We work to live, but, at times, work can be hazardous to our health. According to the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.7 cases of employer-reported injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time employees.
The most common of these incidents arise from:
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments
- Overexertion injuries (including repetitive motion injuries that tax muscles and joints)
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Harmful contact injuries (including running into something, having something run into you, or having a part of your body be squeezed, pinched, crushed, or compressed)
Whatever the cause of your workplace injury or illness, the most important thing is to report it quickly and follow through with all deadlines. It’s common for workers to push off reporting. They may feel fear of retribution by an employer, fear of seeming like a wimp, nervous about losing wages for missed days, or concerned about accruing medical bills. They may also feel intimidated by the injury reporting process with all of its paperwork. As a result, too many people deal with worsening occupational injuries and miss opportunities to get the worker’s compensation benefits they are legally entitled to.
The workers’ compensation process was created to benefit employees, but it’s not a free-for-all. It involves specific deadlines and paperwork. Miss the deadlines or submit the wrong paperwork, and you could jeopardize your case. That said, filing for workers’ compensation is worth it to avoid losing wages or paying for medical care due to work injuries.
Here are some benefits that you could get as part of workers’ compensation:
- Payment of medical bills
- Temporary disability (partial or total)
- Permanent disability (partial or total)
- Vocational rehabilitation (to train you into a new job if your illness or injury prevents you from returning to your former one)
As Las Vegas workers’ compensation lawyers with a long track record of advocating for injured workers, one of our jobs at Tingey Injury Law Firm is to demystify the process of filing for workers’ compensation in Nevada. In this article, we’ll help you get familiar with the steps that must be taken post-injury, as well as the related deadlines and documents.
Critical Steps/Deadlines in the Workers’ Compensation Claims Process
Employee Reports Injury
Deadline: Within 7 days of your accident or discovering an occupational illness.
Form required: C-1 (Notice of Injury or Occupational Disease—Incident Report)*
You must complete this form, and your employer must sign it. Make sure that you act quickly on this. Even if you’re not sure how serious the injury is, it’s better to report while you’re still in the acceptable window of time.
Compared to the national average, Nevada’s 7-day requirement is short. Many states allow 30 days or more to report an injury. Some allow years, including New Hampshire, which allows two years to report your injury. Act fast in Nevada!
Note that while this is a necessary first step, it does not officially start the claim. That begins with the C-4 at the doctor’s office (see below).
*Your employer’s insurance company supplies these forms. Your employer is required by law to keep an adequate supply of blank C-1 forms for their employees.
Employee Seeks Medical Treatment
Deadline: Within 90 days
Form required: C-4 (Employee’s Claim for Compensation/Report of Initial Treatment)
This form must be signed by you and the medical provider (either a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathic medicine, or a doctor of chiropractic). While you may wish to see your own provider, you must select a healthcare provider from a list that has been authorized by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
Medical Provider Submits Treatment Report
Deadline: Within 3 days
The medical provider must send the C-4 to you, your employer, and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer.
Employer Reports Injury to Insurer
Deadline: Within 6 days of receiving the C-4 from the medical provider
Form required: C-3 (Employer’s Report of Industrial Injury or Occupational Disease)
Employer must complete form C-3 and submit it on your behalf to their workers’ compensation insurer.
Insurer Accepts or Denies Employee’s Claim
Deadline: Within 30 days of receiving the C-4 from the medical provider, the insurer must make a determination about whether or not it will approve your workers’ compensation claim (to include covering your medical bills, replacing your wages, etc.). They will either accept your claim, notify you accordingly, and begin paying your claim, or they will notify you that they have denied your claim.
Employer Verifies Employee’s Wages for Days Off of Work
Deadline: Within 6 working days of receiving a C-4 that indicates that an injured employee will miss work for 5 consecutive days or more after injury (or for 5 days within a 20-day period), employer must file a D-8 with their workers’ compensation insurer.
Form required: D-8 (Employer’s Wage Verification Form)
Employee Files First Appeal for Denied Claim
Deadline: Within 70 days of the insurance denying your claim (70 days from the date on the denial letter), employee must file for a hearing at the hearings office
Employee Files Second Appeal for Denied Claim
Deadline: Within 30 days of the date the HO (hearings officer) enters their D&O (decisions and order), employee can file an appeal with the appeals office.
Employee Files Third Appeal for Denied Claim
Deadline: Within 30 days of the appeals office denying a claim, the employee can file an appeal with the appropriate Nevada district court.
The workers’ compensation process is famously complex, so it’s a good idea to contact a Las Vegas work related accident attorney to help you file your claim. This is especially important in Nevada where windows for filing are among the shortest in the nation, and deadlines can sneak up on you quickly.
Your work injury lawyer can also hold your employer accountable if they aren’t playing by the rules. Employers are subject to penalties if they don’t uphold their end of the bargain; we can make sure that these are enforced.
And finally, we can help you through the appeals process if your employer’s insurer denies your claim. Many employees think they have to take the first no for an answer, but that’s not the case. The insurer wants to pay out as little as possible, and they use all kinds of tactics to protect their bottom line. A skilled work accident lawyer can see through these tactics and leverage the proper evidence to make sure you get the full benefits that you deserve.