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Self-Employed Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation law can be complicated without the assistance of a trained Nevada workers’ compensation attorney to assist you. Many claims can involve multiple parties such as the injured, the person causing the accident, insurance agencies, and other third parties.  Depending on the claim, sometimes the salary amount can be a factor.  This is especially important if lost wages are a component of that claim.  The Nevada Division of Industrial Relations (DIR) has an online document that highlights some of the key elements of Nevada workers’ compensation law. The online materials posted by DIR point out that most employers are required to have workers’ compensation coverage under NRS 616A.230.  This coverage, in some circumstances, extends to “self-employed” persons as defined by NRS 616A.310. 

Self-Employed Workers’ Compensation

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, the Nevada Supreme Court recently heard a case regarding workers’ compensation for a self-employed truck driver. The three-justice panel ruled the lack of a salary, usually present for traditional employment, does not necessarily bar a calculation for lost income on a workers’ compensation claim. Business Insider covered the same case, focusing on the fact the truck driver was denied temporary total disability benefits and temporary partial disability benefits.  Originally the truck driver was a self-employed driver working one of FedEx’s home delivery routes.  After the driver was injured on the job, the Nevada Department of Administration, Appeals Division denied the driver’s appeal to receive benefits because the drive could not prove that he paid himself the weekly salary which he claimed. The Second Judicial District Court of Nevada denied the driver’s appeal, but the Nevada Supreme Court ruled a self-employed worker’s earnings could be calculated using the worker’s business profits and expenses to make a sufficient wage determination. 

What Does this Mean?

In the end this means self-employed workers in Nevada have the ability to get workers’ compensation benefits in certain circumstances.  Like the Las Vegas Review Journal mentions in its article, self-employed workers are required by law to maintain workers’ compensation insurance.  With that insurance, then a wage determination can be made without a traditional salary for the purpose of workers’ compensation benefit calculations.  The decision by the Nevada Supreme Court does not give a clear standard for self-employed workers’ compensation benefits though.  The Court remanded the case back to the lower court for a determination as to whether or not the driver’s documentation can present a “loss of earnings.”  The only new distinction is that the loss of earnings, when calculating salary, does not strictly need proof a self-employed individual paid themselves a salary. The Court even went so far as to say a loss of business income could be factored in.

What to do if you are a Self-employed Individual Hurt on the Job?

If you are a self-employed individual who is injured on the job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.  First, your workers’ compensation insurance must be up to date.  Then you should contact a licensed Nevada workers compensation attorney to make sure that your claim is being handled properly. 

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