When it comes to workers’ compensation claims, employees in Nevada are more likely to make a claim than employees in almost any other state. Only six states have a higher rate of claims than Nevada. In one recent year, more than 35,000 non-fatal workplace injuries took place in Nevada.
Workplace injuries can mean time off from work and can interfere with your ability to make a living. Thankfully, there are laws in place to protect you in the event of a workplace injury.
Nevada requires all employers to carry workers’ compensation benefits. If you suffer a workplace injury, the law allows you to seek financial compensation to help offset the burden of your injuries. Understanding the process and the timeline that comes with it can help you plan for your future and focus on your recovery.
Nevada’s Workers’ Compensation Laws: A Basic Timeline
All states have laws regarding how long an employee has to make a workers’ comp claim and how long an employee has to respond. Beyond this, there are various deadlines that most parties must follow. Failure to meet these deadlines can have serious implications on your case. Below we’ll outline the basic process.
Filing a Claim
Report your injury to your employer right away. Failure to abide by mandated timelines and to fill out proper paperwork risks denial of your claim. Under Nevada law, you must report your injury within seven days. To make a claim, you will need to have a doctor sign off on your initial treatment. This will require a specific form. You must complete this form and have it signed and turned in within 90 days of your injury to make a workers’ comp claim.
You must seek medical care from an approved provider. Be sure to check with your employee or a workers’ comp attorney for a list of eligible care providers.
After you file a claim, your employer will have six days to file this claim within their insurance provider. The insurance company will then have 30 days to accept or deny your claim.
Your Medical Care
Depending on the extent of your injury, your medical care may be what determines how long it takes to finalize your workers’ comp case. The insurance adjuster will want to make sure that you are not expected to get better or worse before they close your case. At this point, you will be medically stationary. If your injury prevents you from returning to work you may be eligible for either temporary total disability (TTD) or temporary partial disability (TPD). The amount you may receive depends on your wage before your injury, and represents a percentage of your gross wage.
Settling Your Claim
Once you are medically stationary, a case manager will either close your case or suggest you for worker retraining. If you participate in a retraining program, your case will not be closed until you have finished your program. If you do not participate in a retraining program, your attorney may want to close your case as quickly as possible. How long this process takes can depend on how reasonable the insurance company is with their offer and how willing you are to negotiate. In some cases, the case may need to go to court which will extend the time frame.
Factors That May Prolong Your Case
No two workers’ compensation cases are alike. The amount of time it took your co-worker to process his or her claim will almost always differ from how long it takes to process yours.
These factors may extend your case:
- Whether you can return to work: Whether you can return to work can make a big difference in your case. If you can return to work, the primary focus of your workers’ compensation claim is the expense of your injury and your lost functional capacity. However, if you cannot return to work, other factors may come into play. The insurance company may have to pay out time loss benefits and coordinate with your employer about whether you can return to work in a different capacity.
- The extent of your injuries: The extent of your injuries can affect how long it takes you to be medically stationary and the extent and length of your treatment. The insurance company may not make a settlement offer until you are medically stationary. If your condition changes or you need extended treatment, it may extend the length of your case
- Whether you participate in retraining: If you cannot return to your previous line of work, you may have the right to participate in worker retraining. This training can allow you to gain new skills and receive time-loss benefits while you are off work. However, it may extend the duration of your case. The insurance company may not close your case until you have completed training and until there is a clear picture of your future earning capacity.
- If your claim is denied or you need to file an appeal: If your initial claim is denied, you may need to file an appeal. This, naturally, will typically delay the claims process.
- There are secondary injuries: A spinal cord injury can lead to arm or leg numbness. A shoulder injury can cause secondary elbow issues. Sometimes these secondary injuries do not appear until some time after the initial work-related accident. While these injuries are part of the original case, they may require a separate evaluation and treatment plan before your case can move forward.
What Happens if Workers’ Comp Carrier Denies Your Claim?
In some cases, the insurance provider may deny your claim the first time around. This does not mean that you cannot file a workers’ comp claim. In fact, statistics show that 67 percent of claims that were initially denied are eventually converted into paying claims. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you figure out why your claim was denied and help you refile your case.
Common reasons your claim can get denied include:
- You did not file a claim in time
- Your employer believes your injuries were intentional
- Your employee has reason to believe you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your injury
- You had a preexisting condition
- Your employer suspects fraud
A workplace injury can be a stressful event. Getting treatment and a fair and reasonable workers’ comp settlement can make a big difference in your recovery. But many factors can stall your case and make recovery difficult. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you make sure you get the benefits you deserve.
If you have questions or need help with your claim, ask a workers’ compensation attorney for more information.
Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101