, electric turn signals, front and back fenders, front and rear brakes, a working horn, a muffler, one rearview mirror per handlebar, a visible rear reflector, visible red tail light, and a brake light that is clearly visible. If you are a motorcycle owner, it is essential that you maintain your vehicle in proper conditions to keep you and other drivers on the road safe. Maintaining poor motorcycle conditions can be very dangerous, as faulty parts may malfunction or break down, resulting in a potentially very dangerous scenario as a motorcyclist. 

Lane-Splitting Law

As a motorcyclist, you have the right to use an entire lane of traffic, on standard roads and the highway. However, a motorcyclist is legally allowed to share the lane with another motorcyclist, but not another motor vehicle. It is against the Nevada law for a motorcyclist to ride between two separate lanes of traffic moving in the same direction. This action is called lane-splitting, and it can be extremely dangerous for the motorcyclist, as they are tightly in between two different vehicles. Even if there is surrounding traffic and vehicles are stopped, it is still illegal to drive between two lanes going the same direction. 

The Nevada Laws for motorcyclists can seem very strict for some motorcyclists, although it is just to keep everyone on the road safe. There have been many fatal motorcycle accidents, and it is important that all motorcyclists and passengers keep their motorcycles properly maintained and follow the proper Nevada traffic laws. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important you hire a trusted legal team to help assist you. At Richard Harris Law Firm, our attorneys have had years of experience dealing with cases dealing with motorcycle accidents, and are more than willing to aggressively fight the case by your side to ensure proper compensation.

Filed under: Blog

August 17, 2021

Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Nevada

Like all states, Nevada has specific laws governing wrongful death claims. A wrongful death lawsuit occurs when a victim dies or is killed as a result of someone else’s negligence. In these very unfortunate cases,…

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Like all states, Nevada has specific laws governing wrongful death claims. A wrongful death lawsuit occurs when a victim dies or is killed as a result of someone else’s negligence. In these very unfortunate cases, the surviving family members or executors of the victim’s estate bring a claim for money damages. Additionally, a wrongful death action is considered a civil action rather than a criminal action, and the suspect will not face incarceration. The family of the victim pursues legal action for payment to compensate them for their losses, both financially and for their pain and suffering.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

According to the Nevada Law, there are only certain parties that legally have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit after another person’s negligence caused a fatal injury to someone else. The State of Nevada permits the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate to file, as well as the spouse and domestic children of the deceased person. If the person did not have a spouse or children, then the parents are allowed to file the lawsuit. There are other people closely related to the deceased person that are ineligible to file, such as:

  • Close friends
  • Boyfriend/Girlfriend
  • Fiancees 

Who Are the Defendants?

According to NRS 41.085, any person, organization or company can face a wrongful death lawsuit for wrongfully causing a person to pass away. Examples of possible defendants are:

  • A person who intentionally murdered someone else. 
  • A driver who accidentally killed someone on the road while intoxicated or driving recklessly.
  • A doctor who negligently killed a patient by administering standard medical care.
  • A hotel that failed to monitor carbon monoxide levels, causing their guest to die. 
  • A parent who negligently let their minor child play with their gun, causing them to accidentally kill someone

There are many possible different defense strategies the defendants can use in an attempt to escape liability. Common defense arguments include:  

  • The defendant was falsely accused by someone else.
  • The defendant is the victim of a mistaken identity.
  • The defendant did not contribute to the victim’s death, even if they were at the scene.
  • The defendant was acting in a way of self-defense when they killed the victim.
  • The victim signed a legal release agreement taking all responsibility for their death.

What Damages Are Available?

Every case is different, and the compensation available to surviving family members all depends on the circumstances of the case. The judge or jury, or insurance company, will issue compensation to the victim’s family according to the economic and noneconomic damages the family can prove exist. The finances that the victim’s family can recover for compensation are medical bills up to the time of death, property damages from the incident, funeral and burial costs, lost earnings and inheritance, loss of loved one’s affection and love, and punitive damages. The monetary value differs for every case, and there is no average settlement that can accurately estimate what a family can receive from the insurance company because of the wrongful death. 

How is the Settlement Divided?

The settlement for the wrongful death will be divided among surviving family members according to NRS 41.085. The law states that a deceased person’s heir, which is a person who would be entitled to succeed the property if the victim had died intestate, are entitled to a portion of the settlement award. An heir can prove their grief, sorrow, and loss of companionship to establish eligibility for a portion of the settlement. Once the court has heard evidence from all the heirs, they will then divide the settlement in proportion to the respective damages of each heir. In most cases, the largest sum of money from the settlement will go to the surviving spouse or domestic partner of the deceased. The second largest sum of money will go to any of the surviving children, and the rest will be divided among other beneficiaries if they can prove they suffered losses due to the wrongful death. 

If a loved one has passed away due to the negligence of someone else, it is important that you hire a defense attorney to help you and loved ones of the deceased to receive proper compensation. Wrongful death lawsuits can seem very complicated, and having an experienced legal team by your side to explain the laws of wrongful death lawsuits is very beneficial. At Richard Harris Law Firm, our attorneys have had years of experience dealing with wrongful death lawsuits, and will effectively and efficiently work by your side for you to receive the compensation you deserve. 

Filed under: Newsletter

August 1, 2021

Firm News

Richard Harris and Ben Cloward were recognized by Super Lawyers magazine as top personal injury plaintiffs’ attorneys in the Mountain West. Christian Miles, Ryan Helmick, Johnathan Leavitt, Jonathan Lee, Jessica Munoz, Samantha Martin and Michael…

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Richard Harris and Ben Cloward were recognized by Super Lawyers magazine as top personal injury plaintiffs’ attorneys in the Mountain West.

Christian Miles, Ryan Helmick, Johnathan Leavitt, Jonathan Lee, Jessica Munoz, Samantha Martin and Michael Sandoval were named “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine.

Avvo ranks Richard Harris 10 out of 10 “Superb,” the highest possible rating.

Ryan Helmick received Vegas Inc. magazine’s 2021 “Top Lawyers” award for criminal defense.

Jeff Scarborough was recognized as a 2021 Legal Elite Award recipient by Nevada Business Magazine.

Martindale-Hubbell ranks Richard Harris and the Richard Harris Law Firm “AV – Preeminent,”the highest possible rating.

Richard Harris Law Firm, Ticket Busters and The Defenders won Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Best of Las Vegas Gold awards in multiple categories.

Spirit of Nevada, the weekly video series presented by the Richard Harris Law Firm, is in its 5th year and has millions of views on social media. The show also airs weekly on COX YurView channel 14 from Las Vegas and on KOLO channel 8 from Reno.

