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Child Injury on School Property

Filed under: Personal Injury, Premises Liability, Uncategorized

October 19, 2020


Off to school! An integral part of your daily life as a parent is sending your child to school. In fact, it is the law. For children ages 6 to 16, it is compulsory to…

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Child Injury on School PropertyOff to school! An integral part of your daily life as a parent is sending your child to school. In fact, it is the law. For children ages 6 to 16, it is compulsory to be enrolled in school whether it is public, private, or homeschool. Schools are designed to be a place of safety and security for our children. Once they are on school property, the school has a responsibility to their students for a reasonable duty of care – school staff and administration are charged with students’ well-being and with protecting them from foreseeable harm. There is even a specific term referring to the school’s role as acting in loco parentis, or “in place of the parent.” In the State of Nevada, children spend approximately 180 days per year in school. With that, it is inevitable that accidents will occur. Understandably so, when your child comes home with a scrape or bruise, we tend to dismiss it as the usual wear and tear from kids being kids. But what happens if your child is seriously injured on school property? Who is responsible and where do you turn? There are so many questions you may have.

Can you sue the school if your child is injured on school property?
Yes, you can. The injury must have occurred on school property during school hours. An attorney may be able to recover the financial cost of medical bills, the emotional cost of pain and suffering, and more depending on the nature of the accident and the extent of the child’s injuries. The law varies based on whether a school is public or private when it comes to what steps you must take in order to hold the school accountable for the incident.

Child Injury in a Private School
When a child is injured in a private school, parents are able to sue the school itself.

Child Injury in a Public School
Public schools are government entities, therefore, if your child is injured in a Nevada public school, you must follow very specific procedures in order to file a claim. There must first be a report of the incident filed with the school district within a 60- to 90-day window. In order to proceed with filing a lawsuit, you must then wait until either the school denies your claim, or the school takes no action within a three- to six-month time period.

Nevada school districts are liable for incidents on school property due to negligence, including, but not limited to:

  • Premises liability violations resulting in bodily injury such as slip and falls.
  • Harassment by a teacher in the form of bullying or sexual harassment.
  • Bus accidents caused by the negligence of the bus driver violating the laws of the road.
  • Injuries sustained during school sports or activities.
  • Neglecting to provide medications.
  • Discrimination of a student based on (but not limited to) race, gender, or gender identity.
  • Inadequate security on the premises to keep students safe from outside harm.

What if my child was injured by a teacher?
Nevada’s school districts can be held liable for teacher’s actions in certain instances under its waiver of sovereign immunity law, which gives people the ability to sue the school for the negligence of a teacher or its staff member. When a teacher is doing their job as it is intended, and an accident occurs due to their carelessness or negligence, the school is responsible. One of the conditions under the sovereign immunity waiver protects Nevada schools from being sued for more than $100,000 for employee negligence. They are also protected from paying out punitive damages. On the other hand, in cases of intentional misconduct by a Nevada school employee, those conditions do not apply if the school is found negligent. It is the school’s responsibility to perform their due diligence when hiring teachers and staff by conducting thorough background checks. Furthermore, if a teacher is found to be unfit for their position and no action is taken and they commit an intentional wrongful act, the school itself can be deemed negligent. Nevada schools are charged with proper supervision and disciplinary action for their employees. If the school fails to carry out this duty and a student is injured due to a teacher’s intentional improper behavior, the school can then become the responsible party.

Unlike public schools, private schools do not have a cap on the amount that can be paid out for recovery of damages if an employee is found negligent. They can also be sued for punitive damages.

What if my child was injured by another child at school?
In most cases where a child is injured by another child at school, the parents are the liable party. If there is negligence on the part of school staff such as inadequate supervision, the school may be liable.

If my child was injured on school property after school hours, who is responsible?
Nevada schools are not liable for accidents that happen on school property after hours.

Is the school liable if my child becomes ill or gets food poisoning from school cafeteria food?
In many cases, school food is provided by an outside vendor. If that food then causes your child to become ill, the manufacturer would ultimately be liable for their product’s safety. On the other hand, if the cafeteria is serving food provided directly by the school, the school is liable and its negligence may be grounds for a lawsuit.

Do I need a lawyer to represent me in a lawsuit if my child is injured on school property?
The procedures you must follow before ever filing a lawsuit with a Nevada school are very specific. An experienced attorney is necessary to navigate these strict guidelines and bring the school and/or its employee to justice for the negligence that caused your child’s injury. The Richard Harris Law Firm has represented thousands of Nevada families in the last 40 years. Contact us immediately so we can help your family, too.

Filed under: Auto Accident, Blog, Legal Information, Uncategorized

September 9, 2019

Auto Accident Series (Part 12) – Mediation and Arbitration: how might they fit?

Your lawyer will let you know if they feel that use of Arbitration and Mediation may assist in bringing your dispute over a fair settlement to a conclusion in your favor. These two methods have…

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Your lawyer will let you know if they feel that use of Arbitration and Mediation may assist in bringing your dispute over a fair settlement to a conclusion in your favor. These two methods have been gaining greater traction over the last several years, and in some cases, they are required by the courts during the pre-trial phase. Since these methods are gaining in popularity, an understanding of why and under what circumstances they may be used to resolve disputes is probably in order.

Your dispute is, that you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you’ve completed your treatments, and been released from medical care, your lawyer has submitted a Demand to the Insurance Company which, for any number of reasons, has not resulted in a settlement. After negotiating with the insurance company, your lawyer has chosen to sue in order to obtain a fair settlement for you. In our last post, we discussed some of the preliminary activities included in the term litigation. Mediation and Arbitration are two of the alternate dispute resolution methods that we will look at next, so you can have some expectation of what these processes can accomplish and under what circumstances they are used.

Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Mediation and Arbitration are very similar since they are alternatives to a court trial and can avoid trial completely if a resolution is reached. In both methods, a neutral third party is selected to oversee the proceedings. This person should be familiar with this and similar types of disputes and acts informally as the judge in the proceeding.

The advantages of settling a dispute by an alternate method include confidentiality. If the negotiations fail, the discussions of the mediation or arbitration will not be used in an eventual lawsuit as opposed to testimony in a court which is considered public record.

These methods are less expensive than going to court and resolve faster. The parties to the dispute determine the resolution, not the judge or jury, by directly communicating face to face, rather than through a lawyer in a courtroom.

Mediation v Arbitration: What’s the difference?

Both mediation and arbitration employ a third party to oversee the proceedings, and either method can be either binding or non-binding.

Mediation – is the less formal of the two methods. Usually a single mediator is employed who will attempt to help the two parties find common ground to settle the dispute. Under Mediation the mediator will not have the same powers as a court judge has but will facilitate discussion and attempt to help both parties settle. Typically, for our use, this less formal and non-binding form of dispute resolution is called Mediation.

Arbitration – may employ multiple Arbitrators, one of which is selected by each side, and the third selected by the existing Arbitrators. For our purposes, the term Arbitration will describe the more formal and more binding form of negotiation. In an arbitration, the findings of the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators, may be binding on both parties.

In both forms of conflict resolution, the facilitator(s) is chosen by the participants, while in a trial, you can neither choose the judge or the jury.

What to expect in a Mediation meeting?

A mediation meeting will probably take place in a conference room as determined by both side’s attorneys. A typical mediation session may be scheduled for either half a day or a full day. Mediation sessions provide confidentiality and discussions will not be used in a trial if negotiations fail. They cost less than a trial, resolution and settlement are faster,

The selected Mediator will take charge of the meeting and will explain rules and processes of the mediation. Both sides will be given an opportunity to make their statements and lay out facts which support that side’s position. You may be asked to speak at the session, at which time you should feel free to express yourself and the emotions you have dealt with due to the accident and the resultant dispute regarding settlement.

Once each side has made their initial statements, the mediator may ask questions of the two parties in order to gain greater insight into the details of the dispute. As the process unfolds, the Mediator may ask to have private meetings with the participants and will work to establish negotiations between the disputing parties.

If the mediation is successful, a written document may be drawn up for both parties to sign, which can be upheld in a court. The resolution, however, is accomplished by the disputing parties, not imposed by a judge or jury. It may take several mediation sessions to arrive at a full agreement between parties. If it becomes apparent that a resolution will not result from the sessions, both parties may agree to a binding arbitration, or court.

Arbitration Sessions are similar…

with the exception that the Arbitrator(s) have been given more power over the proceedings by the agreement to arbitrate, which will have been signed by both parties before the meeting begins. Binding arbitration means that the decisions of the arbitrator(s) are binding on both parties.

While this form of conflict resolution is more formal, it shares the advantage of having both parties to the dispute hammer out the resolution and settlement. It is less expensive than a trial and if successful will settle quicker. Depending on the complexity of the negotiations, it may take several sessions to arrive at a final agreement.

