The Division of Industrial Relations (DIR) has recently announced that
it is in the process of reviewing their formula for converting partial
disability awards into lump sums after failing to do so for the past 15
years. Although a Nevada state statute requires the DIR to conduct this
review annually, they have not done so since 2000 and have not changed
their computation rate since 1997.
This formula can add or subtract tens of thousands of dollars from lump-sum
awards for workers. This egregious oversight on the part of the DIR has
directly harmed injury workers who have for years been routinely cheated
out of a fair amount of compensation.
An attorney has brought this matter to the attention of state regulators,
but now fears that insurance companies will oppose the request. The real
complaint, according to the attorney, is that insurance companies benefitted
from the DIR’s negligence in calculating lump-sum payments, and
are likely pulling for their oversight to be ignored so that they can
continue to benefit at the expense of injured workers.
When an injured worker elects to take a lump sum as opposed to installment
payments over time, they can be eligible to claim up to a 25 percent whole
person permanent disability award in a lump sum, reduced to present value.
The idea behind this is that if this amount is placed into an interest-bearing
account and left untouched, then they will eventually receive the same
amount of money that they would have received if they had opted for installation
payments, but with the current discount rate, this isn’t the case.
Interfering with the discount rates has led to an enormous difference in
the amount of partial disability awards that have been paid as present-value
lump sums. At the current rate of six percent, Attorney Hunt’s injured
clients, for example, have received lump sum payments that were over fifty
percent smaller than they could have been if they had been computed with
a more accurate discount rate.
The Chief Administrative Officer of the DIR, Chuck Verre, states that the
DIR “did not do what we should have done… it’s as simple
Until the DIR corrects this problem and comes up with an updated discount
rate, injured parties should opt for installation payments to ensure they
get the maximum amount of compensation to which they are entitled.
Do you have a workers’ compensation case in Las Vegas? Contact a
lawyer from Shook & Stone for the representation you need to improve
your chances of securing a fair amount of compensation for your injuries.
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