Real Vegas magazine gave its 2021 “Women Who Wow” honors to firm members Julianne Harris Stone, Jessica Munoz, Kristina Weller, Melissa Graham, Nancy Bernstein, Nia Killebrew, Samantha Chian and Samantha Martin.

Ryan Helmick was interviewed by local and national news media for his representation of a Las Vegas father whom police briefly sought in connection with the suspected killing of his son — only to be cleared hours later when the boy was found alive.

With 30 lawyers and over 7,500 pending cases, the Richard Harris Law Firm is Nevada’s largest plaintiff personal injury practice.

Filed under: Blog

August 10, 2021

Jaywalking Laws In Nevada

At some point, almost everyone has jaywalked, although it is illegal. All pedestrians who want to cross a street must only do so in a clearly marked crosswalk and at the right angles of the…

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At some point, almost everyone has jaywalked, although it is illegal. All pedestrians who want to cross a street must only do so in a clearly marked crosswalk and at the right angles of the curb. The Nevada Law prohibits jaywalking, which is when a pedestrian crosses a street that is not marked as a clear crosswalk. Jaywalking is more regularly enforced in Nevada in places such as downtown Las Vegas, The Strip, downtown Reno, or any other populated area with many pedestrians and drivers. Typically, police officers will issue citations for jaywalking similarly as they would for a traffic ticket.

Penalties for Jaywalking in Nevada

Jaywalking is considered a misdemeanor in Nevada, and the fine for jaywalking varies depending on the city in Nevada you are in. For example, a fine for jaywalking in Las Vegas is $160 and the fine for jaywalking in Reno is $115. Jaywalking is a minor offense, and may serve as a plea bargain if the defendant is facing more serious criminal charges. For example, if the defendant was charged with shoplifting, they may plea bargain and the shoplifting charge could be lowered to a jaywalking charge. If you get convicted for jaywalking, you will not receive any demerit points or have your driver’s license revoked.

Defenses to Jaywalking in Nevada

It is very common for people who are cited for jaywalking to just pay the fine without disputing the charge. However, there are various defenses that the defendant can explore if they do wish to fight the charge.

  • The defendant crossed at a clearly marked crosswalk and the police officer mistakenly thought the defendant was not in the crosswalk.
  • The police officer mistakenly cited the wrong person and misidentified the alleged jaywalker.
  • There was an emergency situation, such as an out-of-control vehicle or a tree falling and the defendant jaywalked to avoid an accident and protect themselves.

What Happens If I Get Injured While Jaywalking?

Everyone, including pedestrians and drivers, must follow the rules of the road. It is very common for people to believe that the law will always come down the hardest on drivers, and pedestrians always have the right of way. Although, that is not necessarily true. In the case of jaywalking, the pedestrian most likely doesn’t have the right and they are partaking in illegal activity in a place where they shouldn’t be doing it. The pedestrian will likely be found partially at fault, and any damages the pedestrian is able to cover, such as compensation for injuries, from other at-fault parties may be lowered.

Comparative Negligence

Under the comparative negligence rule, the plaintiff’s level of fault determines the total amount that they can recover from the other at-fault parties. Comparative negligence will reduce by a comparable extent the amount of any damages awarded to the injured party. If the state adheres to this doctrine properly, the courts will lower the amount of damages by the percentage of blame shouldered by the injured person. However, states can follow the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. Under the modified comparative negligence doctrine, the injured pedestrian will receive compensation for damages if they are blamed for less than half of the accident. If the courts determine that the pedestrian was 50 percent or more at fault for the accident that caused his or her injuries, they will receive no compensation under modified comparative negligence.

In any legal claim involving jaywalking and injuries from jaywalking, the laws can be very complicated, but very important. The court will make its decision based on both at-fault parties, the arguments between them, and evidence. If you are a pedestrian who was jaywalking and hit by a motor vehicle, your entitlement for compensation depends on your personal injury attorney and the decisions made in court. At Richard Harris Law Firm, our qualified attorneys have had years of experience dealing with cases between pedestrians and motor vehicle accidents. If you were a pedestrian who was hit by a motor vehicle, reach out to us and we can help aggressively fight the charge so you can receive the compensation you deserve.

Filed under: Auto Accident, Blog

August 3, 2021

Vehicle Damage Rating in a Police Report

Unfortunately, car accidents happen each and every day, whether it is on the road or in a parking lot, parking garage, or even a driveway. When a car accident does happen, people generally call the police…

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Unfortunately, car accidents happen each and every day, whether it is on the road or in a parking lot, parking garage, or even a driveway. When a car accident does happen, people generally call the police to come out and file a police report. Police reports are documents that are used during the insurance claim process after a car accident has happened. These police reports include basic information about the car accident including the location, the date and time, who was involved, and any other information that is important.

Vehicle Damage Rating

When a police officer is filing a police report, they will assess the damage done to the vehicles in the accident and include it in the police report. The police officer will assign a vehicle damage rating based on their findings, although not every police report will include this information. There are three different values that go into determining the vehicle damage rating.

  • Direction of force: Represents the direction in which the vehicle was struck. Typically, this is a number that can be found on a clock. A vehicle that is struck directly from behind should receive a 6, a vehicle that is struck from the side should receive a 3, and the vehicle that is directly struck from the front should receive a 12.
  • Damage description: Typically a series of letters that describe the location of the damage to the vehicle or the type of collision. For example, a vehicle that suffers a head-on collision will receive the letter F, and a vehicle that suffers a rear-end collision will receive the letter R.
  • Severity of damage: This represents how much damage a vehicle has endured. Typically, the number scale is between one and six. The more damage a vehicle has endured, the higher the number will be.

Four Car Damage Categories

When the insurance company is looking into the accident, an inspector will evaluate the damage done to both vehicles. Typically, the inspector will classify the vehicle damage into one of four categories. The four different categories are:

  • N: The at-fault party’s insurance company wants to see the vehicle labeled in the N category. This consists of minor vehicle damage, such as a broken tail light. Typically, the car does not have any substantial damage, like a ruined body or frame. The owner of the vehicle should still be able to drive the vehicle safely. However, if there are minor damages like a broken tail light, the owner should get it fixed before driving on public roads.
  • S: In category S, the vehicle has sustained major damage, although it can be repaired. The vehicle could have a ruined body or frame, but can be salvaged by a professional. The owner of the vehicle is not allowed to drive the vehicle until a licensed mechanic has repaired the vehicle.
  • B: In category B, the vehicle cannot be driven again due to the amount of damage. Now, the vehicle is only good for selling the parts. If your vehicle has been categorized in category B, your insurance company will not allow you to remove the parts, and a salvage yard will get rid of the pieces.
  • A: In category A, the vehicle has been completely ruined because of the wreck and no one can remove or sell any parts of the vehicle.

