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We’re Here To Observe You, Not Treat You

A growing number of employers are opting out of state workers’ compensation systems. Employees injured on the job then can only rely on ERISA – the Employee Retirement Income Security Act – to address a workplace injury. Employers can only opt-out of state regulated workers’ compensation systems if the state legislature permits them to do so. Two states that currently allow employers to opt-out of state regulated workers’ compensation systems are Texas and Oklahoma. Examine the pros and cons of opt-out worker’s compensation systems from the perspective of the injured worker.

Workers’ Compensation Laws in Nevada: A Brief Overview

When a worker is injured on the job or develops an occupational disease, they apply for benefits under Nevada’s workers’ compensation laws. The benefits awarded may include coverage of medical treatment, compensation for wages (TTD), permanent partial disability (PPD), permanent total disability (PTD), vocational rehabilitation, payment to dependents in the event of the worker’s death, and other claims related expenses. The process from start to finish is handled by Nevada’s Division of Industrial Relations.

ERISA: A Brief Overview

Enacted in 1974, the federal statute ERISA mostly applies to pension plans, health plans, and other workplace benefits. ERISA may apply in cases where the employer has opted-out of the state workers’ compensation system but only if a federal question is applicable and the issue is not solely related to the workers’ compensation claim. ERISA purposefully excludes reviewing state worker’s compensation issues. ERISA challenges the aggrieved party to demonstrate the employer’s decision was arbitrary and capricious. If the injured worker is unable to prove his or her claim, they lose and may be on the hook for the employer’s legal fees. That famous “day in court” fantasy is never realized.

Why Employers Opt-Out of State Workers’ Compensation Systems

Employers’ embrace of opt-out alternatives to state regulated workers’ compensation plans is easy to understand. Proponents of employers who opt-out claim state regulated workers’ compensation systems result in expensive and long-term administration of benefits, costly litigation, and delays in medical treatment for the injured worker. The key words here are expensive, costly, and delay. By opting-out of state regulated workers’ compensation systems, especially if the employer is national and has job sites in more than one state, the employer saves lots of money.

Why the Injured Worker Loses Anyway

Stuck in this triangle is the injured worker. When the employer takes over the administration of a workers’ compensation claim from the state, the injured worker has limited options available when a disagreement arises. The employer sponsored workers’ compensation plan has a claim process, a review process, and an appeal process. On paper, the employer plan looks like any other state-sponsored plan. In reality, however, injured workers’ claims are met with skepticism and disbelief. The employer, people who work for them or get paid by them, are the judge, jury, and payer. All appearances of a neutral decision maker and a fair airing out of a claim may be ripped off the wall and thrown out of the window.

The employer may believe the injured worker is trying to scam the system. In some instances the employer sets out to prove as their defense that the accident never happened. If the accident never happened, the issue of lost compensation, medical treatment, and future medical treatment are irrelevant and are never decided by anyone.

Once the employer makes a decision on the injured worker’s’ claim, all benefits for the employee are cut off. An internal appeals process is available to the injured worker who believes the employer’s determination is incorrect. But the fact finder or hearings officer continues to be partial to the employer. Some employer workers’ compensation plans want to ensure that the injured worker cannot take his or her case to a state or federal court and ask a judge to review the employer’s decision by including a mandatory arbitration clause – another closed adjudication system with players on the employer’s payroll.

The employee, the aggrieved and injured party, remains sick and unemployed and may lose transportation or housing while the medical bills pile up with diminished job prospects because of the work related injury.

ASK FOR HELP

If a worker believes they have been treated unfairly in a workers’ compensation opt-out plan, they should contact one of the Labor Department’s Benefits Advisors at www.askebsa.dol.gov or via telephone at 1 (866) 444-ERISA.





Steps to Take After Being Injured on the Job Offer




Understanding Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Nevada

Car Insurance

It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle in Nevada without insurance. However, the sad fact is there are many drivers on the road right now who are uninsured or underinsured. According to this study, 12.2% of all drivers on the road in Nevada in 2012, had no auto insurance of any kind. If you get into an accident with an uninsured motorist, you could be facing serious problems even after your medical treatments and car repairs.

What are the risks?

Many people today, in an effort to make car ownership more economical, will sign up for the minimum coverages allowable by law and then completely forget about them when the keys go in the ignition. In Nevada, the minimum amounts allowable by law on your insurance policy are $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in any one accident, $30,000 for two or more persons, and $10,000 for injury or destruction of property to others. Anyone who has spent any time in a hospital knows how quickly $15,000 can be spent. Watch our video series to learn how much coverage you need to properly protect you and your loved ones.

