The legal avenue for bringing a job injury claim in Las Vegas depends on the worker’s status: Employees would file a workers’ compensation claim in Nevada, while independent contractors would bring a civil lawsuit.
Either way, workers who became ill or injured while on the job may be able to recover money to cover their medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. And if their claims are initially denied, they are free to bring an appeal.
Injured workers are advised to consult with private counsel as soon as possible to strategize how best to pursue work injury claims. Accident attorneys are experienced in negotiating with insurance companies to achieve the largest possible settlements for their clients.
In this article, our Las Vegas Nevada personal injury attorneys discuss the following topics:
- 1. What is the difference between workers’ comp and civil lawsuits in Nevada?
- 2. What damages can employees get for job injuries?
- 3. When are employees ineligible for workers’ comp?
- 4. When can third parties get sued for workplace injuries?
- 5. What are common workplace injuries?
- 6. What steps should employees take after an injury?
- 7. What is the time limit for filing a claim?
- 8. How do employers fight back?
Typically when someone gets injured in Las Vegas, the victim can file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. But when an employee sustains a workplace injury in Nevada, that employee usually cannot sue the employer.
Instead, the injured employee’s “exclusive remedy” would be to file a workers’ comp claim with the employer’s insurance carrier. And since worker’s comp is a “no fault” system in Nevada, the employee does not have to show what or who caused the accident. Instead, the employee just has to show that the accident was related to work.
In many ways, workers’ comp is extremely beneficial for employees. But in other ways, not being able to file an ordinary lawsuit is very restrictive:
Workers’ Comp Claims
Personal Injury Civil Lawsuits
|An employee’s claim is usually decided within 30 days after it is filed.||Lawsuits can take months or years to resolve.|
|The employee is compensated even if the injury was his or her fault.||The employee needs to prove that the employer was at fault in order to recover damages.|
|Claims do not cost anything to file.||Civil lawsuits are often expensive.|
|There is usually a damages cap, and the money received may be insufficient.||There is usually no limit for potential damages.|
Virtually every employer in Nevada is required to carry workers’ compensation coverage insurance. Check to see if your employer is covered at the Coverage Verification website.
Nevada independent contractors are ineligible to file workers’ compensation claims in Nevada. Therefore, independent contractors who get injured on the job would need to bring an ordinary personal injury lawsuit: The most common claim is for Nevada negligence.
As discussed above, injured independent contractors can prevail in court only if they were not at fault for the accident. And it takes more time to successfully pursue job injury claims for an independent contractor than for an employee.
However, independent contractors are not limited by workers’ comp benefit maximums like employees are. This means that if the contractor’s injury was serious or had catastrophic long-term consequences, he or she may be able to recover significantly more compensation as an independent contractor than he or she would be entitled to as an employee.
An increasing number of American employers rely on independent contractors to perform a wide range of duties. If you filled out 1099 paperwork when you started working, it means the person or company you work for considers you an independent contractor. However, this does not mean the employer is right: An attorney may be able to prove that you are in fact an employee and entitled to workers’ comp.1
Employees may be able to recover the following compensation for:
- Medical bills (including surgeries, home health caregivers, physical and occupational rehabilitation, prescription drugs, and transportation to and from appointments)
- Medical equipment expenses (such as oxygen concentrators, wheelchairs, hospital beds, and other necessary supplies)
- Loss of wages of up to two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage
- Vocational rehabilitation (job training) in Nevada in workers’ comp cases
- Temporary disability benefits in Nevada – including temporary partial disability (TPD) and temporary total disability (TTD)
- Permanent disability benefits in Nevada – including permanent partial disability (PPD) and permanent total disability (PTD) from lost earning capacity
Depending on the circumstances of the case and the extent of the injuries, this compensation can be in the form of a settlement and/or monthly payments. Also depending on the case, employees may be able to continue receiving benefits.
If an employee dies from a work injury, the employee’s family can file a workers’ comp claim to receive “death benefits in Nevada.” This typically amounts to two-thirds of the employee’s average monthly wages as well as burial expenses (up to $10,000).2
If an independent contractor dies from a work injury, his or her family can bring a wrongful death claim in the state of Nevada. Similar to death benefits, damages can include funeral expenses and loss of support.
Employees may not recover workers’ comp benefits for injuries they sustained on the job while they were intoxicated or high. Employees also may not collect benefits if they injured themselves on purpose.3
Otherwise, employees who get injured while on duty should be eligible for workers’ comp in Nevada even if they unintentionally caused the accident. And employees injured in a car accident could be eligible for worker’s comp if they were traveling for work purposes.
Under Nevada workers’ compensation law, sometimes a party other than the employer could be partially or totally at fault for a work injury.
For example, if an employee was hurt by a defective piece of factory equipment, the manufacturer of the equipment could be liable. Or if a motorist crashes into an employee while he or she was on the job, the employee may also be able to pursue a claim against that driver.
Situations like this are called “third-party claims.” Third-party claims allow employees injured on the job in Nevada to be compensated at a level higher than is allowed by the workers’ compensation system.
Many employees are unaware that their job injuries could actually qualify them for a third-party claim until they discuss their options with a personal injury attorney. And unlike workers’ comp claims, third-party civil lawsuits have no limit to the amount of damages the employee can potentially recover.