At the conclusion of the Arbitration Meeting(s) an Agreement will be drawn up to settle the case. You and the other party to the dispute will be required to accept the findings of the arbitrator(s) and settle on terms determined in the Arbitration.

The Richard Harris Law Firm employs Mediation and Arbitration to settle your case

Your lawyer will know when or whether alternate methods of resolution should or need to be employed to settle your case. These methods may or may not result in a settlement with which both parties feel comfortable. If these methods do not result in a settlement, the last resort is a civil trial before a judge and jury. We will cover that in our next installment. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, through no fault of your own, call our firm to discuss your potential case at (702) 444-4444.

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Richard Harris discusses the Legal System

Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney

Filed under: Auto Accident, Legal Information, Uncategorized

August 5, 2019

Auto Accident Series (Part 8) The Auto Accident Demand

Your recovery from your accident will be under the direction of medical providers, and specialists, who will provide treatment and pos sibly prescribe medications to manage pain.  As your accident claim progresses, your doctor may…

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Your recovery from your accident will be under the direction of medical providers, and specialists, who will provide treatment and pos

Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney

sibly prescribe medications to manage pain.  As your accident claim progresses, your doctor may disable you for a time. You may be referred to chiropractors and/or physical therapists to assist in the healing process for soft tissue injuries.  You should follow their directions to the letter. Once your doctor finds that your recovery is essentially complete or at least has stabilized, he will notify you and your attorney.

At the appropriate point in the process of your claim, your lawyer will notify the at-fault party’s insurance company of their total liability for all items which require compensation, and also how the accident has affected your life in general to establish a value for pain and suffering.  Your lawyer and case manager will gather all documentary evidence of your claim, including the police reports, witness statements, medical bills, ambulance bills (if any), time off from work and associated lost income with supporting statements from your employer, statements from other involved parties who were affected by the accident, and any other information that supports your claim.  For significant injuries which may require long term care, your doctor may be requested to provide an estimate of future treatment. 

Evaluation and Demand for Settlement
Once documentary evidence is gathered, your lawyer will then evaluate your claim to set a value range for all claimed losses.  The evaluation is a range from low to high of what we are willing to accept to settle the case. Since your attorney handles car accident claims on a daily basis, he or she has experience with similar claims and is equipped to assess what is a fair and equitable settlement for your claim.

Your attorney will prepare a Demand Letter to be forwarded to the liable parties to demand payment for all you have suffered as a result of the accident.  A strong Demand is the basis of your claim and will set a starting point in the negotiation process with the adverse parties.  The demand letter will contain a description of what happened, including dates times and locations of the accident, why the other driver was at fault, what injuries you suffered, and what compensation you and your lawyer believe is fair settlement of the claim.  Attached to the demand letter will be documentary evidence of the claim.

Writing a strong demand which will survive the attempts by the insurance company to minimize their liability is perhaps one of the best reasons to hire an attorney to assist with a car accident claim.  The demand will detail all suffered losses and will include language to minimize potential claims of comparative negligence by the insurance company, which may attempt to split responsibility for the accident between you and the responsible party and reduce your settlement.  

Most accident victims do not know how to avoid the legal pitfalls which can limit their rights when dealing with adverse legal entity such as an insurance company, and will unwittingly add extraneous information which can damage their claim, or neglect to include important language which will protect their rights in this type of dispute.  Furthermore, most people are unable to be completely objective when writing about themselves. The objective evaluation and support of a third party, especially someone who knows the law and how juries respond in such cases, is essential to obtaining the highest settlement for your claims. Correct medical descriptions of injuries and treatments are also critical to this process.  

The Richard Harris Law Firm will Demand a Fair Settlement for your claims

Our lawyers handle auto accident claims on a regular basis.  They know how to structure a demand which will establish the highest value for your claims and will protect your rights under the law.  Once a Demand is filed with the insurance company, negotiations begin, and our next installment in this series will discuss the negotiation process of a car accident claim.  If you’ve been in a car accident that was caused by a negligent driver, call our office today to discuss your case at (702) 444-4444.

Learn More: Richard Harris discusses needed documentation for a car accident demand. Richard Harris discusses the legal system

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Filed under: Auto Accident, Personal Injury, Uncategorized

July 8, 2019


After a car accident which resulted in injuries to you, you’ve now determined to hire a lawyer to assist with your case.  When you call the Richard Harris Law Firm, you will talk with a…

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After a car accident which resulted in injuries to you, you’ve now determined to hire a lawyer to assist with your case.  When you call the Richard Harris Law Firm, you will talk with a Legal Assistant known as an Intake Specialist who will gather and record general information about your accident and will discuss with a lawyer whether our firm can assist you, based on the circumstances of the case.  Then an appointment will be set for the Initial


Perhaps your first experience with a law firm is the Initial Consultation.  Many questions may be in your mind as to how to prepare for this meeting in a way that presents your case and gives your lawyer the information, he or she needs to pursue further legal action on your behalf.  Will I be required to pay to discuss my case with the attorney?  What documents do I need to bring to the meeting?  We will answer these and other questions you may have concerning the initial consultation.

Will I need to pay for the consultation?

The answer to this question at the Richard Harris Law Firm is no.  This consultation and all other aspects of your personal injury case will be handled under a contingency fee agreement.

What documents should I bring to the meeting?

Several documents are helpful to begin the process of a car accident claim.  First, you should bring your identification to the meeting.  This includes Driver’s License or State ID, Passport, Visa, Work Authorization or Military ID among others.  You should also have received an information print out from the police officer at the scene of the accident.  On this form, will be the names of all parties to the accident, including the vehicle owners, and drivers of all involved vehicles.

Information about your insurance company, such as a policy declarations page are very helpful.  An insurance card would be sufficient.  At the very least, your insurance company and policy number will allow us to obtain your coverages from your insurance company.

All of the information you recorded at the scene, including names of other drivers, registered owners of involved vehicles, insurance companies covering those vehicles; photos of the scene, damage to vehicles, and injuries received; and written accounts you may have made of the accident are very helpful to building your case.

Medical bills for injuries received, such as emergency room and subsequent doctor visits should be included in this meeting if you have them.  Names of your doctors and medical facilities you have visited for your injury treatments will be collected during the interview.

Law Enforcement will file an Accident Report usually within 10 days of the accident.  We will request the accident report from the appropriate police agency as part of our investigation.  If you don’t have this document at the time of the initial consultation, we will inquire to the relevant parties to obtain this information.

The Initial Consultation Meeting

When you arrive at our office, you will be accompanied to a conference room and will initially meet with an Intake Specialist who will spend several minutes gathering more detailed information regarding your case.  You should feel free to ask any questions you have during this meeting.  Any required information that we need that can’t be answered at the meeting will be noted and an information page will be given to you in the case packet you’ll be given at the end of the meeting.  You should forward these items to the Intake Specialist as soon as possible.  Once the Intake Specialist has completed gathering the initial information needed, your lawyer and case manager will then join the meeting.

Your lawyer will ask questions as needed, to help him or her understand your case and the circumstances of the accident and your injuries and treatments to date.  He or she will explain basic legal proceedings associated with your case and will explain step by step the process of your claim, and what to expect.  They will go over in detail the retainer agreement and ask if you have questions regarding the retainer and contingency fee.  Once the retainer agreement is signed by both you and your attorney, our firm will officially represent you in all aspects of your claim until settlement.

You will be given a copy of the of the retainer agreement in your case packet.  Your case manager or attorney will also have you sign releases of information and authorizations needed to act on your behalf.  You will be given a copy of all signed documents in the case packet.  You should ask any questions you have about this claim and the process during this meeting and establish a comfort level with your attorney and case manager.

At the end of the meeting, your will be given your case packet, which contains information about the firm and business cards for your lawyer and case manager and all signed documents.  During the initial stages particularly, but during all steps of your case, communications between you and firm personnel are very important.  You will also be given access to the Client Portal during this meeting.  We will cover information about the Client Portal in our next installment.  Check back often for additions to this series.

The Richard Harris Law Firm is different because We Care

At our firm, we want you to understand as much about the process of pursuing your case as possible.  If at any point during your case, if you have questions or concerns, give your attorney or case manager a call.  This is a time when you should be able to concentrate on medical treatments to aid in your recovery from an accident.  We will handle to details of your case and will communicate with you through phone calls and our Client Portal to give you as much information as you need.  If you’ve been injured in an auto accident by a negligent driver, call us today to discuss your case at (702) 444-4444.

