WHY YOU NEED TO REPORT EVERY ACCIDENT TO YOUR EMPLOYER
So you are going about your day and you are lifting a box when you feel a tweek in your low back. The pain is slight at first so you continue to work, hoping that it will go away. By the end of the day you are sore but you have been sore before. A hot bath and some ibuprofen has worked in the past. The next day the pain is worse but you don’t want to miss work or look like a complainer. If you can just make it until the weekend so that you can get some rest. Before you know it, it has been nine days and the pain is not getting better and you realize you need medical attention. You decide to tell your employer. Your employer gives you a form to fill out and one of the questions is “when did you notify your employer of the accident?” Nine days ago. You go to the doctors and you are diagnosed with a herniated disk and need surgery. You will be out of work for at least two weeks.
Thank God there is workers’ compensation insurance. You are relieved to know that your medical bills will be paid and you will receive income while you are off work. Then comes the mail from the insurance company. You open the letter expecting to find out about the workers’ compensation benefits you will receive. Instead you receive a letter which states that your claim is denied. Wait. You were injured at work. How can they deny it. You continue reading. Your claim is denied because you did not report it to your employer within 7 days.
In Nevada, you are required to report any work accident in which you suffer an injury within 7 days. The rule states that an employee is barred from recovering workers’ compensation benefits if the employee fails to file a notice of injury within 7 days. NRS 616C.025
How do you get around the late filing? An industrial accident insurer may excuse a claimant’s failure to comply with the formalities of NRS 616.025, where there is “sufficient reason” for doing so, principally in cases in which a claimant has an excuse based upon “mistake or ignorance of fact or of law.” Bally’s Grand Hotel & Casino v. Reeves, 113 Nev. 926, 929 (1997). The insurer’s decision to deny a injured workers excuse for failing to timely file the claim for compensation is reviewable de novo by an administrative officer. NRS 616C.015, 616C.025.
Each case is different and the reasons why there was not timely notification to the Employer will be considered by the either the Insurer or a judge. It is best to not put yourself in that position. That is why it is imperative that whenever you suffer a work accident, you report it even if you feel that your injury is minimal and then seek legal representation by a qualified workers’ compensation attorney.
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.