Every job carries its own hazards. People with desk jobs or even casino dealers may be prone to carpal tunnel syndrome. Whereas people in warehouses risk having heavy objects dropped on them or sustaining stress fractures from repetitive movements. And falls from tall heights are always a risk when the job involves ladders and scaffolding.
Some common employee injuries and occupational diseases include:
- perforated organs
- fractured bones (common after a slip-and-fall)
- burn injuries in Nevada
- lung problems
- vision or hearing loss
- cardiac arrest (such as after an electric shock / electrocution)
- traumatic brain injury in Nevada
- spinal injuries in Nevada
And death is not uncommon for people with high-risk jobs, such as law enforcement officers, firemen, and construction site workers who operate heavy machinery.
Employees in Nevada are advised to take the following course of action after being injured or acquiring a disease due to their job:
- If the injury is serious, seek medical attention right away by going to the ER or calling 911. Have the doctor fill out a form C-4.
- If the injury is not serious, report the injury to the employer by filling out a form C-1 and consult with a personal injury attorney about filing a claim soon (using a D-6 form).4
- Seek continuing treatment from a medical provider that is preapproved by the employer’s workers’ comp policy.
- Document everything about the accident: What happened, who saw it, what you were wearing, if there is video, etc. All these details can help substantiate your claim.
- Follow doctor’s orders regarding medical care and never miss an appointment.
Independent contractors who are injured on the job should also take care to document the accident and everything that happens afterward. This information is vital evidence that could help win a personal injury lawsuit.
Whether a worker has to file a workers’ comp claim or bring a civil lawsuit, the process requires extensive paperwork and following procedural guidelines. Therefore, it is highly recommended that anyone injured in an accident retain a personal injury attorney to take care of the process for them and fight for the largest possible settlement. Injured workers should be focusing their efforts on getting better and not filing documents.
To file a workers’ comp claim, employees must inform their employer about their work-related injury or disease within seven (7) days of it occurring. And the claim must be filed no later than 90 days after the injury. Meanwhile, independent contractors typically have a two-year statute of limitations in Nevada after the injury to file suit.5
It is extremely important that injured or sick workers meet these deadlines. Otherwise, they may forfeit getting any benefits at all.6 An experienced personal injury attorney can help manage the claim and make sure all the forms are filed in time.
Employers may try to advance the following arguments in order to keep their insurer from paying out damages to their injured workers:
- the worker was not on duty at the time of the accident
- the worker was acting outside the scope of employment
- the worker was impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time
- the worker purposely injured him or herself
- the injury is not serious or is inconsistent with the medical records
- the worker needs no time off to heal from the injury
If the insurer denies a worker’s claim, there is still an opportunity to appeal: Employees can appeal to the Hearings Division of the Nevada Department of Administration, and an independent contractor can appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court. Several claims that are originally denied are eventually won on appeal, and a good personal injury attorney can greatly increase the odds of success. (Learn more about appealing workers’ compensation claim denials in Nevada.)
Note that employers are not allowed to fire employees in retaliation for filing a workers’ comp claim. If this happens, the employee may pursue legal action for wrongful termination in Nevada.
Injured on the job in Las Vegas? Nevada law may be in your favor
It may seem that you have few or no options when it comes to getting compensated for an on-the-job injury. But that is not always the case.
At Las Vegas Defense Group, L.L.C., our Nevada attorneys care about you and want to help you get the compensation you deserve for your workplace injury.
If you have been hurt on the job, our law firm invites you to contact us for a free consultation. You would not pay us a dime unless and until we obtain a settlement or verdict in your favor. For a free consultation with one of our caring Las Vegas workplace injury lawyers, call us or fill out the form on this page.
If your case is in California, please see our article on when you can sue your employer for workplace injuries in California.
- NRS 616A.255.
- NRS 616C.400; NRS 616C.505; see also Taylor v. Truckee Meadows Fire Prot. Dist., (2021) 479 P.3d 995, 137 Nev. Adv. Rep. 1.
- NRS 616C.230.
- NRS 616C.025; Barrick Goldstrike Mine v. Peterson, (2000) 116 Nev. 541, 546, 2 P.3d 850 (“Pursuant to the plain language of NRS 616C.025(1), we conclude that an injured employee must file both a notice of injury and a claim for compensation in order to receive benefits.”).
- NRS 616C.015; NRS 616C.020; NRS 11.190.
- Brocas v. Mirage Hotel & Casino, (1993) 109 Nev. 579, 854 P.2d 862, 109 Nev. Adv. Rep. 92 (Lexis: “There was no good reason to dispense with the formal statutory notice and filing requirements where record did not reflect that the employer was given actual notice sufficient to excuse formal statutory notice. Employee did not seek immediate medical treatment, did not fill out an employee accident report, did not miss any work due to an injury, and according to supervisor’s testimony, did not report an injury.”); Bally’s Grand Hotel & Casino v. Reeves, (1997) 113 Nev. 926, 948 P.2d 1200, 113 Nev. Adv. Rep. 102 (Lexis: “Under subsection (6) of former NRS 616.500, an industrial accident insurer may excuse a claimant’s failure to comply with the formalities of subsection (1) of this section where there is sufficient reason for doing so, principally in cases in which a claimant has an excuse based upon mistake or ignorance of fact or of law.”); see also Associated Risk Mgmt. v. Ibanez, (2020) 478 P.3d 372, 136 Nev. Adv. Rep. 91.