Learn More:

Richard Harris discusses the Initial Consultation

Contingency Fee arraignment explained

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Filed under: Auto Accident, Blog, Uncategorized

May 24, 2018

Nevada Raises Insurance Coverage Minimums

Since 1958, residents of Nevada have been required to carry vehicle liability insurance with limits of liability of at least $15,000 bodily injury coverage per person, $30,000 bodily injury coverage per accident, and $10,000 property…

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Since 1958, residents of Nevada have been required to carry vehicle liability insurance with limits of liability of at least $15,000 bodily injury coverage per person, $30,000 bodily injury coverage per accident, and $10,000 property damage per accident in order to register and operate a vehicle on Nevada roads. Also denoted as 15/30/10, this requirement represents the maximums the insurance policy is required to pay out in case of an auto accident claim. As of July 1, 2018, these requirements will be increasing to $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident, and $20,000 property damage per accident, or 25/50/20.

In 1958, $15,000 would buy almost four brand new, top-of-the-line Ford vehicles. $30,000 would buy a new house, gas was 24 cents per gallon, and the average household income was less than $5,000 per year. So, for the time, 15/30/10 was more than enough to cover most vehicle accidents and injuries.

Certainly, a lot has changed since 1958. Today, $15,000 will barely buy one not very well-equipped new sub-compact car. The average price of a new home is pushing $280,000 in the valley, a gallon of gas is more $3.00, and the average income in Las Vegas is over $60,000 annually. In today’s world, 15/30/10 doesn’t go too far. $15,000 may cover the medical expenses of a relatively minor injury, $30,000 only represents a 10% down payment on a house, and $10,000 may repair most vehicles with minimal to moderate damage.

Drivers Are Required to Upgrade Liability Coverage

Nearly two-thirds of Nevada drivers carry higher coverage than the current state minimums already, due to the realities of living in 2018. The one-third of Nevada drivers who carry the state mandated minimums, about 600,000 drivers, will face an increase in premiums of about 9% in order to convert to the new state mandated minimums of 25/50/20. Your insurance carrier has probably already communicated with you regarding options for upgrading coverages to conform to the new requirements. If not, you should contact your agent before July 1 to upgrade your insurance coverage.

A driver who fails to convert to the new minimums, or who drops insurance coverage, is required to cancel registration of any vehicle covered by the insurance policy and surrender license plates to the DMV. According to the DMV, driving in Nevada without carrying the state mandated liability insurance minimums is illegal and will subject that driver to suspension of registration. If you are stopped by law enforcement, ticketed for driving without insurance, and convicted, your driver’s license will be suspended by the Nevada DMV.

Other Insurance Options to Consider

Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage, packaged together as UM/UIM, protects you if you are injured in an accident caused by another motorist who is driving either without insurance or who has only minimum coverage. This coverage will be offered in an amount equal to your liability coverage. For example, if your limits of liability are 25/50/20, you may purchase UM/UIM coverage of $25,000. It is usually inexpensive coverage but can have a significant effect on benefits available to you if you are injured in a car accident. UM/UIM coverage provides additional coverage that will pay benefits to you, in addition to the liability insurance that the at-fault driver carries.

Medical Payments coverage, otherwise known as MedPay, is another option to consider. MedPay pays benefits for medical bills if you are injured in a vehicle or by a vehicle regardless of who is at fault. It provides coverage even when you are riding in someone else’s vehicle or you are a pedestrian or bicyclist hit by a vehicle. MedPay can pay for gaps in other insurance you carry, such as health insurance deductibles, co-payments, or expenses not covered. It is offered in at least $1,000 increments.

Your insurance agent will be able to explain these coverages in greater detail.

The Richard Harris Law Firm is Your Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyer

Our firm’s goal is to protect responsible drivers. While we are not insurance agents, nor do we offer insurance products, we believe it is important that drivers know of changes that will affect their ability to drive and what options are available. Insurance can be a difficult subject to understand, and we believe consumers should make informed decisions regarding insurance coverages available to them. If you are injured in an automobile accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, we are fully prepared to represent your interests and see to it that you obtain a just and fair settlement from all parties. If you’ve been injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, call our firm to discuss your case at (702) 444-4444.

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Filed under: Blog, Uncategorized

March 8, 2018

Final Phase of Project Neon Underway

We held on for our lives during the “Car-nado.” We narrowly escaped the “Big Squeeze.” Finally, “The Main Event” has begun. At least someone at the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) has a sense of…

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We held on for our lives during the “Car-nado.” We narrowly escaped the “Big Squeeze.” Finally, “The Main Event” has begun. At least someone at the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) has a sense of humor, even if the results of their efforts haven’t been that funny. These are the names given by NDOT for the various phases of their Project Neon, which is a significant reconfiguration and lane addition to I-15 at and around the U.S. 95 interchange. Phase 3 of this project is being called the Main Event. It begins March 6, 2018, and work will go on until late 2019.

Otherwise known as the Spaghetti Bowl, the I-15/U.S. 95 interchange is the busiest interchange in Nevada, hosting 300,000 vehicles per day, and sees an average of three car crashes per day. The $1 billion Project Neon involves not just this interchange, but also entrance/exit reconfigurations from D Street, just north of the Spaghetti Bowl, to Sahara Avenue on the south. It is estimated that traffic loads at this interchange will double over the next 20 years, and Project Neon aims to prepare the Spaghetti Bowl for that traffic load.

Expect Lane and Exit Closures

Several lane closures and restrictions will take effect when the Main Event gets underway. Here are closures and lane restrictions to expect:

I-15 closures and restrictions

March 6 through November 20

I-15 North and Southbound will be reduced to 3 lanes each direction between Sahara and Washington and reduced to two lanes near the Spaghetti Bowl for 250 days.

March 9-12, April, May, July, August, September

U.S. 95 North and Southbound will be closed over six weekends at the Spaghetti Bowl

Spaghetti Bowl ramp closures and restrictions

Ongoing through December

U.S. 95 Southbound to I-15 North ramp closed for 400 days

March 3 through December

U.S. 95 Southbound to I-15 Southbound ramp reduced to one land and detoured for 250 days

Mid-March through Mid-April

U.S. 95 Northbound to I-15 Southbound ramp closed for 30 days

Local Street Ramp Closures and Restrictions

Charleston Boulevard Ramps

Ongoing through March 2

I-15 Northbound off-ramp to Eastbound Charleston Blvd closed for 30 days

Ongoing through March 6

I-15 Southbound off-ramp to Charleston Blvd closed for 45 days

Ongoing through October 10

Charleston Blvd on-ramp to I-15 Southbound closed for 200 days (alternative Pinto Lane on-ramp opens March 6)

Martin Luther King Boulevard (MLK) ramps

March through December

MLK on-ramp to U.S. 95 Southbound closed for 300 days

MLK on-ramp to I-15 Southbound closed for 300 days

D Street Ramps

March through July

D Street on-ramp to I-15 Southbound closed for 145 days

July through November

I-15 Northbound off-ramp to D Street closed for 145 days

Luckily, Project Neon is about 60 percent completed, and these lane and ramp closures represent a bit of pain in order to get a better planned freeway system in Las Vegas and reduce the potential for accidents, and help drivers navigate this congested area more quickly and smoothly.

Nevada Car Accident Lawyers

The Richard Harris Law Firm is Nevada’s largest personal injury law firm. We have assisted thousands of clients to receive the care and just compensation for accidents caused by negligent and careless drivers. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, through no fault of your own, call our firm today to discuss your case at (702) 444-4444.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

February 25, 2018

Why Has My Disability Claim Been Rejected?

You’ve become disabled. You’ve applied to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability benefits, and they’ve rejected your claim. Perhaps the rejection letter received says something about insufficient medical proof of a disabling impairment. You’re…

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You’ve become disabled. You’ve applied to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability benefits, and they’ve rejected your claim. Perhaps the rejection letter received says something about insufficient medical proof of a disabling impairment. You’re pretty discouraged at this point, but take heart; SSA rejects about 60% of initial claims. The SSA knows that a large number of you won’t continue the process because it looks too complex and imposing.

But you’re not one of that large number, you’re re-applying… this time with a lawyer. But no matter how complex and imposing it looks, our Professional Disability Representatives know how the application process works and how to appeal continued rejections to keep your claim alive, and ultimately prevail.

Our firm accepts claims at all stages of the claims process, we can help from start to finish, even if your claim has not been rejected and will assist with completion of all applications and forms needed at each stage of the process. Medical records needed at each stage will be gathered and provided to SSA.

How Do I Appeal a Rejected Claim?

SSA has established a complex maze of rules and regulations in their system of appeals. It is important to have an advocate working for you, who knows this territory well.

The next step in the process is called the Reconsideration Stage. This first level of the appeal process, and is also designed to discourage you. Almost 90 percent of these claims are denied for a second time. There is however, another level of appeals, called the Administrative Law Hearing stage, and at this level, if you persevere, almost 80 percent of claims at this level are approved for benefits.