How Does a Police Report Affect Your Claim?

The insurance company will conduct investigations when notified of the car accident and will want to see the police report. The claims adjuster does not have to accept any information within the police report. They can come out to inspect your vehicle themselves and determine the category themselves. The claims adjuster may think that the vehicle is more damaged than the police officer, or vice versa. Overall, the police report is a good place to start with receiving compensation for your vehicle.

If you go to court due to a car accident, a police report can be very critical with strong evidence of the car accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, it is important that you protect your rights to compensation. At Richard Harris Law Firm, our attorneys have had years of experience dealing with motor vehicle accident cases. If you are dealing with a motor vehicle accident case, reach out to us for help and a strong defense to ensure compensation.

Filed under: Newsletter

July 28, 2021

Lawyer Spotlight: Jeff Scarborough

Jeff Scarborough Jeff Scarborough made his way to a career in law after standing at the intersection of legal and sales. The discourse and goals for each career path are similar – in the end,…

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Jeff Scarborough

Jeff Scarborough made his way to a career in law after standing at the intersection of legal and sales. The discourse and goals for each career path are similar – in the end, you want to get your client what they need to solve their problem. The difference between the two paths, and one area where Jeff truly shines, is the analytical skill needed to be a successful attorney. For clients at Richard Harris Personal Injury Law Firm, in Jeff they have a committed attorney whose greatest joy is the ability to assist people who are in the greatest need of help. “By far, the most rewarding part of my job is when my client is sincerely happy and appreciative at the end of their case,” said Scarborough.

Jeff appreciates and admires the greater opportunities he is exposed to in order to help those who may need it the most. At the start of his law career, Jeff initially thought he would practice in criminal defense, as he was passionate about helping those who were wrongfully convicted. He also practiced in employment law before pivoting to join Richard Harris Personal Injury Law Firm in 2017.

“When I decided to transition into practicing personal injury exclusively, I was lucky enough to secure an interview with Richard Harris Law Firm,” said Scarborough. “After the first interview, I knew this is where I wanted to be. There are many other great firms, but I don’t think there is a more complete firm in Nevada than Richard Harris Law Firm, with regard to its work environment, culture, attorneys, and staff.” 

Jeff graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a focus on International Relations. At UCLA, Jeff was a member of the Pre-Law Society and UCLA’s Ski Team. He then moved to Las Vegas and graduated from the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. During law school, Jeff also served as an Editor for the Nevada Law Journal, competed in moot court, and gained valuable experience interning for Justice Michael L. Douglas in the Supreme Court of Nevada. Upon graduation from law school, Jeff served as a law clerk to the Honorable Michael P. Villani of the Eighth Judicial District Court located in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Outside of the office, Jeff is a bit of a foodie, and takes advantage of Las Vegas’ top-tier dining options. He enjoys musical and sporting events, especially Los Angeles Dodgers games, and traveling. You can find Jeff at his happiest when he’s somewhere with a beach to relax or a mountain for snowboarding.

We’re certain Jeff would have been a great salesman, but we’re glad he became part of the RHLF team.

Jeff Scarborough

Filed under: Newsletter

July 28, 2021

Looking Back And Looking Ahead

A year ago, we were in the pandemic facing challenges and uncertainty for what lay ahead. As a law firm, we quickly adapted to working remotely to serve our clients, and it felt things would…

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A year ago, we were in the pandemic facing challenges and uncertainty for what lay ahead. As a law firm, we quickly adapted to working remotely to serve our clients, and it felt things would never be quite the same. As we came out of the pandemic and restrictions lifted, we found remote work, video conferencing and other technologies forced on us a year ago now embraced as the new normal.

As a firm, we came through the pandemic stronger. We solidified our dominance as Nevada’s largest personal injury law firm by opening an office in Reno to better serve the people of northern Nevada. 2020 was a record year for us, and in the last twelve months, we won over 30 settlements and verdicts of a million dollars or more, bringing our total to nearly two hundred 7- and 8-figure cases resolved. In over 40 years of helping injured people, we have recovered over a billion dollars for our clients and their families.

Although many other lawyers claim to have received an award for “Best” of this or that, no other Nevada personal injury law firm is rated higher than us, with board certified personal injury specialists and winners of Nevada Justice Association’s Trial Lawyer of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award and Badger Award for community service, the association’s most honored award. No other Nevada injury firm has 30 lawyers like us, over 7,500 pending injury cases as we do, or files more lawsuits when insurance companies do not pay.

There is a lot of advertising by personal injury lawyers in Nevada, and when injured, marketing alone should not be the sole basis for choosing a lawyer. We are grateful for over a thousand positive reviews posted online and for the tens of thousands who cared enough about their family and friends to send them to us when they needed help. We are Nevada’s largest and highest rated personal injury law firm for the people, and we got there by doing one thing – winning. When Just in Case happens, we will continue to deliver the best service and results possible. That is the reputation earned by the Richard Harris Law Firm over 40 years.

Filed under: Blog, Defective Products

July 27, 2021

Philips CPAP and BiPAP Ventilator Devices

Philips sleep and respiratory care devices have been recalled, as they have been linked to serious lung injury or cancer in consumers. Philips’ bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP), continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), and mechanical…

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Philips sleep and respiratory care devices have been recalled, as they have been linked to serious lung injury or cancer in consumers. Philips’ bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP), continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), and mechanical ventilator devices help provide breathing assistance to patients dealing with sleep apnea and other respiratory problems. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that Philips issued a voluntary recall for models of the ventilator devices in April 2021, and an updated recall on June 14, 2021. This recall affects millions of products that people with respiratory issues use on a daily basis.

Philips Sound Abatement Foam

The Philips CPAP and BiPAP ventilator devices have been recalled after it was discovered that the sound abatement foam, located inside the ventilator devices, have been linked to serious respiratory illnesses, lung injury, and even cancer. The foam is a polyester-based polyurethane foam, and is used in the products that may disintegrate, resulting in the user inhaling the toxic chemicals, or contaminants. Philips determined that foam may degrade into particles that enter the air path of the devices, which then gets inhaled by the user. The sound abatement foam can cause skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritation, leading to asthma, headaches, adverse effects of many organs, or carcinogenic effects. Users reported to Philips that they were suffering headaches, cough and chest pressure, upper airway irritation, and sinus infections following the use of the device.

