If you were injured at work in Nevada, workers’ compensation is generally the only way you can receive compensation for your injuries. But successfully recovering benefits for your work-related injuries can be difficult. An experienced Nevada workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the challenging workers’ comp claim process.
You are not required to hire an attorney to represent you in your Nevada workers’ compensation case. But working with an attorney will help you maximize your financial recovery and ensure that you receive all the benefits that you are owed. Choose a Nevada workers’ compensation attorney who understands the process, knows what information will need to be presented and how best to present it, and will make the presentation in a clear and compelling way.
Opening a Claim for Workers’ Compensation
To recover workers’ compensation benefits, you need to start by opening a claim. To file a Nevada worker’s compensation claim, you should:
- Notify your employer that you were injured, and complete a Notice of Injury or Occupational Disease (Incident Report Form C-1) no later than 7 days after the accident
- If you required medical treatment or missed work, your treating physician or chiropractor must complete an Employee's Claim for Compensation (Form C-4) within 90 days after a workplace accident, and mail it to your employer and your employer’s insurer and third-party administrator
The Employee’s Claim for Compensation must be completed by both you and your doctor. Your claim is opened when your doctor sends the form to the insurance company that handles workers’ compensation claims for your employer.
Once they have been notified, the insurance company has 30 days from the date it received the Claim for Compensation to accept or deny the claim.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If the insurance company accepts the claim, you may be eligible to receive one or more of the following benefits:
- Payment of Medical Bills
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
- Vocational Rehabilitation Maintenance
- Vocational Rehabilitation Training
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
If your claim was accepted, the insurance company will evaluate the medical evidence and decide: how long your claim will remain open, what kind of treatment you will receive, the type of temporary benefits that you qualify for, whether any permanent disability benefits will be paid, and whether you will be paid for vocational rehabilitation.
Appealing a Denial of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If your Nevada workers’ compensation claim is denied, either completely or if you did not receive all of the benefits to which you believe you are entitled, such as treatment or financial benefits, you must appeal the determination. Every time your employers’ workers’ compensation insurer makes a written determination that you do not agree with, you must file a new and separate appeal to protect your rights.
To appeal, you must file a Request for Hearing - Contested Claim within 70 days from the date of the determination letter. If you do not appeal timely, the insurer’s decision becomes final.
Settling Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Your workers’ compensation claim will remain open for as long as benefits are owed, or until you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). When the time comes to close your claim, the insurance company will notify you of its intent to close the claim.
You may be owed payments for permanent disability and vocational rehabilitation benefits. These payments can be scheduled as monthly payments, or paid in a single lump sum.
Reopening a Claim for Workers’ Compensation
If your injuries worsen after the insurance company has closed the claim, you can reopen the claim with a letter from your doctor stating that: (1) your condition has changed; and (2) the change is the result of the original injury.
Workers’ Compensation Hearings
If you contest any part of your workers’ compensation benefits, your case will be scheduled for a Hearing that is conducted by a Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer will try to resolve the disagreement between you and your employer by reviewing evidence from you and your employer. After reviewing all of the evidence, the Hearing Officer will issue a decision that specifies the benefits you will receive.
Workers’ Compensation Appeals
If you disagree with the decision of the Hearing Officer, you can appeal to an Appeals Officer by filing a Request for Hearing Before Appeal Officer. You must complete the form, attach a copy of the Hearing Officer’s decision, and send both to the same Nevada Department of Administrations’ address where you sent your initial appeal. The appeal will be heard within 60 days of your appeal.
The Appeals Officer will schedule a formal hearing to evaluate the Hearing Officer’s decision. The Appeals Officer will conduct a completely new and separate hearing that will be recorded and transcribed. The appeal is like starting over, so you cannot simply rely on evidence submitted to the Hearing Officer. You must resubmit any evidence you want the Appeals Officer to consider.
Once the Appeals Officer has reviewed the evidence, the Appeals Officer can:
- Affirm the decision of the Hearing Officer
- Reverse the decision of the Hearing Officer
- Send the case back to the Hearing Officer
The Appeals Officer must make a decision within 15 days.
Appealing to District Court
If you disagree with the decision of the Appeals Officer, you can file a Petition for Judicial Review with the district court. The appeal must be made within 30 days of the Appeals Officer’s decision.
The district court judge will review the issues addressed by the Appeals Officer to ensure that there is substantial evidence to support the Appeals Officer’s decision.
Appealing the decision of the Appeals Officer involves filing a claim in civil court, and complicated rules apply.
How an Attorney Can Help
While the workers’ compensation process may appear to be straight-forward, it is anything but.
As an injured worker, you should not trust the information you are being provided by your employer or their insurance company. To help you navigate the complex Nevada workers’ compensation system, you should work with an experienced Nevada workers’ compensation attorney who will explain the workers’ compensation process, advocate for your rights, and fight for the compensation that you and your family deserve.
The Vander Laan Law Firm Will Handle Your Workers’ Compensation Claim with Compassion and Competency
The Vander Laan Law Firm, LLC understands the burdens facing injured workers and the complex workers’ comp claim process. Attorney Natalia Vander Laan partners with her clients to assist with their physical, emotional, and financial recovery. She handles workers’ compensation claims on a contingency fee. This means that you do not owe attorneys’ fees unless the Vander Laan Law Firm recovers money for you.
From her offices in Minden and Carson City, Nevada, Natalia Vander Laan and the Vander Laan Law Firm proudly represent injured workers throughout Northern Nevada.
Learn what sets the Vander Laan Law Firm apart from other attorneys in Northern Nevada, get to know Natalia Vander Laan, and contact the Vander Laan Law Firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.