Why You May Have A Work Injury
Shook & Stone - Nevada Workers' Compensation Attorneys
Workers' Compensation Benefits
Work Comp Benefits in Nevada are fairly straight forward. You must report your injury or illness to your employer within 30 days of the accident and go through an approved treatment plan. Your work comp attorney can help you understand all of the rules and regulations, but it is important that you follow them in order to prevent unnecessary delays in processing your claim.
There are many times that we have seen as work comp attorneys, clients that suffered an injury only ignoring it to have it come back as something much more serious, a true work injury. This is not a surprise as many of us have been struggling with back pain, knee problems and other injuries so we continue to go on with our lives until it becomes too disabling. So far to often work related injury goes un-noticed. Seeking legal advice is your strongest offensive move when the first signs of a work related injury presents itself.
Many of us have gone through this type of experience but still decide to ignore the symptoms, keep going and hoping that they will go away.
We know that this is impossible because the symptoms are not going to stop until we address them; which means seeing a doctor or having treatment. The problem is many people can’t afford medical treatment, so they just ignore the symptoms hoping that it will go away. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen and eventually things become worse and more difficult to control.
In the event of a workplace injury, it is very possible that you have ignored your symptoms thinking that they would go away on their own accord. Especially if your job does not offer benefits or you find yourself without a job and medical treatment as a result of being let go for some reason, don’t ignore those symptoms.
Those symptoms may be part of a bigger problem that grows worse over time. If this is the case then you will need to seek medical attention and review your rights with a work comp attorney in order to make sure that you can get the proper treatment without it affecting your ability to receive payments for lost wages and other related expenses.
After You Report Your Injury
The first thing you will need to do after you report your work injury is seek medical attention. This doesn’t mean that you can skip going to the hospital or clinic but simply go and get treatment so they can diagnose your illness and give you a prognosis for recovery.
It is important that you follow all of your doctor’s orders, even if it means taking time off from your job. If your doctor asks you to do certain things like taking medication, getting shots or follow an exercise routine, make sure that you do it.
This is very important for two main reasons: one follows the medical protocol and secondly, if they ask you to do something, it’s for a good reason and keeping with that is what is going to help with your recovery.
Once you have been seen by a doctor, your work comp insurer will write a report stating what they think has happened and their opinion as to how long it will take for you to recover. They also ask the doctor specific questions relating to your injury and how it occurred.
Work Comp Benefits in Nevada are usually determined by the loss of use of a specific body part. In other words, if you injured your back and it is now in pain every time that you stand up or sit down then they will determine how much money you will receive based on that impairment.
Following this report and at the discretion of your employer and their insurer, they may either agree to pay your medical expenses, send you for further treatment or they might disagree and ask the doctor for additional information.
If this happens, make sure that you take all of the paperwork with you when you go back to the doctor because if there is any discrepancy between what your employer thinks happened and what actually occurred then it could lead to a work comp fraud investigation and you may be taken to court.
If there is a disagreement between the doctor’s report and your employer, then they will send you back for additional exams or procedures until they can come to an agreement on how long it will take for you to recover. However, once the insurer agrees with the opinion of your physician then they are bound by it.
The benefit to your employer for this is because they can’t be sued if you are still receiving work comp payments for any other related issues. Once the insurer agrees to what occurred and how long it will take you to recover, then everything else is considered part of that treatment whether it’s physical therapy or chiropractic care.
In the Event of A Dispute
If your employer does not agree with what your doctor says or if they find something close to work comp fraud, then they may file a petition to review medical reports. This is a very formal proceeding and you will have one of their doctors look at your records and determine whether or not they need to have more tests done.
It is important that you hire an experienced work comp attorney to review your report and determine whether or not there was a fraud committed. A medical fraud investigation can be very complicated and time consuming and hiring an attorney to do it for you will ultimately save you both money and frustration in the long run.
When filing a petition, most companies will try to settle this issue and avoid going to court and take the time and money that it takes to do so. However, your employer also has the right to file a petition and ask for additional medical examinations if they feel as though you are trying to defraud them.
If someone is caught committing fraud in Nevada work comp, then they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and could face jail time, lose their license and have a criminal conviction on their record.
Also, if you are found guilty of committing work comp fraud in Nevada then you won’t be able to file for any further work comp claims. Your employer is not obligated to pay for your medical expenses if you were found guilty of fraud, so it is very important that you hire an attorney to fight them if they choose to do this.
Workers' Compensation Claim
When filing for workers’ compensation in Nevada the oversight body is The Division of Industrial Relations (DIR) and it is a part of the Nevada Department of Business and Industry. It is separated into different sections which include:
The first thing the DIR has to do is attempt to reconcile disputes between employees and employers. This is a part of their legal services section and it’s more commonly known as mediation. If you disagree with any of your employer’s decisions, you can file a Petition for Reconsideration with the DIR and dispute their findings.
If that doesn’t pan out then you may be required to go back to court in which case you would hire an attorney instead of utilizing the services of the DIR. However, if you did not work more than twelve hours during the week then you are not required to have an attorney which is why so many workers choose this route.
Common Work Injury Occupations
Nevada is a great place to work, but while most would believe that the more dangerous jobs produce the most work injuries, you may be surprised to find out that this isn’t always the case. Some of the most common Nevada work injuries are as follows:
Warehouse workers – Health risks include back strain, knee problems and obesity related illness which is why they have special equipment to help avoid injuries.
Construction workers – Related factors for construction are repetitive motion accidents, electrocution, falls from heights and construction zone accidents.