Philips Awareness

Studies state that Philips was well aware of the risks that stem from the ventilator devices before the recall, although they failed to alert users of the product. In their company’s quarterly report in 2021, they mentioned that users had reported they were experiencing adverse health effects after using the products, leading to Philips discovering the issue with the sound abatement foam. This recall involves million ventilator devices, most of which are a first-generation device and are within the 5-year service life. Philips may be facing multiple lawsuits filed by users of the device who experienced injury or cancer after using a Philips sleep apnea ventilator.

Risks Associated With the Devices

There are many health risks that are associated with the use of these ventilator devices, ranging from skin irritation to various types of cancer. There are many related injuries that people have already been diagnosed with, such as airway inflammation, breathing difficulty, lung damage, asthma, pneumonia, lung cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer, heart attack, respiratory failure, stroke, liver disease, and kidney disease. Although the company has received many reports of serious injury or cancer, no deaths have occurred. The FDA recommends that users of BiPAP and CPAP devices talk to their health care providers for alternative treatments.

Philips has advised users to stop using the devices and consult with their physician to determine the benefits and risks of continuing therapy. However, they warned users to not discontinue their prescribed therapy without having a conversation with their physician to determine the appropriate steps moving forward. Philips stated that they are researching for a permanent corrective action to address and solve the problem.

This lawsuit covers anyone in the United States who purchased a Philips ventilator device that has been recalled for personal or business use between the applicable statute of limitations period through June 14, 2021. If the lawsuit keeps moving forward, the affected users will receive a notice of the settlement, making them entitled to claim compensation. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with serious lung damage or cancer due to a Philips CPAP, BiPAP, or mechanical ventilator device, it is important you file a claim. At Richard Harris Personal Injury Law Firm, our goal is to handle these cases and ensure compensation for users of the Philips devices. Our trusted attorneys have had years of experience dealing with faulty devices, and know how to handle your specific case in court.

Filed under: Blog

July 20, 2021

Medical Liens in Nevada

In Nevada, if you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you have the ability to sue them and receive compensation for any medical bills. Most of the time, the person fails to…

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In Nevada, if you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you have the ability to sue them and receive compensation for any medical bills. Most of the time, the person fails to admit negligence right away, requiring extensive evidence to prove the injuries rooted from that accident. In some cases, the victim is unable to pay for their medical bills and although they may receive compensation, it might not be right away. A medical lien grants a health provider the right to be paid for services directly from the proceeds of a patient’s personal injury lawsuit. Liens allow hospitals to provide emergency care to uninsured patients in order to claim a portion of any legal award that the patient could receive from the injury.

How Do Medical Liens Work?

Medical liens are generally used whenever a victim of personal injury cannot wait for a settlement to be over to claim the money. Typically, the victim would need a medical lien because either they do not have health insurance or they cannot afford to pay the deductibles under their insurance policy. Depending on the injury and lien, some liens are automatically created due to a provision of law. Most of the time, however, liens are created from a contract between the victim and the medical provider. Once the lien contract has been signed, the doctor who provided the services has the right to be paid first when the money from the accident has been given to the victim.

What if I Lose in Court?

If the victim loses his or her case in court and does not have the funds available to pay for the medical bills, the provider essentially loses money. However, there is typically a negotiation process between the provider and the victim of the injury, resulting in the victim paying half of the medical bills. The medical providers tend to be cooperative in negotiating medical bill expenses because they know that if the victim loses the case, they will be losing money. Additionally, if the medical bills are more expensive than the money from the settlement, the provider could negotiate a reduction in medical bills.

Lawyers Purchasing Liens

Lawyers began purchasing medical liens from medical providers for their clients of personal injury incidents to enable doctors to be free from prohibition against medical lien companies. Conflict can arise when the client does not want the lawyer to pay the lienholders the specific amount, or the amount is different between the lawyer and the lienholder. Liens that were purchased from the lawyer have priority, resulting in the remaining funds from the lienholders to be negotiated.

Doctors Purchasing Liens

It is common for people to believe that medical liens give you an advantage for paying the bills instead of using health insurance. Since you are financially responsible to pay the remaining portion of the medical bills that the insurance did not cover, you want the bill to be as low as possible. Doctors began forming companies that purchased medical liens at a discounted rate, causing the lien company to collect money directly from the victim’s attorney when the case has been settled. The doctor will send the client the full rate of the medical bills and will only be discounted after the bills were sent to your insurance for reimbursement. The State of Nevada was aware that the lien purchasing companies were typically owned by the doctor who was providing the treatments, causing them to maximize on their profits. Ultimately, the Nevada Law NRS 629.078 states that if a healthcare provider held a financial interest to acquire a lien that is based upon services provided to the patient who has filed a civil claim to recover damages, they will be charged with a category E felony.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident that requires immediate care and cannot afford it, reach out to an experienced lawyer who can help you with a medical lien. It is important that you seek a legal team when fighting this case, as it can be extremely difficult to receive a medical lien without one and even win the case. Here at Richard Harris Law Firm, our qualified attorneys will inform you on the details of receiving a medical lien, and ensure full compensation due to the negligence of someone else.

Filed under: Blog

July 13, 2021

Procedure for Underage Settlements

When a minor under the age of 18 receives money or other property of value, the court has to approve the settlement of the minor’s claim to either receive money or a property of value.…

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When a minor under the age of 18 receives money or other property of value, the court has to approve the settlement of the minor’s claim to either receive money or a property of value. Parents and legal guardians of the minor maintain the right to enter a settlement on behalf of their children in Nevada cases. The Nevada Revised Statute 41.200 addresses minor’s compromises.

What Is a Compromise for a Minor’s Settlements?

The compromise of a claim made by someone under the age of 18 refers to the settlement of a disputed claim for money on behalf of the minor. An example would be medical bills resulting from a traumatic injury due to playing sports, or compensatory damages from injuries originated from a car accident. The Nevada Law provides certain types of agreements to become legally binding as long as they were approved by court because a minor cannot legally represent themselves in court. The role of the court is to protect the minor and ensure the settlement is proven by evidence. Additionally, the court must ensure all appropriate medical bills are paid, liens are resolved, and the money is stored away for the minor until he/she turns 18. Depending on the situation, the court may issue the minor access to the money in order to pay important medical bills.

The Procedure Comprising an Underage Claim

When involved in an underage settlement, the minor’s claim must be approved by the court in the county where the minor resides, or if the minor lives outside of Nevada, wherever the incident took place in Nevada. The court must sign and approve a written petition in order of the compromise to take place and the minor to receive compensation. Within the petition, all relevant medical and health care records must be shown in order to receive compensation for the bills. The documents must show the injury, treatment of the injury, and details of medical expenses such as who paid for it, the price of treatment, and if there is potentially any future expenses. If the district court officially approves the compromise of the minor’s claim, the court must either direct the money to the parents or legal guardians of the minor, with or without a bond.