But I have insurance, and I pay every month.

In Nevada, you are not required to purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, so if you purchased only the minimum required coverages, and you are injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you have no coverage for you, your family or passengers. The only coverage you’ll have is for your basic bodily injury, which is the $15,000 mentioned above when you cause the accident. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is an additional coverage you can, and should, purchase to help you in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

What does uninsured motorist coverage do for me?

What this coverage does is protect you from uninsured motorists who would otherwise leave you paying all the bills yourself. If you are in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance, and you don’t have this coverage, you could be looking at paying off medical and repair bills out of your own pocket. However, if you purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage for your insurance policy, your small investment now could pay off in big dividends should you ever be the victim of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

What if the other person has insurance, but their coverage isn’t enough to cover my medical and car repair costs?

Auto insurance companies in Nevada offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage together in one endorsement to the overall insurance contract, and you can choose from coverage as low as $15,000 to as high as $500,000. The size of the coverage will affect your insurance premiums.

So should I go straight to the insurance company with my claim?

Make sure your insurance company is fully aware of your accident and cooperate with them completely as it pertains to their investigation, but at the same time, understand that the insurance company is likely looking out for its own benefit more than yours. Make sure you have someone on your side, looking out for your best interests at all times. We recommend that you do not give a recorded statement without an attorney.

This is a highly technical and complex area, so if you are involved in an accident, be sure to immediately contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby & Martinez in Las Vegas, Nevada. We will help you navigate the murky waters of auto accidents and help you deal with the insurance companies to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

Interested in learning more about how you can protect you and your family? Watch our insurance video series.




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Understanding Collision and Current Minimums in the State of Nevada for Insurance Coverage

Car Insurance Claim

If you suffer injuries due to an automobile accident in Nevada, it is important that you contact experienced personal injury attorneys. Your insurance policies may be confusing and voluminous, but the experience and personal touch of the attorneys at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, and Martinez will help you understand the stack of paperwork from your insurance company.

I have the minimum coverage allowed by law, so what will my insurance premium cover?

Unfortunately, not very much. In Nevada, the insurance minimums are commonly referred to as 15/30/10. Those numbers represent the minimum coverages allowed by law for individual personal bodily injury ($15,000), total coverage for bodily injury per accident ($30,000), and coverage per accident for property damage ($10,000). As you can see, there is no minimum coverage required for collision. What this means is that if you are in an accident, it is possible that your insurance company is not required to reimburse you for repairs to your car.

But the accident wasn’t even my fault.

Unfortunately, if the other driver has no insurance or insufficient insurance, you will have to look to your own personal policy for help. With the help of an attorney, you can attempt to recover money from the driver who was at fault for your accident. However, the process can take a long time, and you need your car repaired immediately. Carrying and using collision coverage on your vehicle will not affect the outcome of your personal injury case. In fact, if you use your own insurance, and continue your personal injury case, it is possible that through a process called subrogation, you may receive a refund of the deductible you paid on your car repairs.

What will collision insurance cover?

Collision coverage is for damage to your vehicle resulting from an automobile accident regardless of fault. If you carry this coverage, it requires the insurance company to pay for the repairs of your vehicle up to the coverage limit, after you pay your deductible. For example, if you have collision coverage in the amount of $15,000, with a $1,000 deductible, you will be responsible only for the first $1,000 of damage done to your vehicle, and the insurance company will pay for everything beyond that amount up to $15,000.

$1,000 is a lot of money. Why would I even bother paying for insurance if I’m going to be responsible for that much?

Firstly, you can ask for a lower deductible, which will raise the monthly cost of your auto insurance. Secondly, according to this study, the average claim for collisions was $3,144. So even with the highest deductible possible, the insurance company would still be responsible for paying over two-thirds of the cost to repair your car.

What are the chances of this happening to me?

In 2013, there were over five million police-reported motor vehicle crashes. Of those, over one million resulted in injuries. These accidents happen every day, and in every part of the country. And with the increased value of motor vehicles, the cost of repairs climbs every day. It is important to have insurance coverage that covers you not only in the event of medical bills, but also in mechanics’ bills.

This is an intricate area of the law, and when you notify your insurance company of an accident, they will immediately begin looking out for their own best interests. Although you should always cooperate with your insurance company during their investigation, you also should make sure you have someone in your corner, making sure you get the coverage and compensation that you deserve. Contact a personal injury attorney at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, and Martinez today by calling 702-388-4476.

At Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez, we care about you and your family’s safety. Make sure you and your family are protected and watch our insurance videos to learn more about car insurance and how to get the right coverage.