The Administrative Law Hearing is important, because you will actually have an opportunity to give testimony. You can also bring supporting witnesses, and medical and vocational experts who will testify on your behalf. Your Professional Disability Representative will help you prepare at each level, and help you know what to expect at each level of the appeal process.

While you’re not required to have an attorney or representative with you at any level of the appeals process, having someone there who’s been through the process hundreds of times and who can give advice and encouragement throughout is invaluable. We will appear before the Administrative Law Judge and advocate for you, and even if a rejection is received at this level, there is another level of appeal in the Federal Court system.

What Benefits are Available if I Become Disabled?

Two types of benefits are available under the Social Security Disability program. One is called Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and provides monthly checks to help cover lost income due to the disability. The qualification for this benefit, comes from the years you spent working and contributing to the Social Security System, through payroll deductions. Under SSDI benefits you may also qualify for spouse benefits, or child benefits. We can help you determine which benefits you qualify for.

The other benefit type is called Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is available to claimants who are disabled, and also have less than $2,000 in assets. There is no requirement of work time in order to qualify for SSI benefits. It is based on your disability and lack of income.

The Richard Harris Law Firm helps hundreds of SSD applicants every year.

Our attorney’s and Professional Disability Reps assist with hundreds of applications each year. The reps at the Richard Harris Law Firm have been doing Social Security Disability for years. They know how the appeal process works and will be there every step of the way to guide and advise you through the process. If you have become disabled and are considering having a lawyer represent you with SSA, call us today for a consultation at (702) 444-4444.

Filed under: Uncategorized

February 15, 2018

Number of Dog Bites in Clark County? Would You Believe Seven Per Day?

According to a June 2017 report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, animal control in the Valley’s municipalities, has received reports of about 2,500 dog bites per year for the last several years. Many bites are…

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According to a June 2017 report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, animal control in the Valley’s municipalities, has received reports of about 2,500 dog bites per year for the last several years. Many bites are not reported so this number can be assumed to be a minimum. Being bitten by a dog isn’t the most common thing to occur in the Valley, but it happens often enough to be a concern. These reports include everything from minor dog encounters to maulings resulting in fatalities.

Las Vegas had a period in May 2017 when four major dog bites were reported in a one-week period, one of which left a six-month-old baby dead. This is probably an unusual number of serious dog reports in that short of time, but it doesn’t matter to the families of those who were injured. Dog bites result in physical injuries, but also in emotional and psychological trauma for those involved.

Since 2012, fatal dog attacks occur in Clark County at a rate of about one per year. Some of the fatalities are a result of infections from the bite injury itself and may not occur until sometime after the encounter. Regardless, if you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, you may want to know what your legal rights are.

What Laws Govern Dog Bite Liability?

Unlike many states, Nevada does not have a state dog bite statute. Dog bites are governed by local ordinance, common law, and case law regarding liability. In Las Vegas if a dog bites a human and has never bitten or had a history of attempting to bite previously, no legal action will be taken by animal control against the animal’s owner, but the victim of the bite, may sue civilly through a personal injury case.

Nevada’s dog bite liability case law as established in Nevada Supreme Court decision, Harry v. Smith, 893 P.2d 372, 375, allow a dog bite victim to sue the dog owner if negligence occurred. This would be interpreted as the absence of care a reasonably prudent or careful person would exercise in similar situations.

If a Dog has Bitten Me, Can I Sue the Pet Owner?

Yes, if the owner showed negligence in failing to restrain the animal or take preventative measures to keep the bite from happening, especially if the dog has a history of biting or attempting to bite other people. If the dog was declared a dangerous animal, which would happen after the first reported bite, the dog owner has enhanced responsibility for restraining the dog. Since dog bites are governed under a framework of state and local laws, you should hire an attorney to navigate the complex legal territory.

If a dog has bitten you, first visit an emergency room or doctor to clean and suture the wound, if needed. Due to the danger of infection, such as tetanus, much less rabies and other animal born disease, it is important to be treated shortly after the injury. Once you’ve received medical care for the injuries, call our firm and discuss your case with our representatives.

The Richard Harris Law Firm Represents Those who have Been Seriously Bitten by a Dog

If you or a family member has been seriously attacked by a dog, and have suffered serious injury, call our firm today to discuss you case. Our lawyers have successfully represented hundreds of dog bite victims over the years. We are fully knowledgeable in this area of the law and can aggressively represent your rights in a dog bite case. Call or text us today to schedule a no-cost consultation at (702) 444-4444.

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February 8, 2018

Hernia Mesh Lawsuits

Hernia mesh is a material used to repair damage to the muscle wall, usually in the abdominal area. A hernia occurs when the muscle wall develops, weakens and tears which allows the internal organs to…

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Hernia mesh is a material used to repair damage to the muscle wall, usually in the abdominal area. A hernia occurs when the muscle wall develops, weakens and tears which allows the internal organs to protrude. Injury, obesity, constipation, too much exercise, persistent cough, or previous surgery can all contribute to the possibility of hernia. Mesh used during surgery is placed over the herniated tissue and provides strength to the abdominal wall and holds internal organs in place.

Why are People Suing the Manufacturers of these Products?

Over 100,000 hernia surgeries occur each year. Many different mesh products exist, and many patients have the surgery and encounter minimal negative side effects. There appear to be particular types of mesh products that seem to cause more problems than others.

Many mesh products are constructed of processed animal tissue. These products are made to be absorbed by the body over time, and usually don’t present negative side effects, however, once absorbed the same problems which caused the original hernia may manifest themselves and additional hernia surgeries may be required.

Other mesh products are made of synthetics, such as polypropylene. When coming into contact with internal organs, polypropylene mesh has many negative side effects. Manufacturers have begun to coat the mesh with a material to insulate the body from the plastic mesh. These products are called composite mesh, and it is these products which seem to result in the most adverse events.

Due to adverse and painful side effects, patients who have been treated by use of hernia mesh products are suing the manufacturers since they were not warned of the potential for complications before the use of the product.

What are the Negative Side Effects of Mesh Surgery?

Many complications have manifested themselves after thousands of surgeries were performed using mesh products. In some cases, these conditions may not present themselves until years after the surgery occurs. In some cases, the mesh doesn’t seat properly or may become detached from the abdominal wall and may migrate within the abdomen causing damage to internal organs. Some of the side effects patients have experienced include:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Recurrence of hernia
  • Fistula – organs connecting abnormally
  • Scar tissue forming adhesions
  • Migration of mesh
  • Nerve damage
  • Sexual complications
  • Obstruction of the large or small intestine
  • Bowel perforation

How Many Cases are there Currently for this Product?

Many mesh products have been withdrawn from the market, and people are suing the manufacturers for a failure to warn both doctors and patients of the potential side effects occurring. Physiomesh, a product manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary, is one of these recalled products. At this point, almost 500 lawsuits against Ethicon exist at the federal level, and cases have been consolidated into a Multi-District Litigation (MDL). Other suits for this product may be working their way through various state courts.

Atrium is another mesh manufacturer with a product called C-Qur mesh. These cases have also been consolidated into a different MDL than the Physiomesh cases. About 30 of these cases exist at the federal level.

What is the Basis of the Lawsuits?

Manufacturers are required to provide safe products to the marketplace, and also are responsible to share known safety issues with their customers. Pharmaceutical manufacturers seem to have an aversion to being forthcoming regarding adverse side effects of their products. When a product injures enough people, the lawsuits begin to mount and, at some point, the manufacturer either has to pay significant punitive damages, or may be exonerated if the case can’t be proven.

In the case of hernia mesh, manufacturers knew, or should have known prior to marketing these products, that there were significant potentials for serious adverse events, and should have updated sales literature accordingly.

Richard Harris Law Firm is Nevada’s Hernia Mesh Lawyer

If you have had hernia surgery that made use of a hernia mesh product and have experienced any of the symptoms outlined above, you may qualify for compensation. We are investigating lawsuits throughout the state, where Nevada citizens have been injured or suffered pain as a result of a hernia mesh product. Call our office today to discuss your potential case at (702) 444-4444.

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January 25, 2018

Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) a case of selling snake oil?

If it were, the traveling salesmen of yesteryear would be envious. Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) treatments have generated billions of dollars in revenue, with estimates of over $5 billion in 2017 alone. These products are…

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If it were, the traveling salesmen of yesteryear would be envious. Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) treatments have generated billions of dollars in revenue, with estimates of over $5 billion in 2017 alone. These products are manufactured and marketed by several manufacturers who have promoted the products with claims of increased energy, improved muscle mass, and enhanced sexual performance, among others.