Blocked Trust

After the procedure of compromising the minor’s claim, the parent or legal guardian that received the funds must set up a blocked financial investment account for the benefit of the minor. A blocked financial investment account consists of a savings account, a certificate of deposit, a United States savings bond, variable or fixed annuity contract, or any other trusted investment that has been approved by the court. If the balance of the investment is over $10,000, the Nevada Law requires the parent, legal guardian, or whomever is in charge of the investment to annually file a report with the account activity from the previous year. If the balance of the investment is less than $10,000, the court is entitled to ask for periodic reports of the account activity. It is important that whoever is in charge of the investment account is informed about the rules and regulations behind the investment account. Following these rules will ensure that the minor will receive the money when they turn 18, or that it will be used for necessary bills.

Respecting and following NRS 41.200 regarding underage settlements allows the defendant and insurance company to know that the incident has been resolved and the settlement has come to an end. This is the most clear way to avoid potential issues that could appear in the future. If you or a loved one is a minor who has been injured and looking for compensation, Richard Harris Personal Injury Law Firm has attorneys with years of experience involved in cases including underage settlements. Our attorneys will aggressively work the case and ensure that you receive compensation and the money is stored away in a blocked financial investment account until you turn 18.

Filed under: Blog

July 6, 2021

Nevada Labor Laws

Regarding labor and right to pay laws, every state is unique and has its own policies. Throughout the years, Nevada has gone through a significant transformation regarding employment laws. There are many changes in laws,…

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Regarding labor and right to pay laws, every state is unique and has its own policies. Throughout the years, Nevada has gone through a significant transformation regarding employment laws. There are many changes in laws, including overtime, vacation, wages and more. Nevada has improved on its labor laws to better help employees and give them benefits that they deserve.

Minimum Wage and Overtime

Starting July 1, 2021, the minimum wage in Nevada will be raised to $9.75 an hour for employees who are not offered qualifying health benefits. The minimum wage will be $8.75 an hour for those who are offered qualifying health benefits. Due to the increase of minimum wage, there is an increase to the threshold for daily overtime. Nevada recognizes that daily overtime is working more than 8 hours in a 24-hour period. Nevada also recognizes overtime as working more than 40 hours per week. Employees who earn less than $13.13 per hour and are offered qualifying health benefits from their employers are entitled to overtime whenever they work more than 8 hours in a 24-hour period or more than 40 hours per workweek. Employees that are earning more than that threshold amount are only entitled to overtime by working more than 40 hours per workweek. Nevada Law requires overtime pay at the rate of 1 ½ times the employee’s standard hourly wage. Nevada exempts executive and administrative employees from receiving overtime wages due to their status.

Meals and Breaks

According to the Nevada labor laws, employers are required to provide employees with a meal period of at least 30 minutes when they are working for a continuous period of 8 hours. Employers are also required to provide employees with a minimum 10-minute break for every 4 continuous hours worked. The breaks given by the employer are required to be paid breaks, by Nevada labor law. If an employee is working less than 3 ½ hours, the employer is not required to give them a 10-minute break. There are certain exceptions where an employee may not be able to receive a paid meal or break, such as if they are the only employee at the place of employment. Also, an employee may be able to decline their meal or break if they wish, and continue working. The specific meal and break time period includes:

  • One 10-minute break if the employee works at least 3 ½ continuous hours and less than 7 continuous hours.
  • Two 10-minute breaks if the employee works at least 7 continuous hours and less than 11 continuous hours.
  • Three 10-minute breaks if the employee works at least 11 continuous hours and less than 15 continuous hours.
  • Four 10-minute breaks if the employee works at least 15 continuous hours and less than 19 continuous hours.

Vacation and Illness Leave

According to Nevada labor laws, employers are not required to provide employees with either paid or unpaid vacation leave. As an employer, you have the ability to decide whether or not you want to give your employees the benefit of taking a vacation leave. The employer has full power deciding the policies regarding vacation leave, and they are able to decide whether or not vacation is allowed, and the length of it. Regarding illness leave, the Nevada law does not require employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid illness leave. Similar to vacation leave, the employer has the utmost power to decide the policies regarding illness leave. The employer must follow the illness leave policy written in the employer contract and may be required to provide an employee with unpaid illness leave according to the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Jury Duty and Voting Leave

As an employer, you are not required to pay an employee for the time spent serving on Jury Duty. Additionally, an employer is not allowed to terminate or threaten to terminate an employee for serving on Jury Duty. The Nevada Law requires employers to provide paid voting leave to employees to vote, if there is not enough time for employees to vote before or after their work shift. The requirements following voting leave include:

  • One hour if the voting place is 2 or fewer miles from the workplace.
  • Two hours if the voting place is more than 2 miles but fewer than 10 miles from the workplace.
  • Three hours if the voting place is more than 10 miles from the workplace.

The State of Nevada has made many changes to improve the working conditions for the most fair opportunity between employers and employees. If you or a loved one has undergone unfair circumstances in the workplace, it is important that you reach out to a qualified legal team to hear about your case. Here at Richard Harris Law Firm, our attorneys have extensive experience with dealing with Nevada labor laws and could assist you with your unique case to ensure fairness in your workplace, whether you are an employer or employee.

Filed under: Blog, Immigration, Workers Compensation

June 29, 2021

Undocumented Immigrants, Workers’ Compensation and Driver Authorization in Nevada

Undocumented immigrants are entitled to workers’ compensation and other benefits in Nevada and elsewhere in the United States. As employees, they have access to benefits such as medical treatment, temporary disability, permanent disability, and death…

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Undocumented immigrants are entitled to workers’ compensation and other benefits in Nevada and elsewhere in the United States. As employees, they have access to benefits such as medical treatment, temporary disability, permanent disability, and death benefits. Undocumented immigrants are allowed every same benefit as a normal employee, besides vocational rehabilitation services. This law has been controversial since it was signed, as some people believe as workers they deserve compensation and benefits, while others believe that as an illegal immigrant they should not be entitled to worker’s compensation. The Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits discrimination based on someone’s citizenship status. Undocumented immigrants also may be able to drive in Nevada with a driver authorization card, without getting in trouble with the police.