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LVMPD Resumes Investigations of Property Only Car Crashes

Las Vegas Police

In February 2014, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department stopped responding to automobile accidents that only resulted in property damage. If no one involved in the auto accident was personally injured during the car crash, no police officer would be dispatched to the car accident scene to investigate the collision and provide a report for the drivers involved in the car accident. Drivers that dialed 9-1-1 following a collision would be asked questions to determine if any of the people involved in the accident were injured or in need of medical attention. If no one was injured, no police officer would be dispatched. Instead, the 9-1-1 dispatcher would ask the drivers to exchange names, contact information, vehicle registration information, and automobile insurance information. Both drivers were directed to follow-up with their car insurance companies to address property damage issues.

While a seemingly drastic move, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department had severe limitations during this time period. Specifically, they did not have the necessary budget to hire law enforcement personnel to investigate and respond to all of the car collisions that occurred in its area of jurisdiction. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is responsible for administration and enforcement of traffic regulations and ordinances governed by the City of Las Vegas, Clark County and the State of Nevada. Motor vehicle accidents in the city of Las Vegas cause more death, injury, and economic loss than any other violation or crime, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department website. It took until August 2015 for the Clark Commission to pass a “More Cops Tax” to provide the budget needed to hire law enforcement personnel.

On January 1, 2016, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department announced that its police officers would once again respond to property damage car crashes. So now, when you call 9-1-1 a police officer is dispatched to the scene of the accident to investigate the collision and help provide medical services to injured people. Keep in mind, however, that car crashes involving personal injury or death take precedence over car crashes involving property damage. The police will arrive, but you may have to wait a little.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED OR SUFFERED PROPERTY DAMAGE FOLLOWING A CAR ACCIDENT CONTACT THE PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS AT GREENMAN, GOLDBERG, RABY, AND MARTINEZ

If you have been involved in an auto accident resulting in personal injury or property damage contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, and Martinez for a free legal consultation. Proudly serving car accident victims in the city of Las Vegas, Clark County, and Southern Nevada since 1970, let Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, and Martinez represent you. Call us at (702) 388-4476 and set an appointment to visit our office conveniently located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas at 601 South Ninth Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101 for an immediate case evaluation without delay.




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My Medical Expenses Include Visits to Alternative Medicine Providers and Chiropractors – Can I Be Reimbursed for those Expenses in my Personal Injury Settlement?

Doctor's Office

Many people injured in automobile accidents find pain relief through alternative medicine providers and chiropractors. Alternative medicine is a group of medical therapies like herbalism, acupuncture, or homeopathy. Chiropractic is also an alternative medicine therapy but its primary focus is treating musculoskeletal disorders, especially in the spine and as it relates to the nervous system. This blog will discuss if reimbursement for expenses stemming from these types of medical therapies can be recoverable when a negligence or personal injury claim is settled.

General vs. Special Damages

In Nevada, damages in personal injury cases are classified as either general or special damages. General damages include reimbursement for pain and suffering, long term impairment, and loss of quality of life. Special Damages refer to direct economic loss, such as lost wages, medical expenses, transportation costs to and from medical providers, prescription medications, over the counter medications, and even future expenses when the injuries are severe and life-changing.

Alternative Medicine and Chiropractors

Whether the medical expenses stemming from alternative medicine and chiropractic treatment are covered at the settlement of a personal injury case depends on whether the expenses are viewed as necessary and reasonable. It is well established in Nevada, that injured parties are able to recover reasonable medical expenses incurred and in the future for injuries sustained as a direct result of the car accident. That the medical therapy is provided by a chiropractor or alternative medicine provider is irrelevant. Nevada certifies alternative medicine providers and grants them licenses to operate in the state. For more information on licensed alternative medicine providers, visit Nevada’s Board of Oriental Medicine.

If these expenses are challenged at trial as being unnecessary and unreasonable, the injured party’s attorney may be able to overcome the objections to the medical therapies by calling expert witnesses in the western medicine and alternative medicines fields of practice. A pretrial settlement contains fewer formalities but the injured party’s attorney will still need to demonstrate a direct connection between the injury and the car accident and that the medical therapies utilized were necessary and reasonable treatment.

Seek Legal Representation from Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or someone you love is in a car accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, and Martinez at 702-388-4476. Injury victims may be entitled to general and special damages in settlement of the claims against an at-fault driver. To maximize your compensation during the negotiation and settlement of your negligence or personal injury case, make sure you have experienced legal representation on your side.




Steps To Take After a Car Accident Offer