We discussed testosterone replacements treatments on this blog over a year ago. Since then, much has occurred with over 6,500 federal level cases regarding various TRT products. The federal cases have been consolidated into a Multi-district Litigation (MDL), and some of the early trials, also known as bellwether cases, have awarded extremely large settlements.

Out-of-Court Settlements

There are additional trials against these products and their manufacturers at the state court level in many states throughout the U.S. One of those trials in Pennsylvania has settled prior to trial commencement. Defendants evaluate the results of the early trials to determine whether to settle or proceed to trial. Auxilium Pharmaceuticals settled in early January 2018 on a claim against their product Testim for allegedly causing a stroke for a user of that product.

Eli Lilly, has reached a global settlement in all outstanding federal cases for their product, Axiron, prior to their first trial commencing. The previous early trial results have apparently prompted the company to settle rather than face upcoming trials. Details of this settlement are not yet known, but as of December 21, 2017, Eli Lilly and the nearly 500 plaintiffs who filed claims for Axiron complications, have been granted a 45-day stay for the parties to reach a Master Settlement Agreement.

Early Trial Results

The early trial results are mixed, but juries have awarded several large settlements so far:

July 2017

In the first federal bellwether trial, a jury awarded the plaintiff $150 million in punitive damages against AbbVie Inc., for their product Androgel. The judge set this result aside, and ordered a new trial since the jury awarded no compensatory award to the plaintiff. Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the plaintiff for medical and other expenses associated with the injuries suffered, and punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant for wrongdoing, and most civil cases of this type award both. The new trial has not commenced at this point.

October 2017

In the second federal bellwether trial against AbbVie’s Androgel, the jury awarded $140 million in compensatory damages, and added $140 million in punitive damages against Abbvie for recklessly endangering the lives of users of Androgel. The judge president over this trial has ruled that evidence in this trial may be used in future trials. Additional trials against AbbVie are scheduled in 2018.

November 2017

A jury in the third federal level bellwether case found in favor of Auxillium and cleared the company of liability in causing the heart attack of a user of Testim. Cases included in the MDL will settle based on the merits of the individual cases, and other trials against Auxilium and Testim are scheduled to commence in 2018.

More bellwether trials are scheduled against these, and other manufacturers of TRT product in 2018.

The Richard Harris Law Firm is Nevada’s Testosterone Therapy Injury Lawyer

The risk of cardiac events have been known as a possible side effect of testosterone treatments for several years. Studies continue to find this correlation, and one study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 2009 of 209 men with a mean age of 74, had to be disbanded due to adverse cardiac events in the study participants.

Early trial and out-of-court settlements seem to favor the users of the products in making valid claims of injury due to use of these products. If you have been prescribed a testosterone replacements product, and later suffered cardiac problems, such as blood clots, heart attack or stroke, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You have a limited time to file as pharmaceutical companies are beginning to settle. Call us today to discuss your situation and our lawyers will review your potential case, at (702) 444-4444.

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January 18, 2018

New Law Has Potential to Effect Accident Victims

If you are the victim of an accident, and have retained the services of an attorney, you will certainly be under the care of a medical provider. You and your doctor will almost surely be…

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If you are the victim of an accident, and have retained the services of an attorney, you will certainly be under the care of a medical provider. You and your doctor will almost surely be dealing with managing pain resulting from the injuries and, depending on the level of pain, may be prescribed an opioid for treatment. A new Nevada law that took effect January 1, 2018, may have an impact on those efforts.

In an effort to address the growing opioid crisis effecting Nevada and the nation, the 2017 Nevada Legislature passed AB 474, otherwise known as the Controlled Substance Abuse Prevention Act, which places additional responsibilities upon medical providers and patients when prescribing opioid medications especially for long term chronic pain. Governor Brian Sandoval states: “This measure is one step in the State’s comprehensive efforts to curb the prescription drug abuse health crisis currently plaguing communities across Nevada.”

Dr. Dan Burkhead, a local pain management specialist, who worked with the governor’s office to implement the new law says, “It just provides a platform by which the provider can really have an in-depth discussion with the patient as to whether the use of a controlled substance is truly necessary, or whether there are alternatives.”

How will the new law affect treatment of my injuries?

If you’re not being prescribed a controlled substance for pain, it won’t affect you at all. However, if the pain is of a sufficient level that opioids or other controlled substances are required for treatment, the protocols for prescribing have changed.

For a first-time prescription of a controlled substance, the new law requires that you have a bona fide doctor/patient relationship before a prescription for a controlled substance may be written. Your doctor will have to establish a preliminary diagnosis and treatment plan and perform a risk assessment with you prior to prescribing a controlled substance for pain treatment. You will be required to sign an informed consent agreement stating that you understand the risks and benefits of using the controlled substance.

Your initial prescription will be for 14 days. In order to extend the prescription to one month or more, you will be required sign a Prescription Medication Agreement with your doctor consenting to random drug testing, agreeing to use the medication only as prescribed and not sharing it with anyone else, and disclosing to your doctor any other prescriptions being taken.

After 90 days, your doctor will be required to provide an evidence-based diagnosis as to what’s causing the pain, and complete a risk-of-abuse assessment. This will be done for any subsequent 90-day period. Doctors are prohibited from writing more than 365 days’ worth of prescriptions to the same patient in any 365-day period.

Reactions to the New Law Mostly Positive

Physicians are required to handle more paper work to fulfill state reporting requirements under the new protocol. While most doctors are supportive of the objectives of the law, some worry that it could limit a legitimate pain patient’s access to getting appropriate care. Las Vegas doctor, Daliah Wachs explains, “The average medical doctor does do an exam. They do screen for abuse. And the average person overdosing is not the person that received a medication because of a pleomorphic adenoma.”

There have also been scattered reports of patients having legitimate prescriptions and all required paperwork in order, but have been unable to have prescriptions filled at their local pharmacy. There is a concern that the complexities of the new law may drive pain sufferers to the black market, which is the opposite of the law’s objectives. Lawmakers are continuing a dialog with concerned doctors and adjustments may be made to the law as needed.

Richard Harris Law Firm is Nevada’s Premier Personal Injury Accident Attorney Firm

Our firm will be watching with interest as this new law goes into effect. Our concern is the wellbeing of our clients, and will work aggressively and diligently to obtain fair and just settlements for our client who have been injured by the negligence of others. If you have been injured in a car accident, slip and fall, or work accident, call us today to discuss your case at (702) 444-4444.

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January 4, 2018

Xarelto Lawsuit Results in $28 Million Jury Verdict

A jury in Philadelphia has awarded a total of $28 million to Lynn Hartmann in her case against BayerAG and Johnson and Johnson (J&J), and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, over the false and misleading marketing…

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A jury in Philadelphia has awarded a total of $28 million to Lynn Hartmann in her case against BayerAG and Johnson and Johnson (J&J), and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, over the false and misleading marketing and failure to warn patients and doctors of the negative, and many times fatal, side effects of the drug Xarelto (rivaroxaban). Hartmann’s case maintained that she suffered severe gastrointestinal bleeding as a result of using Xarelto. The manufacturers have announced plans to appeal the verdict.

Federal level lawsuits against the drug’s manufacturer, J&J, number over 19,000 as of December 2017, and have been consolidated into a Multi-District Litigation (MDL). While three previous trials resulted in findings for the drug manufacturer, the most recently concluded trial resulted in an award of $1.8 million for the plaintiff, with punitive damages against Bayer and J&J of $26 million.


Xalerto is an anticoagulant, used to reduce the risk of blood clots and strokes in patients prone to atrial fibrillation not due to a heart valve problem. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011, and was designed to replace the then dominant anticoagulant drug, Coumadin, or its trade name, warfarin.

Users of warfarin were required to obtain monthly medical evaluations to ensure the dosing was sufficient to be effective, and that bleeding risks were within a controlled range. Xarelto is being marketed on the premise that these monthly evaluations are not needed. In reality, there is no need for a monthly evaluation with Xarelto because there is no antidote for its effects.

All blood thinners increase the risk of bleeding. Taking Vitamin K, effectively providing an antidote to the anticoagulant effects of the drug, could reverse this effect of warfarin. Xarelto and other modern anticoagulants, such as Pradaxa, are in a class of drugs known as direct thrombic inhibitors. These modern medications have no antidote, which means if unexpected bleeding should occur, there’s no way to stop it.

Side Effects

Within months of Xarelto’s release, problems resulting from use of the drug became apparent. Lawsuits were filed by patients, or their surviving families, and stated no warning was given, either to the patients or their medical providers, that Xarelto could cause uncontrolled bleeding and that no antidote existed.

This is particularly dangerous with internal bleeding that may not be obvious, such as gastrointestinal (abdominal) and intracranial (brain) bleeding. Xarelto’s side effects may include nosebleeds, brain hemorrhage, retinal hemorrhage, intracranial bleeding, abdominal and intestinal bleeding, and rectal bleeding.

