Each day, thousands of Reno workers show up to their place of employment and work hard to keep tourism and other industries alive in the city. However, sometimes these workers become injured on the job. When this happens, they turn to the Nevada Workers’ Compensation program for assistance. If you’re suffering from a workplace injury and need compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages, an experienced Reno Workers’ Compensation Lawyer can help you understand the process.
As explained by the Nevada Department of Industrial Relations, workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program that provides benefits to employers who are injured on the job and protection to employers who have provided coverage at the time of the injury. With some exceptions, anyone in Nevada who hires at least one employee must provide workers’ compensation insurance with coverage in place from the moment the employee is hired. Workers’ compensation benefits that the employee is entitled to receive include:
Employers who have provided coverage at the time of their employee’s injury are protected from any other damages claimed by the employee in relation to their work-related injury.
If you’re injured in a workplace accident, you should seek medical treatment immediately. After that, the process for obtaining workers’ compensation benefits includes the following steps:
If all of that sounds complicated, it is—and that’s the simplified version. That’s why you want a Reno workers’ comp attorney to help you through the process and make sure you don’t suffer any unnecessary delays or denials in obtaining your benefits.
While the workers’ compensation program is a no-fault system designed to provide benefits to workers injured on the job regardless of how or why the injury took place, there are some reasons why a claim would be denied. The most common reasons for a denial include:
The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the following information based on 2017 figures:
Most full-time employees spend at least one-third of their day at work, often more. This explains the common occurrence of workplace injuries and illnesses. At least 30,000 Nevada workers per year sustain injuries or suffer illness in the workplace, according to the Nevada Department of Business and Industry.
If you work in Reno and sustained an injury or developed an illness on the job, you most likely have rights under Nevada law to receive substantial workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, having those rights and receiving the benefits you deserve do not always go hand-in-hand.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from Reno workers about workers’ comp claims. For answers to questions about your rights after sustaining a work-related injury or illness in Reno, contact the experienced Reno workers’ compensation lawyers at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC, today, for a free case consultation.
Workers’ compensation (or comp) is insurance purchased by your employer to cover you against the costs of work-related injuries or illnesses. Your employer purchases workers’ comp insurance for you, and cannot ask you to pay for it yourself. The insurance covers you against the costs of all job-related injuries and illnesses, no matter how they happened or who caused them.
No. Although workers’ compensation benefits pay for necessary medical treatment related to a workplace injury or occupational illness, that is not all. Workers’ compensation insurance also pays disability-related benefits. The amount of benefits a worker might receive depends on the severity and nature of the worker’s injury or illness and long-term prognosis.
Temporary disability benefits replace some of a worker’s lost wages during recovery from a workplace illness or injury. Permanent disability benefits provide compensation for workers who have reached maximum medical improvement but still have a permanent injury or condition that limits their ability to work.
Spouses of workers who die because of a job-related injury or illness can also receive death benefits and reimbursement for funeral expenses.
Under Nevada law, a workers’ compensation insurance company must send written correspondence within 30 days of receiving a claim for benefits notifying the worker of acceptance or denial of a claim. If the carrier denies the worker’s claim for benefits, then the worker has the right to appeal that decision.
Appealing a claim denial involves a somewhat-complicated process that resembles, in many ways, filing a lawsuit. We urge Reno workers who want to appeal the denial of a workers’ comp claim to seek experienced legal representation from our Reno workers’ compensation attorneys. Attempting to pursue an appeal on your own can easily result in mistakes that cost you important rights to workers’ comp benefits.
A workers’ compensation appeal hearing resembles an informal court trial. Instead of a judge, a hearing officer presides. No court reporter takes a transcript. The person appealing the claim denial typically gets about 10 to 15 minutes to present a case for overturning the claim decision.
Workers (or, better, their attorneys) can use that time to present evidence and witness testimony, and to make arguments in their favor. Workers who live too far outside of Reno or cannot attend a hearing in person may arrange to attend via telephone. The worker should receive the hearing officer’s decision via mail approximately 10 days after the hearing. If the hearing officer denies the workers’ comp claim again, the worker can pursue another round of appeals.
Again, we urge any Reno worker who has received a workers’ comp claim denial to seek the help of our experienced attorneys.
The short answer is yes. One way employers avoid large claims against their workers’ compensation insurance coverage is by offering injured workers a light-duty position that the worker can do even with medical restrictions. If your employer offers you a light duty role, in almost all circumstances you must take the position, even though that may result in you no longer qualifying for wage replacement (i.e., disability) benefits.
Nevada law does not require your employer to offer you a light duty position. If you give your employer the physical restrictions set by your doctor, and your employer does not give you a light duty role, then you can seek wage replacement benefits totaling two-thirds of your average monthly wages before the injury or illness (in most cases).
In Nevada, injured employees must notify their supervisor/employer of a workplace injury or occupational disease within seven days of injury or discovering the health condition. However, if you did not notify your employer until after the seven-day cutoff, you should still file a workers’ compensation claim.
Injured workers have valid reasons for not immediately notifying their employer of an injury or illness. Examples include working out of town, your supervisor was on vacation, or you were hospitalized and couldn’t talk. Speak with the experienced Reno workers’ compensation insurance attorneys at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC, to learn about your rights.
Every claim is different, but our general advice is that it is better to be safe than sorry, and you should call us for help with your claim. Having an experienced lawyer on your team can make a world of difference in whether you obtain the benefits you deserve. Some instances where having legal representation may help include:
Contact our experienced Reno workers’ compensation attorneys today to learn more.
If you have questions about the workers’ compensation process or your claim has been denied, we would be happy to provide guidance. We also serve clients in Lake Tahoe, Sparks, and Carson City. Contact us online or by calling (775) 600-6000 to schedule your free consultation and case review.
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