Drivers – Being a truck driver or taxi cab driver can put you at risk for slipping and falling on the job, car accidents and work-related stress.
Healthcare workers – Nurses, doctors and assistants work long hours in a fast paced environment which puts them at risk for workplace violence as well as musculoskeletal disorders, eye injuries and back problems.
Retail workers – Standing for extended periods of time is bad for the feet, legs, hips and lower back in particular so this occupation is at risk for work comp injuries in Nevada.
Machine operators – These workers are in danger if they have to use sharp objects which could put them at risk for lacerations and eye injuries.
Hotel and Casino Employees – In Nevada they have a high number of hotel and casino workers which is why you will find many people who work in this industry, but those who have to deal with the public at all hours of the night may experience depression due to loneliness as well as sleep deprivation.
Industrial Workers – In Nevada these can include chemical workers, steel workers and food production workers and some of the common work injury related factors include exposure to hazardous chemicals, musculoskeletal disorders, hearing loss and respiratory illnesses.
Nevada Injury Rate Statistics
In 2014 there were a total of 759 work-related deaths in Nevada which is an average of 2.7 per 100,000 employees . In 2013 the most common cause of death was transportation accidents, but the number one cause of injury was slips and falls. This means that these accidents are more common than car accidents which is why it is extremely important to always be aware of where you are walking since even the slightest bump or jolt can lead to a trip or fall.
There were also 6,000 nonfatal injuries reported in Nevada in 2014 which is approximately 18 per 100 full-time workers . This means that on average, nearly two people experience an injury every minute.
The same year there were 5,933 new cases of occupational disease which was the leading cause of work-related injuries and illnesses among employees over the age of forty five. In this industry it is extremely important to learn about the most common types of injuries and how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim.
Nevada Work Injury Law
If you have been injured on the job in Nevada, then you should know that you are entitled to benefits for your medical expenses as well as a percentage of your lost wages. Some of the most common factors for work injuries are as follows:
Muscular sprains and strains – This includes sprains of the ankle, knee, neck or back. If you suffer from an injury that causes physical pain then you may be entitled to compensation.
Exposure to workplace hazards – From noisy machinery which can cause hearing loss, chemical exposure which can lead to respiratory illness and slips and falls in the workplace, you should know that in Nevada there are laws protecting employees from certain hazards.
Even if you don’t think your job is particularly dangerous, it might be a good idea to get yourself checked out anyway just in case. Treatment of work related pain and suffering can make your life a lot easier and help minimize the negative effects on your life moving forward.
How To Separate Personal From Work Related Injuries
It’s important as a worker to be able to separate your personal injuries from those that occur at work. This is very common and most people experience this problem at some point in their lives, so don’t feel bad if you do too. Many people even go through the majority of their lives without knowing they have a problem, which is how it should be with most injuries.
It may become necessary for you to to see your doctor in order to figure out which are work related, however this isn’t always the case. There are other ways that may help you too. The first step is to look at when the injury occurred and if it happened at work then there are some questions that you can ask yourself.
Did the injury occur immediately after working?
- Was there anything different about your work environment at the time?
- Does this type of injury happen to others in your occupation?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions then it’s probably a good idea for you to say something to your employer. Be prepared to provide them with all the information that you can because they are obligated under state and federal law to report any workplace incident, which is why it’s important for you to do this too.
How To Protect Yourself From Work Injuries
It may not always be possible for you to avoid work related injuries if your job consists of physically demanding tasks. However, if you are one of many that work in an office then you should know that you can take steps to help reduce your chances of getting injured while on the job.
For example, this may mean taking time out of your day to get up and walk around so your feet don’t get tired or sitting straight instead of slouching so you don’t get neck or back problems.
It’s also important for you to consider your work environment and whether it is ergonomically sound. Ergonomics is all about improving the workplace by making it better suited for the employees that use it. There are many ways you can go about this, but one of the best things you can do is to consider buying ergonomic chairs and office supplies for your desk.
The best thing that you can do for yourself is to build awareness about the risks you face on a daily basis and take steps to avoid injury, which will help increase the odds of your long term health as you age.
Workers' Compensation Insurance
All employers are required by law to carry workers compensation insurance. It can be very helpful for you at times, especially if you are unable to work because of an injury that occurred on the job. Even independent contractors can be covered by workers comp insurance. Workplace injuries and job related injuries are a right enjoyed by many even if you have a pre existing condition. Different rules may apply depending on how and where you were injured. But, this is why it is very important to talk with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to understand how the guidelines apply.
Make sure that your employer is aware regarding what happened with your injury and keep all receipts associated with your medical treatment. You may find it beneficial to talk about the matter with a workers’ compensation attorney as well.
You will typically receive anywhere from 60% to 80% of your wages while you are unable to work, but there may be some restrictions on how much time it will take for you to get this money. This is why many workers choose to seek help from a lawyer because they can talk about the details and ensure that you receive the full amount that you are entitled to.
So if you are injured on the job then it’s important that you know your rights and how to seek help, which may include filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Doing so can be extremely beneficial because these benefits include compensation for things like medical expenses, lost income, and vocational rehabilitation.
If you are unable to work because of an injury that occurred on the job then these benefits can be vital for your financial security, but only if you know how to go about filing a claim. This is why it’s important that you seek help from an attorney or other experts who can help you with all the details.
Shook & Stone is an award winning workers’ compensation law firm whom have recovered millions of dollars in work comp benefits for our clients. Call us at (720) 570-0000 or fill out the form for a free consultation.