The Price of Workers’ Compensation Reform
When it comes to providing support and resources for workers and their families when accidents occur during the course of employment, workers’ compensation is necessary. However, the structure of workers’ compensation has been reformed throughout the U.S. in ways that make it much more difficult for workers to get the compensation that they need and deserve.
NPR and ProPublica published an article that explores these reforms and how they affect those who need the benefits and compensation offered by workers’ compensation insurance. The most important details associated with these reforms include the following:
- 33 states reduced the benefits of workers’ compensation in the past decade and cut back on the coverage, making it more difficult for workers’ to seek an adequate recovery.
- Big businesses and insurance companies support these reforms, claiming that costs associated with workers’ compensation are excessive, even though they are seeing more profits than ever before.
- Tax payers are now bearing the burden of workers’ compensation benefits as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid require tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money every single year.
- Employers and insurers now control medical decisions in many states, rather than actual doctors and medical professionals.
- Judges call the reforms inhumane as injured workers and families struggle to survive, though the companies they work for are thriving.
If you are facing a workers’ compensation case and need advice and representation, contact a Nevada workers’ compensation attorney for a free consultation. An attorney will help you to face these challenges with workers’ compensation reform and guid you through the process of appeals and securing adequate medical care.
Frequently Asked Questions about Workers’ Compensation in Nevada
Whenever someone has been injured at work, he or she is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are essential when you need to provide for your family and keep up with your bills while recovering from an injury. It is natural to have a lot of questions when you’re facing a workers’ compensation claim, and we are here to answer those questions. Following are some of the most frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation in Nevada:
1. Am I covered?
All employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance in Nevada, unless certain exceptions apply. Your employer has to tell you if they provide this coverage, but if you unsure, you can check with the Coverage Verification Service (CVS) of Nevada.
2. What should I do if I’ve been injured at work?
When you’ve been injured at work, you need to seek medical attention and inform your employer of the injury right away. Waiting too long to report your injury or seek medical care can cause you to lose all rights to any workers’ compensation benefits. Notify your employer in writing and request further information about the proper procedure.
3. Will I have to wait very long to receive workers’ compensation coverage?
From the moment that you are hired, you are covered by the workers’ compensation coverage policy carried by your employer. You can learn more from 616 and 617 of the Nevada Administrative Code.
4. What if I want to reopen my claim?
You can reopen your workers’ compensation claim (Nevada Revised Statutes § 616C.390), though some restrictions and guidelines apply. For example, you must prove a change in circumstances that may warrant reopening the claim, and you must wait one year from the date of the initial determination.
5. What amount of compensation can I receive?
Employees can recover up to 2/3 of their average monthly wage in Nevada, and there is no minimum compensation amount that applies.
6. Can I dispute the result of my claim?
If you do not agree with the decision of the workers’ compensation insurance, you can contest the decision (see Nevada Revised Statues § 616C.305 and § 616C.315 to 616C.385).
7. Can I file a lawsuit against my employer?
If you accept workers’ compensation benefits, then you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer. Workers’ compensation benefits you by allow you to receive the compensation you need for medical expenses and lost wages, and it protects your employer from lawsuit. In some situations, you may be able to file a third party lawsuit.
Work-Related Injuries and Medical Benefits
Whenever someone experiences a workplace injury in Nevada, he or she is covered by workers’ compensation insurance. You can file a workers’ compensation claim to receive benefits for medical expenses and lost wages. Some of the medical benefits include the following:
- Medical treatment compensation
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
- Vocational Rehabilitation
Nevada PPD and PTD Compensation
If a Nevada rating physician of the Division of Industrial Relations (DIR) determines that you are permanently partially disabled (with a ratable impairment after receiving medical treatment), you may qualify for PPD benefits. If you were not injured at all, your rating would be 0%. The rating physician will determine your percentage of PPD.
If the physician determines that you have a permanent total disability, you can receive up to 2/3 of your average monthly wages for the duration of the period that you are unable to work. You may be classified for the odd-lot status if you are able to hold some sort of job, though it is limited in quality or quantity.
Nevada Workers’ Compensation Doctors
Whenever you’ve been injured at work, you can only go to certain physicians for treatment. The physician must be authorized under the Panel of Treating Physicians and Chiropractors. Your workers’ compensation insurance provider may use MCOs, PPOs or HMOs. Do not be afraid to visit an emergency room, however, if you have a serious injury. You are able and advised to visit the nearest emergency room when necessary after a workplace injury. If you have more questions about workers’ compensation doctors and claim procedures, contact a Nevada workers’ compensation attorney for a free consultation.