Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault insurance program in Nevada that provides benefits to employees and protects employers. Workers’ Compensation offers compensation to employees who are hurt while at work. Workers’ Compensation protects employers by providing the compensation, provided the employee has purchased a Workers’ Compensation policy at the time of injury.

In other words, Workers’ Compensation is a form of insurance which employees purchase to compensate any of their employees who get hurt on the job. Employers are required by state law, which differs slightly from state to state, to purchase some form of Workers’ Compensation policy.

Workers’ Compensation and Mental Health: PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression

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Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program in Nevada. In other words, compensation is provided to injured workers no matter who is at fault. If you don’t need to prove fault to receive compensation, why would anyone involve a personal injury lawyer in a workers’ compensation case?

The answer is simple: Workers’ Compensation, like all insurance companies, is incentivized to protect itself against fraud, false claims, and paying out more than it needs to pay. If your claim is flagged as a potential false claim, or if the insurance company can use a technicality to avoid paying you, then that’s what the insurance company will do. Personal injury lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Personal injury lawyers can help injured employees file claims, follow-up with insurance companies, gather evidence, and appeal decisions. An experienced lawyer will also be equipped to offer advice about turning a Workers’ Compensation case into a personal injury lawsuit, which may be the best route to follow in a minority of cases.

Mental Health and Workers’ Compensation

Mental health injuries are covered under Nevada’s Workers’ Compensation. However, a mental health claim has a higher likelihood of being denied than a black-and-white physical injury. Knowing your rights as a worker or as an employer will help you take advantage of the Workers’ Compensation program. Knowing your rights will make it possible to get yourself or your employees the help you need.

Workers’ Compensation does not compensate for mental health issues that are related to long-term job stress. Instead, a mental health claim needs to be connected to a specific, traumatic, injurious event.

For example, a nurse may suffer from depression caused by the stress that comes from a domineering ward manager in combination with the requirements of night shifts. He would most likely not receive any compensation from Workers’ Compensation for the depression and stress.

On the other hand, if an employee is on shift at a convenience store during an armed robbery, he may suffer from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the incident, even if he was never physically assaulted. This worker is more likely to have a viable case with Workers’ Compensation to receive the necessary treatment to overcome the PTSD.

More examples of Mental Health and Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation does not cover mental health issues that are related to hiring, firing, demoting, or promoting. These types of incidents are deemed to be unavoidable parts of the work experience.

Examples of situations that would likely not qualify an employee for Workers’ Compensation:

  • A manager falls into clinical depression after a junior associate is promoted past her.
  • A PR associate has recurring nightmares and PTSD symptoms after her deskmate is fired.
  • A division manager is diagnosed with anxiety after her superiors discipline her job performance.

Some examples of work-related injuries, resulting in mental health injuries, which would meet Nevada’s requirements for such cases:

  • A construction worker in downtown Las Vegas witnesses his workmate fall from the top of a high rise while they are both on the job. The construction worker is diagnosed with PTSD after experiencing vivid nightmares, trembling hands, and a cold sweat when he’s asked to work again on the same construction project.
  • A police officer in Summerlin is the first on the scene of a shooting. He can’t stop thinking about puddles of blood and experiences racing thoughts and high irritability at work and home.
  • A factory worker gets his hand caught in a winch, amputating three fingers. Although Workers’ Compensation covered the physical injury, the factory worker is also dealing with PTSD related to the traumatic incident of suddenly seeing his fingers lying on the floor.

Nevada law states that a work-related injury must be reported to the employer within seven days of the onset of the injury. The incident must be “discrete, identifiable, and traumatic,” according to state legal precedent. A personal injury lawyer may help you provide evidence that your mental health injuries should qualify under the current system.

It’s worth noting that even if you don’t qualify for Worker’s Compensation for a mental health issue, you will still have other resources to help you. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may provide unpaid leave and job protection. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) entitles disabled workers to receive accommodations from their workplace, enabling them to continue working despite the disability. In the worst-case scenarios, in which a disability completely prevents someone from working, Social Security provides a living stipend as a disability benefit.

In conclusion, Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault insurance policy that your employer is legally required to purchase. If you are experiencing diagnosable mental illness or disability because of an incident at work, you are entitled to file a claim with Workers’ Compensation. A lawyer may be retained to help you understand your rights and present a stronger case. Need help with a Worker’s Compensation claim? Contact our experienced accident injury attorneys in Las Vegas.

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