Nevada's system of workers' compensation is compulsory, meaning that employers are required to provide workers' compensation insurance to their employees. Workers' compensation insurance may be provided through private insurance carriers or self-insurance. Waivers may be permitted to exclude certain employees from coverage, including corporate officers and sole proprietors.
Exemptions from coverage may apply to certain employees, including agricultural workers, domestic employees, casual labor and professional athletes, many real estate employees, and some stage performers.
Medical Benefits are provided to employees entitled to workers' compensation benefits, including coverage for necessary medical care.
The employee may select an initial treating physician from a list provided by the employer, or from the employer's managed care plan. The employee may change physicians within the first ninety days after making a claim, and subsequently with the workers compensation insurer's permission.
Indemnity benefits are payable to injured workers to help make up for lost income. There is a waiting period of 5 days before a worker is eligible for indemnity benefits. With five consecutive missed days, or five non-consecutive days within a twenty-day period, indemnity benefits become retroactive to the date of the injury.
Benefits available to injured workers include the following:
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are paid to workers who are unable to work due to injury, but who are expected to make full or partial recovery such that they may return to work. Benefits are based upon 2/3 of the injured worker's average pre-injury weekly wage, subject to a cap, and continue for the duration of the temporary disability.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
When a worker is not expected to recover from a total disability caused by a work-related injury, and as a result suffers a total loss of earning capacity, the worker becomes eligible for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. In Nevada PTD benefits are calculated based upon 2/3 of the injured worker's pre-injury average monthly wage, subject to a cap, and may continue indefinitely. Benefits are periodically adjusted for inflation. Offsets may apply for Social Security benefits.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
Once an injured worker has recovered to the maximum possible extent, the worker may be able to return to employment but nonetheless remain partially disabled, and may potentially qualify for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. In Nevada PPD benefits are determined based on an impairment rating performed by a doctor who is on a rotating panel list maintained by the Division of Industrial Relations, based on actual wage losses or an estimated loss of wage-earning capacity. Benefits are calculated based upon 2/3 of the injured worker's average weekly wage, subject to a cap. Benefits may be payable for a maximum of five years or until the age of seventy, whichever is later.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
When a worker suffers an injury that limits his ability to return to work, resulting in a reduction of income as a result of reduced hours or wages, the injured worker may be eligible to receive a benefit based on the difference between the worker's pre-injury earnings and their reduced, post-injury earnings. In Nevada, TPD benefits are paid based upon 2/3 of the difference between the injured worker's pre-injury and post-injury wage, subject to a cap.
For some, more serious injuries, workers' compensation indemnity benefits may be paid according to a statutory schedule, instead of following the standard model of the weekly benefit based on the duration of the disability. Scheduled injuries include such injuries as the amputation of an arm, the loss of a dominant hand, the loss of a leg, the loss of a foot, the loss of an eye, or loss of hearing in an ear.
Coverage may be available for cumulative trauma, disfigurement, mental stress and occupational hearing loss.
When a worker dies as the result of a work-related injury, workers' compensation pays additional benefits, including a burial allowance, and benefits for a surviving spouse and dependents. Survivor benefits are calculated based on 2/3 of the worker's average weekly wage, subject to a cap in amount. Benefits may continue for minors until the age of 18, the age of 22 if the dependent is a student, or indefinitely in the event of disability rendering the beneficiary incapable of self-support. Spousal benefits end upon remarriage.
Attorney fees are not subject to a special limit. If the injured worker is represented by the Nevada Attorney for Injured Workers, the attorney fee is paid by the state.
This article provides a quick overview of the benefits available to injured workers, but the full formulas used for assessment of benefits, coordination of different types of benefits, and assessment of injuries and disability ratings can quickly complicate the determination of benefits. Also, states frequently revise their workers' compensation laws. Most workers who suffer a significant injury or wage loss as the result of a workplace injury will benefit from consulting a workers' compensation lawyer.
The state agency responsible for workers' compensation is:
Nevada Department of Business & Industry
Division of Industrial Relations
400 W. King Street, Suite 400
Carson City, NV 89703