Patients using the drug should seek immediate treatment for red, pink or brown urination; headaches, weakness, or dizziness; bright red or black, tarlike stool; heavier than normal menstrual bleeding; unusual bleeding of the gums; coughing up blood or blood clots; or frequent nose bleeds; wounds that won’t heal; among other symptoms. Talk to your doctor to obtain all the warning signs.

Controversial FDA approval

Central to the legal arguments in many of the cases is J&J’s use of the so-called Rocket AF study during the FDA approval process. This study found Xarelto was more or less equivalent to warfarin in the prevention of stroke and embolism, but it did not increase bleeding rates. Cases have questioned the statistical methodology used in the study, and have alleged the device used to measure the International Normalized Ratio (INR) was defective, and returned erroneous data which favored Xarelto.

Numerous studies since Xarelto’s approval have shown the risk of internal bleeding increases dramatically when using the drug. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a study that found “anticoagulant drugs accounted for more emergency department visits for outpatient adverse effects than any other class of drugs,” and that these adverse events were severe, with nearly half of the ER visits resulting in further hospitalization.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), a pharmaceutical watchdog agency, in their 2017 Annual Report found oral anticoagulants are the top risk for acute injuries of all drugs used in the United States.

Regulatory Action

In 2014, the FDA issued its strongest regulatory action against J&J and Bayer, requiring the manufacturers to include a “black box” warning on the labels of Xarelto warning patients of the increased risks associated with use of the drug.

The Richard Harris Law Firm is Your Xarelto Injury Lawyer

Our firm has been watching the increase in cases filed and the results of Xarelto cases with great concern. We believe there are obvious problems associated with the use of the drug. If you have been prescribed Xarelto and have suffered from the side effects, which include uncontrolled bleeding or complications with wound healing, call us today to discuss your case at (702) 444-4444.

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October 5, 2017

Marijuana Lounges Coming to Las Vegas?

[caption id="attachment_3130" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] ​Personal Injury Law Firm​ Las Vegas, NV[/caption] Recreational use of marijuana was made legal in Nevada as of January 1, 2017. The problem for many is where do you use it?…

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Recreational use of marijuana was made legal in Nevada as of January 1, 2017. The problem for many is where do you use it? It’s currently illegal to consume marijuana in public, or in casinos or hotels. The only place where it is currently legal to use is in your own home. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help tourists and others, who may come to Las Vegas for the chance to purchase legal weed.

However, pot proponents were pleased to recently learn that the Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau, the state legislature’s lawyers, released a legal opinion stating that they find nothing in Nevada law that would prohibit marijuana lounges.

Brenda Erdoes, of the Legislative Counsel, states: “It is the opinion of this office that a business may establish and operate a lounge or other facility or special event at which patrons of the business are allowed to use marijuana.” However, the opinion states that only licensed dispensaries can sell marijuana, and leaves it to local jurisdictions to regulate businesses such as marijuana lounges.

Is there any other place in the U.S. where pot bars are legal?

If such venues were opened in Las Vegas, it would be the first locale in the United States to do so. Even in other states where recreational use has been legalized, there are no established public places where consumption is allowed.

Denver, Colorado, opened the door to allow for opening weed lounges, when Denver voters approved a ballot measure in November 2016. Denver started taking applications for social consumption permits in August, but no weed lounges are expected to open until the city approves regulations for these businesses, which is not expected to happen for at least several months.

The paradox for a state to legalize a federally illegal substance

Many local regulators have stated that they are in favor of setting up local weed bars, but have been slow to move forward with regulations. Clark County Commissioners have discussed the issue, but questions remain, such as, who can operate a lounge, where can they be located, will they require specialized ventilation systems, and where would the product come from.

Governor Brian Sandoval has stated opposition to pot lounges, due to the possibility of attracting attention of federal regulators. Under federal law, marijuana is still considered a DEA Schedule 1 prohibited substance. Governor Sandoval stated, “I think that this might invite more (federal) scrutiny with regard to the sale of recreational marijuana.” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has already stated his opposition to legalized marijuana.

Local officials appear to have considered Governor Sandoval’s statements carefully. Clark County Commissioner, Chris Giunchigliani, who is in favor of opening pot bars, said, “I’m not so much worried about being first. We don’t want to do anything that puts a bull’s-eye on our heads.” Other local officials have emphasized the need to carefully regulate, in order to “do it right.”

At this point, with local governments moving slowly to enact regulations to establish marijuana use businesses, it remains to be seen when, or if, Nevada might be the first locale to open bars for pot use, or whether it will happen in the foreseeable future.

Police Enforcement of Traffic Safety Laws

In the meantime, local police agencies have repeatedly stated that they will continue to enforce impaired driving laws. Nothing has changed in regard to the use of pot, or other drug or alcohol use, and then driving a motor vehicle. Police have been trained to spot drivers who are high or drunk and will continue to use that training to get impaired drivers off the road.

We sue drunk (and high) drivers.

Nevada laws are strict with regard to drivers who are impaired while driving. Those charged with DUI in our state must serve jail or prison time, pay increasingly high fines, give up driving privileges for a period of time, install ignition interlock systems in their vehicles, among several other punishments for violation of these laws. If you have been injured, or if a loved one was killed because of the negligence of a drunk or high driver, call us today to discuss your case, at (702) 444-4444.

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September 28, 2017

Car Accident Schemes in Las Vegas

Not every car accident is really an accident. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, on September 14, 2017, 24 people were indicted in Las Vegas District Court on charges prompted by the Nevada Attorney General’s…

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Not every car accident is really an accident. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, on September 14, 2017, 24 people were indicted in Las Vegas District Court on charges prompted by the Nevada Attorney General’s Office for staging accidents and attempting to file fraudulent insurance claims or extort cash from their victims. The incidents took place over a three-year period from September 2014 through May 2017.

In another incident, perpetrated by a different fraud ring being investigated by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), a woman, Karen Torres, was backing out of a parking space in a private parking lot when another driver started honking their horn. No contact was made with the other vehicle. When Torres asked what was wrong, the other driver, thought to be Sophia Nicholas, and an unidentified male who was also in the car, claimed Ms. Torres hit them. The perpetrators then asked Torres to pay them $100 in cash to avoid going through insurance. She refused and called the cops. Other victims of this ring have reported being asked to go to the ATM, and others had their wallets stolen. This ring used strong-arm tactics, often pulling up next to drivers and telling them to pull over, when they would accuse their victims of hitting their car. Three members of this ring have been arrested and police are seeking at least three others.

These staged accident rings often target college age females driving alone, and the elderly, and use intimidation to get their victims to pay them in cash for the alleged “damage,” or file fraudulent claims with insurance companies.

Types of Staged Accidents

Staged car accident schemes have been in existence long enough that various methods of staged accidents have been identified and named. The four most common methods are:

  • The Swoop and Squat: Requires three vehicles (two perpetrators and you). The first perp vehicle driver into your lane in front of you, the second perp vehicle will get behind you and will aggressively tailgate you, and then will pass you and appear to cut off the vehicle in front of you, who then slams on the brakes causing you to rear-end them. The second vehicle then disappears making it look like a simple rear end collision, with you as the cause. All passengers and driver of the first vehicle will claim to be injured.
  • The Brake Slam/Panic Stop: Similar to the Swoop and Squat, but using only one perp vehicle. A passenger in the perp vehicle in front of you watches for you to be distracted, and when you look away, the perp vehicle then slams on brakes causing a rear end collision. All in the perp vehicle will claim to be injured.
  • The Wave In: aka the Drive Down… You are merging into busy traffic on a freeway or in a parking lot usually, and the perp waves to you to merge in front of him. As you do, he then speeds up causing a side of car collision. He then denies that he waved you in, but that you caused the accident. All in perp vehicle claim injury.
  • The Sideswipe: Especially happens when there are two left turn lanes at a busy intersection. Perp vehicle will take the outside lane and watch for you to drift toward his lane. Perp will then speed up to collide with you on the side of your vehicle. He may have “witnesses” who are part of the scheme who will tell the perp’s story when prompted. All in the perp vehicle then claim injury.

 This list is not comprehensive and there are variations on these themes, all of which result in a collision to make it look like you were at fault.

How to Avoid a Staged Collision

Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula to avoid a collision. It all comes back to a few boring basics: stay alert and vigilant while driving; don’t allow yourself to be distracted; don’t drive too close to other vehicles; and don’t give in to the temptation to retaliate based on someone else’s aggressive driving. LVMPD is seeking information on these types of crimes and ask if you have experienced a staged collision to call them to investigate.

