Navigating the legal aftermath of an injury can be daunting, especially when faced with two seemingly similar systems: personal injury and workers’ compensation. Both aim to provide financial support and medical coverage, but understanding their distinct legal frameworks is crucial.
This blog delves into the critical differences between personal injury cases and workers’ compensation in Nevada, with references to applicable laws and statutes. Our Las Vegas attorneys handle both personal injury and workers’ comp cases, so contact us for help today.
Fault vs. No-Fault
The fundamental distinction lies in the concept of fault.
Personal injury claims, governed by Chapter 11 of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS), are based on the principle of negligence. To succeed, the injured party must prove that the other party owed them a duty of care, breached that duty, and the breach directly caused the injury. This requires demonstrating the elements of negligence under NRS 41.130.
Workers’ compensation, on the other hand, operates as a no-fault system under Nevada’s Industrial Insurance Act (NRS Chapter 616A through 616D, and 617).
Employees who sustain injuries arising out of and in the course of their employment are entitled to benefits regardless of fault, as defined by NRS 616C.010. This means they can receive compensation even if their negligence or that of a co-worker contributed to the injury.
Scope of Coverage
The types of injuries covered by each system also differ. NRS 616C.110 outlines that workers’ compensation primarily covers injuries arising from:
- Work activities: Accidents on construction sites, machinery malfunctions, etc.
- Occupational diseases: Asbestosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.
- Aggravation of pre-existing conditions due to work-related factors.
In contrast, personal injury claims encompass a wider range of injuries, including:
- Slip and falls, dog bites, etc.
- Automobile accidents
- Product liability claims for defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Intentional torts such as assault and battery
The types and amounts of benefits offered by each system also vary significantly. NRS 616C.410 to 616C.640 detail the benefits available under workers’ compensation in Nevada, which typically include:
- Medical expenses related to the work-related injury
- Temporary disability benefits replace lost wages while recovering (NRS 616C.590)
- Permanent partial disability benefits compensating for lasting impairments (NRS 616C.600)
- Permanent total disability benefits replace lost wages if permanently unable to work (NRS 616C.610)
- Death benefits to dependents if the injury results in death (NRS 616C.620)
Personal injury claims can provide compensation for a more extensive range of damages, potentially including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages, in cases involving intentional misconduct
The legal processes involved in each system are distinct. NRS 616.540 governs the process for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Nevada. Claims are typically filed with the Nevada Division of Industrial Relations, and hearings are conducted before an administrative law judge. This process is generally less adversarial and faster than personal injury lawsuits.
Personal injury claims, on the other hand, are filed in state court and governed by the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure. The injured party must be represented by an attorney and navigate a more complex process involving discovery, depositions, and potentially a jury trial.
Time Is of the Essence
Both systems have strict deadlines. In Nevada, workers have only 30 days to report a work-related injury to their employer under NRS 616C.290 and 90 days to file a formal claim with the Division of Industrial Relations under NRS 616C.300. Failure to comply with these deadlines can jeopardize your claim.
Personal injury claims also have deadlines known as statutes of limitations. In Nevada, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years from the date of the injury under NRS 11.203.
Call Our Las Vegas Accident Lawyers Today
If you require further legal assistance and want to weigh up the options available to you, do not hesitate to contact our Las Vegas injury lawyers at 702-789-6668 for a free case review. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve.