If you are injured on the job, workers’ compensation insurance can provide payment for lost wages, loss of potential wages, medical bills, and rehabilitation expenses. You must take the initiative to file the claim, however.
A Closer Look at the Claims Process
If you are injured in the State of Nevada, here’s a closer look at the filing process:
- Complete a C-1 form (“Notice of Injury or Occupational Disease”). You can get this form from your employer immediately after your injury to report what happened.
- See a physician. Your employer should provide you with a list of approved doctors. You should see one of them immediately so that they can assess your injuries and move your claim forward.
- Have your physician complete a C-4 form (“Claim for Compensation”). Your doctor should have a C-4 form on hand. They must complete this form and return it to you so that you can submit it to your employer within 90 days.
- Wait for insurance to respond. The employer’s insurer then has an additional 30 days to accept or deny your claim.
- Document, document, document. We can’t stress enough the importance of documenting the events of the accident and the nature and scope of your injuries as you pursue treatment. This documentation can be invaluable in defending your case should any questions arise.
When Things go Wrong
In a perfect world, your employer will support you in these steps and help you advance your claim so that you get the compensation that you are entitled to. Unfortunately, not all employers play by the rules.
Because workers’ compensation claims drive up insurance premiums for companies, employers have been known to undermine these claims in a myriad of ways.
Here are just a few common tactics that we have seen:
Delaying. Workers’ compensation claims are time sensitive, so it’s imperative to file yours as quickly as possible. If your employer seeks to delay this process by failing to give you the correct forms or authorized doctor list, or if they fail to submit your C-4 form to the insurer in a timely manner, they may be trying to bide time in hopes of discouraging you, keeping you on the job, or trivializing your injuries. If your employer is dragging their feet, contact a workers’ compensation attorney to intervene.
Downplaying your injuries. Your employer—or their insurer—may tell you that you’re not eligible for compensation because your physical discomfort is due to a previous injury. For example, if you pulled your back due to the strain of lifting something heavy at work, they may try to pass this off as residual pain from an injury you sustained in a former job. If this is happening, consult a qualified workers’ compensation attorney to advocate for your rights and stand up to your employer and their insurance carrier.
Manipulating your personal relationship. If you have a good rapport with your boss, they may try to blur the line between your professional and personal connection. They could appeal to your sense of loyalty or guilt to get you to prioritize the company’s needs over your own. If you’re injured on the job, however, you need to put your healing process, your ability to work now and in the future, and your finances first. If your employer is the friend that they are claiming to be, they will honor your desire to get workers’ compensation benefits to defray the cost of medical bills and time off of work, allowing you to heal properly.
Firing you. Some employers have gone so far as to terminate employees in hopes that they won’t pursue compensation for their injuries. Firing someone because they filed a workers’ compensation claim is against the law. This is where your documentation is critical. Make sure that you have recorded the events of the accident and any actions on the part of your boss that seem out of line. Thorough record keeping can help build a case against your employer if you feel that you were fired unjustly and decide to pursue legal action.
Claiming that you were at fault. A workers’ compensation claim is different than other personal injury claims. It allows employees who are injured at work to receive benefits without regard to their negligence or fault. So if your employer is trying to convince you that you don’t deserve compensation because of something that you did to contribute to the injury, don’t be intimidated. You should proceed with filing your claim.
Don’t be bullied by stingy employers who want to get out of providing benefits for your on-the-job injuries. This is part of their legal obligation as an employer. If your employer is uncooperative, document it and enlist the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. They can fight for your rights and take the stress off of you so that you can put your energy into healing and returning to full physical and mental capacity.