Undocumented Immigrants’ Worker’s Compensation Benefits

In Nevada, an employee is someone who is in service of an employer, whether or not they are lawfully or unlawfully employed. Regardless of immigration status, all employees who get injured at work have workers’ compensation rights. Benefits that all employees receive provide medical treatment, monetary compensation, and mileage reimbursement. An undocumented immigrant can obtain their benefits by filing a claim for worker’s compensation. For example, if a man who was a bellhop at a hotel fell and injured his leg, he would be eligible for all of those benefits, such as medical treatment. Although they are entitled to all of those benefits, there is no obligation for an employer to provide vocational rehabilitation services to an undocumented immigrant.

Undocumented Immigrants Driving in Nevada

Undocumented immigrants in Nevada are unable to receive a driver’s license, but they are eligible to receive a a driver authorization card. A driver authorization card is very similar to a driver’s license, besides that they are not valid identification to use in certain situations, such as boarding an airplane. Undocumented immigrants may be able to receive a driver authorization card without showing a birth certificate or a United States passport. It is illegal for the DMV to report an undocumented immigrant to ICE, under the Nevada Law NRS 481.063.

How to Receive a Driver Authorization Card

There are specific requirements and documented that the undocumented immigrant must be able to meet in order to apply for a driver authorization card.

  • Proof of Identification
  • Proof of Nevada residency
  • Translations of any non-English documents

If an undocumented immigrant has any unpaid traffic tickets or a suspended license, they are not eligible for a driver authorization card in Nevada. They must be able to show proof of identity by a U.S. military ID card, a U.S. Certificate of degree of Indian blood, or a DD Form 214, which is a certificate of release or discharge from Active Duty. If they are unable to provide one of those, they can show proof of identity by showing two documents that include a U.S. driver’s license, a U.S. driver authorization card, a foreign birth certificate, or a consular ID card. Undocumented immigrants must show proof of residence by showing two documents such as a rent receipt, public utility record, lease of a residence, employment check stub, bank or credit card statement, state or federal court document, record from a Nevada School, voter registration card, or public assistance receipt of benefits.

Driver Authorization Card Restrictions

There are a number of restrictions that follow receiving a driver authorization card in Nevada. You are not allowed to drive commercial vehicles with a driver authorization card, as they require a commercial driver’s license. Once a driver authorization card is issued, there are four years of driving until it expires. Drivers should be allowed to drive in any state with an issued driver authorization card from Nevada, although it depends on the DMV laws in that state. If you are pulled over in Nevada without a driver’s license or a driver authorization card, you will typically be charged with a misdemeanor, facing up to 6 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.

Rules and regulations concerning undocumented immigrants in Nevada can be very confusing at times, and it is important that you have an experienced legal team. If you or a loved one is an undocumented immigrant and has gotten hurt on the job, Richard Harris Law Firm has qualified attorneys that will make sure you receive worker’s compensation. Richard Harris Law Firm will also inform you about the rules of the road and assist you with how to receive a driver authorization card, as long as you are eligible.

Filed under: Blog, Workers Compensation

June 22, 2021

Nevada Workers’ Compensation Laws

Injuries at work happen daily, as it is very common for someone to be involved in a slip and fall accident. Although it is unfortunate, many people break bones and are diagnosed with other serious…

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Injuries at work happen daily, as it is very common for someone to be involved in a slip and fall accident. Although it is unfortunate, many people break bones and are diagnosed with other serious illnesses every year from the workplace. Nevada law requires that all private employers with one or more employees to have workers compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance pays for medical bills, lost wages, and any permanent disability suffered by workers who get injured while on the job. Employees cannot receive workers’ compensation if they are not actively on the job while they were injured. There are many steps to receiving benefits from workers’ compensation and filing a claim.

Who Qualifies for Workers’ Compensation?

Nevada workers’ compensation covers injuries that happen within the time period of your employment. If you get injured while working on the job, or doing a duty for your boss out of the workplace, you will most likely be qualified for compensation. Typically, injuries that occur outside of work, at home for example, you will not be granted workers’ compensation because you are not on the job. Examples of injuries that you would be compensated for if you were on the job would be a broken bone due to falling, or developing an illness due to the harmful toxins in your workplace. The Nevada workers’ compensation law does not require employees who get injured to use their own insurance.

What are the Benefits of Workers’ Compensation?

When you get injured at work and file for workers’ compensation, and it successfully goes through, there are some benefits you are entitled to. These benefits include:

  • Medical bills
  • Physical therapy and other treatments to help you heal
  • Temporary Disability
    • Temporary Disability includes benefits that are two-thirds of your monthly wages, that you can receive until your doctor determines you are no longer eligible for it as you have reached maximum medical improvement.
  • Permanent Disability
    • If you are found to be permanently disabled due to a workplace injury, you will receive two-thirds of your monthly wages as long as you are still permanently disabled.
  • Temporary Partial Disability
    • If you are partially disabled and can still work, you will receive two-thirds between your monthly wages and the amount you are currently making after the injury.
  • Permanent Partial Disability
    • The amount of money you receive for permanent partial disability is based on the disability, your age, and your previous wage.

How to Receive the Benefits

There are specific steps that are needed to take to ensure you receive the benefits.

  • Give your employer a completed notice of injury or disease form
    • You must give your employer a C-1 form within seven days of the injury. If you submit this form after seven days, your employer has the ability to deny the claim.
  • Pursue medical treatment
    • It is important you get medical treatment as soon as possible, and ask your employer to inform you on which doctors you are able to visit.
  • Have your doctor fill out an employee compensation report after first treatment
    • When you visit the doctor, it is important you inform them you are seeking workers’ compensation because of the work related injury and they will fill out a C-4 form. Within three days of the appointment, you must show the C-4 form to your employer’s insurance. Once you submit this form, your employer has 30 days to either accept or decline the form.

Injuries at work can be very serious, and it is common for workers’ compensation claims to get denied, either by the employer or the employer’s insurance. If it does get denied, you have the right to appeal the claim under state law. Workers’ compensation claims in Nevada can be very difficult to overcome by yourself, that’s why it is highly suggested that you have a legal team by your side to represent you in court. Richard Harris Law Firm will aid you with developing a firm case to ensure you receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Filed under: Blog, Premises Liability, Slip & Fall

June 15, 2021

Can a Landlord Be Held Liable in a Slip and Fall Accident?

Being involved in a slip and fall accident is common, but can be very scary because it can lead to some serious injuries. These injuries that can come from a slip and fall accident can…

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Being involved in a slip and fall accident is common, but can be very scary because it can lead to some serious injuries. These injuries that can come from a slip and fall accident can hold you back from work and maybe even cause you to need medical treatment. If you are renting an apartment or a house, you will have a landlord that owns the property. Landlords are required to keep the property free from dangers that could cause a slip and fall, so you don’t get injured. If you do get injured from a slip and fall accident, you may be able to file a landlord liability claim if it is caused by your landlord’s negligence. However, circumstances vary, and your landlord may or may not be liable for your injury. You should discuss your particular situation with an attorney experienced in slip and fall accidents.

