If you’re injured at work in Nevada, it’s important to know how to prepare for a work-related injury claim. Employers and insurance companies have a financial interest in seeing workers’ compensation claims denied. Your employer profits because its insurance rates don’t increase. The insurance company profits because they don’t have to pay you any benefits. Consequently, they will find any reason to deny coverage – even if your claim is 100% valid.
Common Types of Work-Related Injuries
Nearly 3 million people are injured at work each year in the United States. The state of Nevada requires nearly all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Such coverage protects employees from the financial hardship of workplace accidents and injuries. The 2021 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index (WSI) lists the causes of the most debilitating workplace injuries – those that result in employees missing work for more than five days. The most common of these include:
- Handling objects
- Slip and falls on the same level, to a lower level, or without a fall
- Awkward postures
- Vehicular accidents
- Getting caught in equipment or machines
Other common workplace injuries include colliding with objects and equipment and repetitive motions involving microtasks.
Fatal Work-Related Injuries
There are a significant number of extremely dangerous jobs in Las Vegas and in the rest of the state. According to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of worker fatalities and injuries in Nevada exceeds the national average. The number of fatal occupational injuries in Nevada, from 2018 to 2020, remained numerous and consistent – 39, 40, and 37 work-related deaths during the last three years with complete figures. The state’s workforce includes numerous hazardous professions such as construction, transportation, and security. Some of the most common fatalities arising from hazardous jobs include transportation accidents, slips, trips, and falls, violence caused by animals and other individuals, and exposure to toxic chemicals.
What Are the Steps of a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Your employer likely has set procedures for reporting workplace accidents and injuries. Likewise, a process exists for filing workers’ compensation claims. Adhering to these steps will help you fulfill your obligations. It will help improve your chances of gaining work-related injury compensation approval.
Seek Medical Attention
The first thing you should do after a workplace accident is seek emergency medical care. Whether you need emergency treatment or your injuries are not that severe, you must quickly go see an approved doctor to document your injuries. Check with your employer’s worker’s compensation policy or with a Las Vegas work injury lawyer for a list of eligible care providers.
Immediately Report Your Injury
Report your injury to your employer and workers’ compensation carrier as soon as possible. You must report your injury within seven (7) days under Nevada law. Failure to meet deadlines and complete required paperwork risks having your work-related injury claim denied.
You will follow your employer’s reporting protocols and submit the appropriate paperwork to the workers’ compensation carrier. The forms you must submit include a C-1 Notice of Injury or Occupational Disease-Incident Report, listing all injured body parts. You must have a doctor sign off on your initial treatment in order to file a claim. To file a workers’ compensation claim, you and your doctor must complete the C-4 Employee’s Claim Form for Compensation/Report of Initial Treatment. The workers’ compensation timeline for this is within 90 days of either: the date of the injury or when the employee first became aware of an occupational disease.
To establish the circumstances and timeline of your injury, one thing you should do right away is to get a copy of the report that was submitted at the time of the accident. To confirm that you were working at the time the accident occurred or that you worked for a long enough period of time to result in a long-term illness or injury, you should also collect employment records. Finally, keeping a folder of all of your medical records is essential for proving the dates of your treatment and providing evidence of the symptoms you had.
Within thirty days of submitting, you will be notified of the acceptance or denial of your claim. Benefits may include everything from medical care to financial compensation, therapy sessions, or dependent payments in the event that the victim has passed away. Nevada law permits an appeal and review of the claim if it is rejected. To ensure that all of your rights are upheld, it is frequently to your best advantage to contact a Nevada workers’ compensation attorney for assistance with this process.
Proving your Claim
Worker’s comp is a no-fault insurance. As such, you do not need to provide evidence that the employer or any coworkers did anything wrong to cause your injury. Rather, you need to prove that the injury was brought on by or made worse by your work, as well as four additional factors:
- The injury was not the normal evolution of a pre-existing disease or condition
- You were acting within the scope of your employment
- You were sober when you suffered the injury
- You followed all the physician’s healthcare and treatment recommendations
According to Nevada law, the legal burden of proof on the injured party is generally based on a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that the injury or condition was brought on by and developed in the course of employment. If an employee files a claim of an occupational disease after his or her employment has ended, however, there is a rebuttable presumption that the occupational disease did not develop out of and in the course of the employee’s work.
Nevada has different categories of injury that determine how much work-related injury compensation you can earn:
Permanent Total Disability (PTD): These are benefits provided when you sustain an injury at work that prevents you from working any longer. You receive 66.66% of your average monthly wages indefinitely, as long as the doctor confirms that the disability remains permanent.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD): This is also known as the wage replacement benefit. These are benefits provided when a medical professional verifies that your illness or injury has kept you from performing your employment tasks. You receive 66.66% of your average monthly wages until your injury or illness is healed to the extent that you can perform your pre-injury or pre-illness employment tasks.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): These are benefits provided when you sustain an injury at work, return to the job, but are earning less than your pre-injury wages. You receive 66.66% of the difference between what you were earning at the time of the injury and your current earnings.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD). These are benefits provided to an injured worker to make up for a permanent handicap brought on by the work injury. There must be a determination by a medical professional that you have a permanent impairment as a result of your industrial injury. Further, the doctor must certify that the impairment will interfere with your earning capacity after you have completed treatment. For the case of partial disability, your physician will examine you and determine your level of overall impairment, ranging from 1% to 100%. For every percentage of permanent impairment, you will receive 0.6 of your income.
As additional compensation, you can also receive free training for another job, as well as benefits while you receive that training.
How an Attorney Can Help You Prepare for a Work-Related Injury Claim
Workers’ compensation claims in Las Vegas require rigid deadlines, significant amounts of paperwork, potentially adversarial discussions with your employer, medical coverage directives, state laws, interviews from insurance representatives, and, maybe most importantly, the possibility of intentional bureaucratic delays. You might not be treated fairly, as your employer or its insurance companies try to play victims. They can reject your claim, make burdensome verification demands, or delay payments. By delaying the submission of your claim or declining to support your version of the circumstances that led to your workplace accident, your employer or their insurers might further complicate your claim.
With the assistance of an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney, you can ensure that:
- You get the best medical care
- Your rights are protected
- Your employer and its insurance companies do not drag their feet
- All of your paperwork and the doctor’s paperwork are submitted on time
- All the necessary evidence is properly gathered
Getting injured on the job is a perilous situation for your family and you. Your ability to cover normal expenses and to provide for your family is put in jeopardy each and every day you are injured and unable to work. A skilled Las Vegas work injury lawyer will help you understand how to prepare for a work-related injury claim, ensure your rights are protected, and work to get you the maximum recovery in the least amount of time.