This is one of the most common questions asked when people are injured
on the job. The question seems basic, but actually has a two-part answer.
The first part is belying a myth about workers’ compensation. You
do not ever sue anyone! Not the employer, not the insurance company. A
workers’ compensation attorney will act as a guide to make sure
you receive all benefits you are entitled to, and litigate the issues
in court if necessary. Unlike other civil litigation (for example a car
accident, slip and fall, or other injury outside of work), workers’
compensation does not include filing a complaint in district court.
But see NRS 233B.100.
Next, Nevada has adopted the exclusive remedy rule in regards to whether
an injured worker can actually sue their own employer for the injuries
they sustained at work. What that means is that injured workers cannot
sue their own employers for their injuries or illnesses in addition to
collecting workers’ compensation benefits. NRS 616A.010; NRS 616A.020;
Conway v. Circus Casinos, 116 Nev. 870 (2000). In laymen’s terms, the injured worker has one
bite at the apple in order to recover for their workplace injuries or
illnesses, and that is generally through workers’ compensation insurance
their employer carries.
As with many areas of law, there are exceptions to the exclusive remedy rule.
See GES v. Corbitt, 117 Nev. 265 (2000). For example, if the injured worker is injured at
work by a third party other than the employer or a fellow co-employee,
the injured worker may have a personal injury case against that person
or company. However, again like other areas within workers’ compensation,
the law is quite complex on who is considered a co-employee, contractor,
sub-contractor, or even employer.
See Richards v. Republic Silver State Disposal, 122 Nev. 1213 (2006). An experienced workers compensation attorney will
be able to advise you on whether your case would be an exception to the
exclusive remedy rule.
This is not an area of law you should tackle yourself, nor is any part
of workers’ compensation. Therefore, it is advised you seek an experienced
attorney who is able to assist in obtaining all benefits that you are
entitled to under Nevada law.