Landlord Negligence

Landlords are not always liable for every accident and injury that occurs on their property. If you are injured, the first thing you need to do is prove that your injury was caused by a negligent accident by your landlord. Two examples would be proving your landlord created an unsafe condition that led to the slip and fall, or knew about the hazard and did nothing to correct it. For example, if there has been a leak under your sink for a while and it caused the floor to be wet, causing you to slip and fall, your landlord may be liable. The question if your landlord would be held liable would depend on if they knew about the leak or not. If you were not home and the leak began to happen, causing you to slip when you got home, your landlord would not be held liable because there is no way they would have known about the leak. If you mentioned the leak to your landlord before and they neglected it, they could be held liable for your injuries. In the lease, the landlord will have stated your responsibilities as a tenant, and that will be used in court to determine if they are held liable or not.

Exterior Slip and Fall

There are certain conditions where your landlord could be held liable on a slip and fall in the backyard or in the front of the property. For example, if you were in front of your house on the sidewalk and slipped and fell due to a bunch of snow and ice there, your landlord may be liable. The landlord’s liability will all depend on what is stated in the lease, and if he is responsible for shoveling snow outside of the property. If in the lease it states you are responsible for any outdoor cleaning, such as shoveling the snow, then you are responsible for the slip and fall and they will not be held liable. Another example could be the exterior stairs of your house or apartment. If the stairs are defective in some way, including being broken or violating relevant building codes, that would be a firm case for the tenant that the landlord is likely at fault. If the tenant slipped and fell on the stairs due to a foreign substance that spilled on the stairs, the tenant will most likely be responsible for it because the landlord would have no way of knowing that there was a foreign substance spilled on the stairs.

Evidence

If you do get injured due to a slip and fall accident, you must take photos of where it happened, your injuries, and any other important details that would be brought up in court. It is very unlikely that you would win a slip and fall case if you showed no evidence of any injuries or the condition of where it happened. Having a visual record means a lot in court and can be the deciding factor in determining whether or not the landlord will be held liable for a slip and fall accident.

Proving liability in a slip and fall accident can be very difficult, which is why having a trusted legal team represent you is highly recommended to ensure you receive compensation. Here at Richard Harris Personal Injury Law Firm, our experienced attorneys will teach you about the rights you have as a tenant, and what the next step is moving forward. A slip and fall can lead to serious injuries, and we want to help you from being held liable if it was due to the negligence of your landlord.

Filed under: Blog

June 8, 2021

Punitive Damages Law

In an injury case, people often think about the lost wages or the medical bills. Although those are very important, victims of injury cases have the right to claim compensation for non-economic damages, including pain…

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In an injury case, people often think about the lost wages or the medical bills. Although those are very important, victims of injury cases have the right to claim compensation for non-economic damages, including pain or suffering. Punitive damages are a specific type of compensation that becomes available when you’re hurt due to a personal injury. It is a financial compensation you can receive when you’re injured because the other party is acting in an oppressive way. The Nevada Law 42.005 states the law for punitive damages in Las Vegas Injury cases.

What Is the Purpose of Punitive Damages?

The point of punitive damages is to punish a defendant when they are accused of appalling conduct. Punitive damages are intended to punish the specific defendant when they deserve punishment. Punitive damages are rare, and are only awarded in specific cases because they are designed in a way to punish the defendant. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not based on your losses, including medical bills.

What Is the Nevada Law?

Under NRS 42.005, a plaintiff can receive punitive damages when the defendant’s conduct consists of:

  • “Fraud,” which is an intentional misrepresentation or deception, of a material fact known to the defendant and made with the intent to deprive you of your rights or property.
  • “Malice,” which is a conduct intended to injure you, or disregarding your rights and your safety.
  • “Oppression,” which is despicable conduct that subjects you to cruel and unusual hardship with disregard for your rights.

In Nevada, punitive damages are generally capped at $300,000 if the amount of compensatory damages are less than $100,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages if they are more than $100,000. These limits do not apply in specific cases involving defamation, defective products, exposure to hazardous materials, or an insurer who refuses to pay in bad faith. The jury decides if you get punitive damages and if either side disagrees, they can appeal the case. As long as someone is responsible for at least 50% of the damages, you are entitled for compensation. The defendant’s ability to pay punitive damages is meant to be painful, and is a factor in determining the punitive damages award.

How Do You Collect the Money?

Receiving a punitive damages award in either a personal injury case or an accident has three specific steps:

  • You have to win your case.
  • You have to ask for punitive damages and the jury has to agree that a punitive damages award is warranted.
  • If the jury agrees that the damages are warranted, there will be a following proceeding to determine the size of the punitive damages award you should receive.

Are Punitive Damages Available in a Labor Claim?

If you are suing an employer due to wrongful acts of the employee, you must show that:

  • The employer knew the employee was a risk to the rights and safety of others around.
  • The employer authorized the wrongful act by the employee.
  • The employer was personally guilty of fraud, malice, or oppression.

If the employer is a corporation, they are not liable for punitive damages unless an officer or director of the corporation is guilty for committing an act above, or the employer was authorized to ratify the employee’s conduct on behalf of the corporation.

If you are injured, our skilled attorneys can help you determine whether or not your case qualifies for punitive damages. If you are eligible for punitive damages, Richard Harris Law Firm will assist you with developing a strong case to prove how the defendant acted with bad intentions. Our attorneys will be with you every step of the way to ensure you receive the justice you deserve in court.

Filed under: Blog, Workers Compensation

June 1, 2021

Injured at Work?

Although the workplace should be hazard-free, injuries at work are common on a day to day basis. Getting injured at work is not something you should plan for, but should be thought about due to…

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Although the workplace should be hazard-free, injuries at work are common on a day to day basis. Getting injured at work is not something you should plan for, but should be thought about due to how common it is. If you do get injured at work, you should immediately contact your supervisor and tell them about your injury. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were around 2.8 million cases related to workplace injuries in 2020. Causes of workplace accidents include overexertion, slip-and-fall accidents, traffic accidents, workplace violence, and exposure to dangerous substances or working conditions. There are five common mistakes that employees who are injured at work make, which can result in losing compensation.

