Things You Need To Know About Work Injury Claims What is workers’ compensation? The Nevada Industrial Insurance Act is a set of laws administered by state agencies. The Division of Industrial Relations and the Department of Administration govern what workers, employers, and insurance companies are supposed to do when a worker is injured on the job or gets a disease caused by the job. It is usually called workers’ comp. With very few exceptions, workers’ comp applies to your employment. The Nevada Industrial Insurance Act requires that employers provide two kinds of benefits to the injured employee, at no cost to the employee. The first benefit is the medical benefit. The second (and equally important) benefit is the income benefit. Income benefits must be paid if an employee is off work due to a work-related injury. There are also other benefits available such as a dollar award at the end of the claim and in many instances vocational rehabilitation to train a claimant to do other work if he or she cannot return to the job of injury. The law covers full-time, part-time, and temporary employees. When do I need a lawyer for a workers’ comp claim? Workers’ comp is a very complex area of law. It is highly recommended that you retain a lawyer to help file and pursue a claim. You can be sure that the employers and their insurance companies have their own lawyers. Their “in-house” lawyers do not work for anyone except the insurance company. You need your own lawyer working for you. Is workers’ comp different from my health insurance? Yes. Workers’ comp is separate and different from your health insurance, even if your health insurance is paid directly through your employer’s plan for all employees. When is an injury or disease work-related? “Work-related” is sometimes called “on-the-job” and that is what it generally means, but not always. Most injuries covered by workers’ comp occur during an ordinary workday. All work-related injuries are covered. For example, if you slip and fall at work, while you are “on the clock” that is most likely covered. If you slip and fall in the company parking lot, that might be covered. If you are working at a construction site, it is work-related, no matter where the construction site is located. If you are working out of town and staying in a motel, and you get hurt in the motel, it may be work-related, depending upon your position with the company. A disease is considered an on-the-job injury if the disease is the direct result of your work. Catching a cold from a fellow co-worker is probably not the result of your work. If you get anthrax while handling poisoned mail for your company, anthrax would probably be considered a work-related disease. Many work-related injuries and diseases do not happen suddenly. An injury can occur over time through repetitive motion movements that some workers are required to perform, such as tightening bolts on an assembly line, using a jackhammer, or typing on a computer keyboard. In the same way, many work-related diseases come from more than a single exposure incident. The lung diseases of asbestos workers and old-time cotton mill workers were diseases that came on slowly over a period of extended exposure. When do I report my work-related injury or illness? The most important rule for you to follow is to report to your boss as soon as possible (within one week) after you have an on-the-job accident or as soon as you believe the job has somehow made you sick. Likewise death claims should be reported as soon as possible. For example, if you strain your back at work, but decide that you can go on working, you might wait to report your injury. But don’t wait. If you report the incident right away and show your boss how you hurt yourself, that will tend to nail down just when and how the accident happened. Your boss will know the back strain occurred at work and not after you got home. Your report does not need to be in writing; however, there is a Notice of Industrial Injury form (C-1) that should be filed if possible within the first week. You don’t have to prove that your employer was negligent or knew that a part of your job was dangerous. You can’t be penalized because a fellow employee caused the accident. The most important question is whether your injury or illness is work-related. Again, some injuries and almost all diseases take time to develop. The Nevada Industrial Insurance Act recognizes this, but you still need to report to your employer as soon as you realize that you have a work-related injury or illness. In the cases of a work-related injury, you usually must report the incident within 90 days to qualify for all workers’ comp benefits (C-4 form). Missing the workers’ comp reporting deadline may also affect your health insurance. Some insurance plans will pay nothing for a work-related injury or illness. In other words, delaying reporting a work-related injury or illness may also cause problems in obtaining coverage with your regular health insurance plan. This section of the website is only intended to give you a general overview of workers’ comp and is not intended to give a legal opinion or legal advice. All legal opinions and advice require a lawyer to consider a specific factual situation in light of the governing law.This page cannot be substituted for such a legal analysis, so you should retain an experienced lawyer to work directly with you.