WHAT TYPE OF BENEFITS AM I ENTITLED TO RECEIVE IF I AM HURT ON THE JOB?
There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t discuss workers’ compensation benefits with both clients and potential clients. In Nevada, when an employee suffers a work related injury, workers’ compensation benefits is the exclusive remedy. There are only two situations where the injured worker can elect to sue the employer. The first situation is if the employer failed to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. The employee can elect to sue the employer for damages or select the uninsured policy through the State of Nevada. The second situation is if the employer intended to cause the injury. In all other cases, workers’ compensation insurance is the exclusive remedy.
So what benefits are available for the injured worker? First and foremost are medical benefits for treatment to the accepted industrial condition. Any medical costs related to your industrial injury will be paid by the insurer. There are limitations on who you can see for treatment. The employer directs you to the first provider. You can treat wit that provider or you can request a change of treating physician within the first 90 days. If the insurer has an approved provider list, you may be required to select a physician or chiropractor from the list.
If you are taken off work or given restrictions which prevent you from returning to your pre-injury job, you may be eligible for temporary total disability. The amount of this benefit is based upon you average monthly wage. You receive this benefit until you are released back to work full duty, your employer accommodates your physical restrictions with a light duty job or you are incarcerated.
People often inquire whether there is any type of settlement. When the injured worker’s medical condition is stable and at maximum medical improvement and there is an indication of an impairment, there may be an evaluation by a rating physician or chiropractor to determine the degree of impairment pursuant to the AMA GUIDES, 5th Edition. The amount of award depends on the date of injury, the impairment percentage, the injured worker’s age and wages. The award is paid in installments unless the injured worker accepts a lump sum. The most that can be taken in a lump sum is 30%.
You may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services if you are unable to return to the pre-injury job due to a permanent physical impairment or permanent restrictions as a result of your injury or occupational disease. This may include retraining, schooling, on the job training or a lump sum buy-out.
Other benefits include travel expenses and per diem associated with medical treatment, temporary partial disability for situations where the wage you receive upon re-employment is less than the compensation for temporary total disability to which you are entitled, and benefit penalties if the insurer or employer violates certain workers’ compensation rules or regulations.
Finally, an injured worker may be able to reopen the claim in the future if the industrial condition worsens after claim closure and there is treatment proposed to treat the worsened industrial condition. NRS 616C.390.
If you suffer an on the job injury, report it immediately to your employer (Form C-1), file a workers compensation claim (Form C-4) and then seek legal counsel by a qualified workers’ compensation attorney to make sure that you receive all of the industrial benefits that you are entitled to receive.
Herb Santos, Jr., Esq.
Herb is a NJA Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist. He is recognized by the National Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group as one of America’s leading attorneys representing injured workers. Herb was also selected as the 2018 Trial Lawyer of the Year in Nevada.