The Richard Harris Law Firm represents those who were injured due to negligent drivers

If you have been injured in a vehicle crash because of the actions of another driver who was negligent, we want to discuss your case. Our attorneys are savvy, and experienced in all aspects of helping you to navigate the confusing waters of a car accident injury claim. Call us today at (702) 444-4444.

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September 21, 2017

Autonomous Vehicles – A New Liability Question

Perhaps no development presents the potential for a bigger change in the practice of personal injury law, than the advent of driverless cars. Autonomous Vehicles (AV) are not the stuff of science fiction anymore, and…

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Perhaps no development presents the potential for a bigger change in the practice of personal injury law, than the advent of driverless cars. Autonomous Vehicles (AV) are not the stuff of science fiction anymore, and it’s our belief that within the next decade driverless vehicles will be commonplace, if not the predominant form of transportation. Companies such as Apple, Google, and Tesla, among many others, are already well into development and testing of such vehicles, with test vehicles on the road today.

The ride-sharing industry is also heavily involved in testing AVs for use in their services, and it’s not hard to imagine in the next several years, when requesting an Uber or Lyft vehicle, that you may be picked up by a car without a driver.

States are currently modifying existing driving law to allow for autonomous vehicles to use the roads and, in fact, Nevada is one of the leading states in that effort. As reported in the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently, Dan Langford of the Nevada Center for Advanced Mobility cites a bill passed July 16, 2017, and signed by Governor Brian Sandoval, which makes testing and operating a fully driverless vehicle, legal in our state. He says: “The regulations around that legislation will be developed in the next six to twelve months.” He further explains that Nevada was the first state to pass autonomous vehicle legislation.

What Will Be the Effect of Autonomous Vehicles on the Legal System?

Many legal scholars are considering what the impact of AVs on liability law. In particular, once AV’s become the predominant form of transportation, will the number of accidents increase or decrease, and when an AV is involved in an accident, who will be the liable party? Currently, experts accept that 94 percent of car accidents are caused by human error. But when a computer is driving your car, who is responsible?

One of the foremost legal scholars considering such questions, Bryant W. Smith, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina School of Law, believes that the blame will shift from the negligent driver to the manufacturer of the vehicle and the software developers who designed the AV driving system. In his view, automobile accident injury claims involving AVs will become predominantly product liability claims, rather than suits against other drivers.

Smith states: “To prove that an automated driving system performed unreasonably, an injured plaintiff would likely need to show either that a human driver would have done better or that another, actual or theoretical, automated driving system would have done better.”

Smith believes that the three foremost current causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA) today, speeding, alcohol impairment, and distracted driving, will be minimized once AV’s are doing the driving. His conclusions are that in the new environment, “the automated driving industry will likely bear a bigger slice of a smaller pie of total crash costs.”

The Richard Harris Law Firm is Ready

Autonomous Vehicles will improve our quality of life as much as motorized vehicles did when they replaced the horse and carriage a century ago. The lawyers at the Richard Harris Law Firm are diligent to stay informed of changes to the legal environment and are well positioned to protect your rights as the landscape changes. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, due to the negligence of another driver, call us to discuss your case, at (702) 444-4444.

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September 7, 2017

Actemra Linked to Over 1,000 Deaths

[caption id="attachment_3093" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] ​Personal Injury Law Firm​ Las Vegas, NV[/caption] A treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Actemra (tocilzumab), is taken intravenously, or by injection. Approved for the U.S. market by the Food and Drug…

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A treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Actemra (tocilzumab), is taken intravenously, or by injection. Approved for the U.S. market by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010, the drug was not associated in any literature with cardiac or pulmonary side effects. However, since its approval, the FDA has had reports of 1,128 deaths of patients in the U.S. who took the drug.

Medical journal, STAT, after reviewing 500,000 side effect reports of RA drugs, found that Actemra side effects, which reportedly include heart attack, stroke, pancreatitis, and interstitial lung disease, among other conditions, were as high or higher for Actemra as other RA medications. The difference: the other RA drugs have warnings of such side effects on their labeling; Actemra does not.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune condition, which causes inflammation in the joints of the hands, feet, knees, elbows and ankles. RA is different than osteoarthritis, which is a condition of old age. RA often begins in middle age, but also affects children and young adults.

The body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joint tissue, which results in pain and swelling in the joints. The disease can damage cartilage and bone if untreated. It affects over 1.5 million patients in the U.S., and is irreversible. Actemra works by blocking the protein IL-6, which is the cause of inflammation in RA patients.

Regulatory Background

Genentech, a division of Roche Pharmaceuticals, a Swiss company, manufactures Actemra. The drug has been used by over 700,000 patients worldwide and had sales of $1.7 billion in 2016, making it the fifth largest selling drug for Roche. While reports of negative side effects and deaths have been mounting, Roche has not added warnings of these possible side effects to the labeling of the drug. The FDA has not moved to require these warnings either, in spite of mounting evidence.

Some doctors are concerned about the FDA’s ability to monitor drugs after they’ve been approved. Dr. Vinay Prasad, oncologist at Oregon Health and Science University has said, “We’ve done a very good job of making it easier to approve drugs, often based on very preliminary evidence. But we haven’t ramped up the standards of post-marketing surveillance to make sure that what’s been out there for several years is safe and effective. The system is broken, and all the financial incentives are lined up to keep it broken.”

Dr. Eric Brodsky, Associate Director of FDA’s labeling development team explains some of the challenges that FDA faces: “Inaccuracies, concurrent illnesses, and effects of other drugs a patient may be taking, mean FAERS reports can ‘show an association, but not a causal relationship.’” FAERS is the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System.

Richard Harris Law Firm Investigating Potential Actemra cases

Manufacturers are required to warn of side effects they know about, or should have known about prior to releasing products to the marketplace. Actemra has been marketed in the United States for several years and has carried no warnings of potential heart attack, heart failure, pulmonary, or pancreatic side effects. If you have been treated with the drug Actemra, and have suffered these types of side effects after use, we want to discuss your case. You may have a basis for action against the manufacturer. Call us today at (702) 444-4444.

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August 31, 2017

Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?

​ Most of us enjoy Labor Day as the last fling of summertime. The last three-day weekend holiday of the summer, it gives many an opportunity for vacations and time with family. Fashionistas will tell…

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Nevada law firm, Law firm Las Vegas
Most of us enjoy Labor Day as the last fling of summertime. The last three-day weekend holiday of the summer, it gives many an opportunity for vacations and time with family. Fashionistas will tell you that Labor Day represents the last day to wear white clothing, and fall tones will prevail after. Have you thought about why we have a day off the first weekend of September every year, and what are the origins of celebrating Labor Day?

History of Labor Day

Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September since the late 1880s. It became an official federal holiday in 1894 when Congress passed a unanimous resolution specifying the first Monday in September as the Labor Day holiday, and President Grover Cleveland signed it into law immediately upon passage. Prior to that, 30 states were already celebrating Labor Day as state holidays, beginning with Oregon, which was the first state to recognize Labor Day in 1887.

There are conflicting accounts of its origins prior to its official beginnings, but agreement exists that it grew out of the labor union movement of the late 1800s. One narrative holds that a clandestine meeting of the Knights of Labor was to be convened in New York City, September 5, 1882. In conjunction with this meeting and perhaps to provide cover, a public parade of various labor unions was organized by Matthew Maquire, Secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York. Maquire proposed that a national celebration be held thereafter on the first Monday of September.

The alternative theory holds that Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), proposed a national Labor Day in July 1882 after attending and speaking at the annual Labour Festival in Toronto, Canada that year.

In either case, the first Monday in September became an annual day off. The day was celebrated with parades, picnics, and sometimes fireworks, which spread from the first parades in New York to the remaining states and gained official adoption about a decade later. The day is set aside to honor skilled labor and their labor unions for their contributions to our quality of life, such as fair wages, the eight-hour work day, collective bargaining, improving the safety of work environments, and improving the quality of craftsmanship and skills of trade union members.

Labor in Las Vegas

With the construction boom reigniting and accelerating in Las Vegas, with new major projects such as the Project Neon road construction, Resorts World, convention center expansion and the new Raiders Stadium, among others, thousands of skilled laborers are being required to construct and finish these projects. Much of what is Las Vegas today could not have been accomplished without the skills and contributions of the tradesmen and laborers who applied their effort to its completion.

Richard Harris Law Firm Represents Laborers who have Been Injured

As the labor movement moved from into the early part of the 20th century, new legal issues presented themselves, such as whether an employee could or should sue their employer if they were injured while on the job. The compromise arrived at legislatively was that employees would trade their right to sue employers, in exchange for the employers providing medical care and disability income during time off recovering from such injuries. This system is what is known as our current day Workers’ Compensation. (See our previous discussion of Workers’ Compensation here.)

