According to Investopedia.com, Workers’ Compensation is a “government-mandated program” that pays benefits to injured and disabled workers. Workers’ Compensation serves the dual purpose of protecting employers and protecting workers.
- How does Workers’ Compensation protect employers? Workers’ Compensation protects employers from liability if their workers are injured while in the workplace. Worker’s Compensation provides a way for injured workers to recover quickly and return to work.
- How does Workers’ Compensation protect workers? Workers’ Compensation protects workers by paying medical costs and associated benefits for injuries received at work. Workers’ Compensation protects workers from burdensome medical costs that may prevent them from returning to work in a timely manner.
Workers’ Compensation is a “no-fault” insurance plan: neither party is culpable (legally responsible) and neither party needs to be proven negligent. The aim of Workers’ Compensation is to provide a way for injured workers to return to work as quickly as possible. An injured worker on Workers’ Compensation receives prompt benefits and medical support, while avoiding the delays, expenses, and animosity that accompany a lawsuit.
In a personal injury lawsuit, evidence must be presented to prove that the employer was negligent, causing the injury in question. In contrast, a Workers’ Compensation claim does not depend on proving liability or negligence.
Am I covered by Workers’ Compensation?
The vast majority of employees in Las Vegas are covered by the state-mandated insurance safety net called Workers’ Compensation (Workers’ Comp).
In Las Vegas, the largest employers are:
- Casinos (Wynn, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Aria, Mandalay Bay, Caesars Palace, and Venetian are largest)
- University Medical Center
- Southwest Airlines
- Las Vegas Metropolitan Police
All the workers at these large organizations, along with all workers at smaller employers in Las Vegas, are covered by Workers’ Compensation.
Workers’ Comp sounds too good to be true. Who pays the bill?
Employers are required by law to pay for the Workers’ Compensation program. Nevada law requires all private employers with one or more employees to make Workers’ Compensation payments.
I noticed the bit about “private employers.” What if I am a public employee?
Federal and state employees may have a separate Workers’ Compensation structure, but you will still be covered by Workers’ Compensation. Interestingly, the easiest way to learn the details of your coverage may not be reading the small print in your contract. Most states require Workers’ Compensation information be posted in an employee common area at your workplace. The poster will detail your rights, your coverage, and provide the information needed to file a claim.
What are examples of public employees?
- Protective service (law enforcement agents, animal control officers, immigration inspectors, firefighters)
- Government service (elected officials, city planners and attorneys, tribal affairs program managers)
- Educators (teachers, classroom aids, guidance counselors, principals, etc.)
- Community service (social workers, hospice workers, crisis line counselors, food pantry and homeless shelter workers, addiction counselors)
Are workers’ compensation claims outside the regular legal system?
No, workers’ compensation claims and disputes are not outside the regular legal system. This common – but mistaken – notion comes from the fact that a worker who accepts benefits from workers’ compensation usually forfeits the right to sue the employer for further benefits. However, if a worker does not accept workers’ comp benefits that are offered, or if workers’ comp benefits are denied in the first place, then the worker may choose to sue the employer for damages related to the workplace injury.
Some injured workers choose to sue an employer hoping to receive a larger compensation package than the benefits offered through Workers’ Compensation. A lawsuit may result in more compensation than a Workers’ Comp payout. Unlike a Workers’ Comp benefit package, a lawsuit compensation package may include compensation for pain and suffering, punitive damages, mental anguish, etc.
Lawsuits often include consideration for reckless or intentional actions from your employer. If you feel that your employer needs to be punished for unsafe working conditions, then hire an accident attorney instead of accepting Workers’ Comp benefits. Likewise, if you want to prevent similar or further negligence at your workplace, you will get better results from a lawsuit directed at your employer than from accepting Workers’ Compensation.
Workers’ Compensation was created as an alternative to filing a personal injury lawsuit. Workers’ Compensation insurance is usually a win-win for both employers and employees, as a system that allows both parties to avoid the costs and time commitments involved with engaging the legal system. However, sometimes the Workers’ Compensation system fails to meet the needs of an injured worker.
When Workers’ Compensation fails to meet the needs of an injured worker, the state courts provide protection. Taking your case to court by filing a lawsuit may be the only feasible option for receiving benefits that you deserve.
What kind of lawyer should I hire for a Workers’ Compensation problem?
Lawyers (attorneys) who specialize in Workers’ Compensation are sometimes referred by other names, including:
- Employment lawyer
- Personal Injury lawyer
- Accident injury lawyer
- Workplace lawyer
- Workers’ Compensation lawyer
- Healthcare lawyer / Insurance lawyer
In most straightforward cases of injury at the workplace, Workers’ Compensation will meet your needs for medical benefits and recovery. However, when Workers’ Compensation fails to meet your needs after an injury at work, call an experienced lawyer near you to explore your options.