Not Reporting the Injury in a Timely Manner

Ignoring your injury, or waiting to report it, may bring into question the legitimacy of the injury and your integrity. In the State of Nevada, workers are required to report their injuries within seven days of the accident causing an injury. Delaying the report of your injury can be used as a defense by your employer’s insurance company. These time requirements differ depending on the state.

Failure to Disclose Previous Injuries

If you were injured at work previously, you should disclose that information to your employer. Failing to report a previous incident could ultimately result in you losing your compensation completely. If your pre-existing injury worsened due to an incident at work, your employer has to compensate you for the medical bills.

Not Reporting All Injuries

The most common mistake is failing to report the total extent of your injuries at work to the doctor. Although some injuries could seem minor at the time of the incident, additional symptoms could emerge days or weeks later. For example, if you fell at work and hurt your back, but also felt pain in your arm, you should report both the back and arm pain. Failing to report all injuries could result in losing compensation as it can seem you are trying to claim more than you are entitled to.

Refusing to Return to Work

Depending on the seriousness of the injury, your employer may give you time off of work in order to recover. When your doctor clears you to go back to work, you must at least attempt to go back to work. Not returning to work could also result in losing further compensation or even your job. Your employer may terminate you from your position because of your refusal to return. Doctors will assess you and place you in one of three categories:

  • Fit for work based on pre-injury duties with no restrictions
  • Fit for work, but with restrictions
  • Not fit for work

Not Seeking Legal Assistance

It is highly recommended for you to seek legal assistance when injured at the workplace to fight against insurance companies, which are backed by their own legal team. Even if your case appears to be open and shut, it is best to find an attorney who has the knowledge and skillset to properly represent you. It would be very difficult to deal with complicated legal proceedings, insurance claims, and any medical-related paperwork by yourself, especially going up against insurance companies.

What Are My Rights?

Although every state has its own different laws for workplace injuries, there are common rights in every state such as:

  • Right to consult with a doctor on your injury
  • Right for legal representation
  • Right to return to work after time off from a workplace injury
  • Right for legal representation

It is essential that as a worker, you know your rights if an incident occurs in the workplace. For example, if you get injured at work and your employer suggests you use your health insurance to pay for medical treatment, you have the right to refuse. Furthermore, if they requested you to not file a workers’ compensation claim, you also have the right to refuse his request.

Ultimately, if you get injured in the workplace, you must report every extent of the injury immediately. Workplace safety is everyone’s responsibility, but employers are obligated to maintain a safe and hazard-free workplace. It is also highly recommended to hire a personal injury attorney to help you deal with the incident. Here at Richard Harris Law Firm, our personal injury attorney team wants to make sure you get full compensation and avoid the common pitfalls that could harm your claim.

Filed under: Blog, Workers Compensation

May 25, 2021

Worker’s Comp for Stress and Anxiety

Do you struggle with extreme stress or anxiety related to your occupation? The reality is, we all have experienced stress in our day-to-day lives, some of us more than others. There are days where the…

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Do you struggle with extreme stress or anxiety related to your occupation? The reality is, we all have experienced stress in our day-to-day lives, some of us more than others. There are days where the toughest of us struggle, too. Coping mechanisms and tactics may help in stress relief, but for extreme cases, the toll one’s work or career has taken on their physical and mental health may have a lasting effect on their life. In Nevada, commuting and downtown traffic or uncertain job safety may be major components adding to the stress and anxiety of individuals. If you or someone you love has been seriously impacted by stress and anxiety related to their work, they may be eligible for compensation or additional assistance. Legal options available to you or your loved one, in regards to making a claim for work-related stress or anxiety may primarily depend on if it resulted in mental or physical injuries. 

Common Causes of Work-Related Stress

Here are some common stressors influencing stress or anxiety levels related to work and occupations:

  • Hefty workload and tight deadlines
  • Extended hours
  • Unreasonable or unmanageable work demands
  • Lack of resources or equipment in order to successfully complete a job
  • Workplace pressures or expectations
  • Unexpected, frequent or major changes within the workplace environment
  • Changes to work duties and appointed tasks
  • Financial and or occupational insecurity
  • Over-supervision or lack of supervision
  • Lack of support or assistance, when needed
  • Discrimination – racial, gender, religious, age, etc.
  • In-company conflict between boss and co-workers, or amongst co-workers
  • Injury or harm on the job – workplace injuries, robberies/criminal events, etc.
  • Poor company or organizational culture

Work-related stress or anxiety may result in physical illness and mental or behavioral distress, resulting in signs or symptoms affecting one’s well being. Although stress, or anxiety, may be an inevitable part of one’s work-life or occupational culture, excessive pressures, unrealistic expectations or other factors may result in ill-health and additional personal problems down the road.

Signs and Symptoms of Work-Related Stress

For many, work-related stress or anxiety may appear in many different signs or symptoms, related to physical, mental and behavioral health. Do you have extreme, work-related stress or just general stress?

  • Some Physical Health Signs
    • Exhaustion
    • Fatigue and lack of energy
    • Frequent migraines and headaches
    • Muscle tensity, aching and pain
    • Upset stomach, such as constipation or diarrhea
    • Chest tightness and pain
    • Irregular or rapid heartbeat, frequent changes
    • Sleep difficulties
    • Frequent illness, colds or flu
  • Some Mental Health Signs
    • Lack of interest in occupation or general life
    • Overwhelmed feeling and panic attacks
    • Focus or concentration difficulties
    • Irritability
    • Anxiety
    • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Some Behavioral Health Signs
    • Diminished creativity
    • Diminished productivity
    • Poor work performance or a noticeable change in work performance
    • Communication difficulties between co-workers and/or employer
    • Aggressive behavior
    • Mood swings or attitude changes
    • Increased impatience or frustration
    • Failure to meet deadlines

Making Your Claim

Workers’ compensation encompasses the ill or negative impact of one’s job on their physical or mental health. Some instances may be actionable outside of worker’s compensation claims, but others may be eligible and right-fit for filing a personal injury lawsuit for negligent infliction of emotional distress and the effects of workplace stressors. In these cases, you will need extensive proof of the work-related stress or injuries inflicted, so it is important that this situation is not taken lightly. In order for consideration or further discussion of work-related stress, anxiety and injuries related to those, proof of discrimination, intentional or extreme workplace conflict or other issues will be needed to consider the impact of a workplace’s culture and duties on one’s physical, mental or behavioral health.

If you believe you or a loved one struggle with work-related stress or anxiety injuries as a result from your workplace environment or job, it is wise to seek advice from a legal team you can trust. By partnering with a personal injury professional, you may better understand your stress or anxiety and determine if the injuries you are faced with truly stemmed from your job or workplace culture.