We recognize the contributions of labor to our quality of life. When an employee is injured, and the employee does not receive adequate care, or disability income is not forthcoming as required under the law, we are interested in speaking with you to help you obtain the promised support during a period of recovery from a work injury.

If you have been injured on the job, and don’t feel that you’re receiving adequate care under Worker’s Compensation, call us today to discuss your case, at (702) 444-4444.

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August 24, 2017

Johnson and Johnson Ordered to Pay $417 Million in Talcum Powder Verdict

One more talcum powder case verdict goes to the plaintiff. On August 21, 2017, a California court ordered Johnson and Johnson (J&J) to pay $417 million to Eva Echeverria, a 63-year-old California woman, who claims…

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One more talcum powder case verdict goes to the plaintiff. On August 21, 2017, a California court ordered Johnson and Johnson (J&J) to pay $417 million to Eva Echeverria, a 63-year-old California woman, who claims she used J&J Baby Powder as part of her daily feminine hygiene routine since she was 11 years old. After reading about another user developing ovarian cancer in 2016, she discontinued use, and was diagnosed with the disease herself, in 2017.

Many Other Talcum Powder Cases

This is the largest verdict against J&J in regards to their baby powder product to date. Including this case, there have been five verdicts against the manufacturer to date, totaling over $700 million. Echeverria based her case on J&J’s failure to warn consumers of the risks of using baby powder as a feminine hygiene product. J&J maintains that since baby powder is a cosmetic, rather than a drug, that they are under no obligation to provide warnings.

J&J Response to Verdict

While J&J’s spokesperson, Carol Goodrich, sympathized with women who have developed ovarian cancer, she added: “We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder…We are preparing for additional trials in the US and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”

Many other cases to be heard

It is estimated that nearly 4,800 similar cases against J&J are working their way through the legal system in the United States. Cases at the federal level have been consolidated under a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) being heard before U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson in the District Court in New Jersey. Under the MDL, pre-trial motions and discovery are consolidated before a single judge, but cases maintain their independence and will settle individually based on the merits of the case. This case was brought in State Court in California, and did not join the MDL.

Baby Powder verdicts have been discussed earlier this year on this blog. While no causal link has been discovered which proves that talcum powder, the primary ingredient in J&J’s Baby Powder, several studies have concluded that there is a statistical link between women using talcum powder and absorbing it into their reproductive systems and their development of ovarian cancer.

We will continue to follow this and other product cases as they progress. This case is notable due to the large amount of the verdict, which consists of $70 million in compensatory damages, and $347 million in punitive damages. There are hundreds of additional California cases yet to go to trial.

Richard Harris Law Firm and Talcum Powder Cases

We believe that providers of consumer products have an obligation to provide products that are safe to use, and that consumers have a right to know what risks they face from use of the products. Manufacturers must inform their customers of risks associated with their products.

Talc is a very difficult substance for the body to break down. Since 1971, studies have shown that talc does not break down in the body and that it was present in a majority of ovarian tumors studied. This research has been supported by subsequent studies by different sets of researchers.

If you have used J&J Baby Powder as a feminine hygiene product and have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, we are interested in learning more about your case. Call us today at (702) 444-4444.

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August 22, 2017

Trucking Accidents: Rare but Potentially Devastating

While large truck accidents are not as common as car accidents, the potential for loss and injury is high due to the size and weight of semi-trucks. Big trucks carry trailers, which are 53 feet…

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While large truck accidents are not as common as car accidents, the potential for loss and injury is high due to the size and weight of semi-trucks. Big trucks carry trailers, which are 53 feet long, and are sometimes double trailered. Each trailer can carry up to about 40 tons of freight. At highway speeds, the ability to stop a load of that size is difficult, since the laws of physics enter into the equation. Rather than get into the particulars of Newton’s Laws of Motion, for the purposes of this discussion, they indicate that in a collision between a car and a truck, the truck will win.

Statistical Review

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration keeps statistics of large truck crashes in the U.S., and in 2015, the most recent year available, there were 3,598 fatalities from truck crashes nationwide, with 83,000 injuries. This breaks down to nine fatal crashes and 227 injuries per day. This is actually down by about 10 percent since 2012.

Furthermore, at any given time, a review of Las Vegas news provider websites yields several stories of semi-truck accidents in and around the valley. In most cases, the truck crashes will close an important road or freeway for many hours during the investigation of the crash. In most cases, a semi-truck crash has a huge impact on traffic and people’s lives.

Causes of Truck Crashes

As of 2015, there are about 3.6 million Class 8 trucks on the road in the U.S., and almost 12 million trailers registered. Since more than 80 percent of commodities in the U.S. are shipped by truck, industry pressure, growth in the economy, growth in online sales, and other factors will cause this number to increase.

Major causes of truck crashes include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driver fatigue
  • Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol
  • Improper maintenance

Who is Liable?

The question of who is liable in a truck crash is one of the reasons that a lawyer should be involved in dealing with the aftermath of an accident. In addition to the truck driver, other drivers, trucking companies, insurance carriers, maintenance contractors, and in the case of defective equipment, the manufacturer of the truck or components of the truck may share liability. It is important that you have someone on your side that knows the unique legal territory of dealing with truck accidents, and can determine who is at fault.

Once liability is determined, you need someone who can navigate the territory and will protect your rights and obtain the best settlement for you to cover injuries and otherwise make you whole again after an accident.

Richard Harris Law Firm is the Highest Rated Truck Accident Lawyer in Nevada

When you or a family member is injured in an accident with a semi-truck, you need the expertise and skill of a talented attorney. The Richard Harris Law Firm is the highest rated law firm in Las Vegas in helping people who have been involved in accidents with the big rigs. Call us today to discuss your case at (702) 444-4444.

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August 3, 2017

Lawyer’s Fees: Hourly Versus Contingency

In a day where the Federal Reserve tells us that nearly half of Americans would have to borrow money or sell something to handle an emergency of $400 or more, the idea of hiring a…

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In a day where the Federal Reserve tells us that nearly half of Americans would have to borrow money or sell something to handle an emergency of $400 or more, the idea of hiring a lawyer at an hourly rate of $100 or more, excludes most people from availing themselves of the benefits of the legal system

Various fee arrangements have developed in the legal profession over time, based on what type of case is being pursued. The two most common fee arrangements are: Hourly billing, where you pay the attorney for every hour he spends on working on your legal matter; and Contingency billing, where the legal fee is not paid until the case settles, but the lawyer will take a percentage of the settlement. In a contingency arrangement, some lawyers still charge a consultation fee.

Not every legal matter has a monetary settlement, for example, if you have a lawyer draw up a contract for your business, or reviewing a contract you are considering or starting a new business. These situations are more easily handled by charging an hourly fee for the attorney’s time. In situations where a financial settlement is the outcome of the legal effort, your attorney may employ a contingency arrangement. Some legal matters require hourly billing by statute, such as criminal cases.

At the Richard Harris Law Firm, the vast majority of our cases are for personal injury cases, where a settlement is the ultimate outcome of the legal matter. Most, if not all, of our cases, use the contingency fee arrangement. Additionally, we do not charge a consultation fee.

How Does a Contingency Fee Arrangement Work?

The main advantage of using the contingency fee arrangement is that the client is not required to pay money out of pocket in order to pursue the legal matter. When injured in an accident, there is a never-ending barrage of expenses being faced, such as medical costs, prescriptions, vehicle repair, etc., and the idea of adding a legal fee on top of that is daunting. Even with insurance to address these expenses, there still may be unmet deductibles, and co-payments required for doctor visits, or repair additions that your insurance may not cover. These additional expenses can add up quickly.

Under a contingency arrangement, your lawyer agrees to take a chance on your case having a positive monetary settlement, in exchange for a portion of the potential settlement. In most cases, if the case settles before going to court, the fee will be one-third of the settlement. If the case goes to litigation, the fee may increase to 40 percent of the settlement. This increase is due to the additional preparation that goes into preparing for a court case. 80 to 90 percent of the cases taken by our firm settle prior to going into litigation.

In certain types of cases, such as medical malpractice, the percentage is set by state law and may have caps to the attorney fees based on the amount of the settlement.

How Do I Know What My Lawyer Will Charge?

Your lawyer will discuss the fee arrangement in your consultation interview, and it should be disclosed to you what the percentages will be, and under what circumstances that may change. Additionally, your retainer agreement, of which you will receive a copy, will clearly spell out in plain language, what the fee percentage is and whether or when that may increase.

The Richard Harris Law Firm is Committed to You

At the Richard Harris Law Firm, our attorneys are committed to assisting you to obtain the best legal settlement available for your case. If you have been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, we want to discuss your case. We don’t charge for consultations. Our lawyers will clearly explain what to expect and will work hard to obtain the most we can to help you get back on your feet. Call us today at (702) 444-4444.