What if a Nevada employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance?

Every Nevada employer is required to have workers' compensation insurance to pay benefits to injured workers. If an employer does not have coverage, an injured worker can:

An employer can be insured with a private insurance company or be self-insured. An injured worker can look up which insurance company is providing workers' compensation coverage and also companies that self-insure.

Employers may claim that an injured worker is not an employee and therefore the company does not need to have workers' compensation insurance. However, most work relationships are legally considered employer-employee relationships and will require workers' compensation insurance.

An injured worker should file a claim for an uninsured employer.

Some work positions are not considered to be an employer-employee relationship. These include:

  • theatrical or stage performers,
  • musicians whose services last less than two days,
  • household domestic service providers,
  • real estate brokers,
  • commission salespeople,
  • sole proprietors.

If someone is injured in one of these situations, no claim can be filed. The employer is not uninsured because the injured worker is not an employee.

In this article, our Nevada personal injury attorneys will explain:

nevada employee injured
Every Nevada employer is required to have workers' compensation insurance to pay benefits to injured workers

1. The requirement of workers' compensation coverage

Worker's compensation laws are generally the only way for employees injured at work in Nevada to get paid for an injury.2 In order to pay for these benefits, every employer in Nevada needs to have workers' compensation coverage.3

Example: James starts an auto repair business and has employees. He buys workers' compensation insurance from a private insurance company.

Jim has proof of coverage through a certificate of insurance and policy available at his repair shop. Jim also has the appropriate poster explaining employee rights in the case of an injury displayed in his shop.

2. Employee options when there is no coverage

Even if an employer does not have workers' compensation insurance or isn't self-insured, an injured worker will still be able to obtain benefits.

An injured worker can fill out a Notice of Election for Compensation Benefits under the Uninsured Employer Statutes.

Using this form, an employee can either:

  • file a claim for compensation with the Division of Industrial Relations, or
  • deal directly with the employer regarding all treatment and benefits.

If an employee elects to deal directly with the employer, he or she cannot later go back and file a claim.

Oftentimes an employee will first learn there is no insurance when going to the doctor for the first time with the claim form. The doctor's office may be unable to determine if there is workers' compensation insurance and may send it to the Division of Industrial Relations for further review.

2.1. File a claim with the Division of Industrial Relations

When the employer is uninsured, the employee will need to fill out the Employees Claim for Compensation – Uninsured Employer. This is similar to the regular claim form that is filled out when filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

The injured worker's benefits will be paid out of a state fund called the Uninsured Employer's Claim Account.4 The state works with a third-party company called Sierra Nevada Administrations, who will handle the claim.5

The injured worker also agrees to allow the state to attempt to recover any money it pays to the injured worker from the insurance company. This is done on an Assignment to Division for Workers' Compensation Benefits.6

The ability of the state of Nevada to get money from the employer based on the employee's right to benefits is referred to as subrogation.

Example: Elena is injured at work and finds out her employer does not have workers' compensation insurance.

She elects to have her benefits provided by the Division of Industrial Relations. She fills out and submits the Employee's Claim for Compensation – Uninsured Employer Form

2.2. Deal directly with the employer

If an employee does not file a claim, he or she can deal directly with the employer. The employee an also sue the employer in civil court.

However, the employee cannot then get workers' compensation benefits through the Uninsured Employer's Claim Account.

An employee who chooses to deal directly with the employer or sue the employer in civil court is taking a riskier option, as he or she is guaranteed to receive benefits for a valid work injury by going through the state.

Example: Olivia injures her ankle at work. She learns her employer does not have workers' compensation insurance.

Her employer convinces her to let them pay for her treatment. Olivia signs the Notice of Election for Compensation Benefits.

If the employer does not provide the benefits Olivia wants, she cannot go back and file a workers' compensation claim with the Division of Industrial Relations.

real estate agent showing couple a house
Commission based salespeople, such as most real estate agents, are not typically considered employees

3. Exceptions to having insurance

In some work relationships, there is no requirement for workers' compensation coverage as the injured worker is not actually an employee. In these cases, since there are not employees, there is no uninsured employer.

3.1. Classifying employees as independent contractors

Employers often may incorrectly assume they do not need coverage. However, most work relationships are an employer-employee relationship and do require workers' compensation coverage.7

A worker who is called an independent contractor who works for someone else may in fact be considered an employee and therefore will be covered by workers' compensation insurance.8

Example: Diego works for a trucking company. He is injured on the job and his employer says it does not have workers' compensation insurance because Diego is an independent contractor.

Diego may be considered an employee under Nevada workers' compensation laws and should file a claim for benefits.

There are special rules as far as when an independent contractor is or is not an employee9

3.2. Certain workers that are not considered employees

Under Nevada law, the following are not considered employees:

  • theatrical or stage performers
  • musicians whose services last less than two days
  • household domestic service providers
  • real estate broker
  • commission salespeople.10
  • sole proprietors, those who work for themselves in an unincorporated business11 does not have to have workers' compensation insurance to cover themselves.12

Example: Lorenzo plays a show at a club on two consecutive nights and injures his wrist.

Lorenzo is not considered an employee and even if the venue is uninsured, Lorenzo cannot obtain benefits.

3.3. Checking for insurance coverage

A business can either obtain private insurance or self-insure. To self-insure means they have a certificate from the state indicating they can and will pay workers' compensation benefits themselves.13

Self-insured employers are usually reserved for large employers that can afford the unanticipated expenses of claims.

Whether the employer is self-insured or not will not affect an injured worker's rights to benefits, including medical treatment, temporary disability, permanent disability, death benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and mileage reimbursement.

The only effect will be that the company will make decisions on the handling of the claim, instead of a separate insurance company.

An employee can ask his or her employer whether it is self-insured or he or she can look up self-insured coverage online.

An injured worker can also look up which insurance company is providing workers' compensation coverage to his or her employer.

Example: Davis works at Harrah's casino. He is injured at work and wants to find out information on workers' compensation insurance.

Looking at the self-insured employer list, he finds that the company, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, is self-insured.

4. Do not rely on what an employer says regarding Nevada workers' compensation benefits

Employers that do not have insurance may do or say anything to avoid getting caught and having to pay a penalty or the entire cost of any benefits.

Injured workers should consider filing a claim with the Division of Industrial Relations when the employer is uninsured, whether or not there is clearly an employer-employee relationship.

Call us for help...

nevada workers compensation attorneys
Call us for help at 702-DEFENSE

If you or someone you care about needs help to file a workers' compensation claim in Nevada, contact us at Las Vegas Defense Group. (For cases in California, please see our page on California employers without workers compensation insurance coverage.)

For a free consultation to discuss your case simply fill out the form below or call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673).


Legal References:

  1. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616A.110

  2. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616A.020

  3. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616A.260

  4. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.220

  5. http://dir.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/dir.nv.gov/content/WCS/Features/UninsuredEmployersAccount.pdf

  6. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.215

  7. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616A.210 & 616A.285

  8. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616A.210

  9. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616B.603

  10. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616A.110

  11. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616A.310

  12. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616B.659

  13. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616A.305

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