The status quo for workers' compensation was rocked in 2015. The state Supreme Court weighed in on fairness and a tragic death sparked a discussion on what workers' compensation should truly encompass. There are three cases that changed the face of workers' compensation in Nevada and started a discussion on how the state should handle future cases.
Justice for the Self-Employed
The Nevada Supreme Court supported self-employed workers' rights this year by ruling that wage determination should include more than just salary for self-employed individuals. A delivery driver appealed the state for additional compensation when he fell during a delivery and subsequently hired an interim driver, which reduced his business income. The State Court agreed that the driver's business earnings should be factored into his compensation benefits.
Cirque du Compensation
A death in the production of Cirque du Soleil's production of "Ka" thrust the international company into the spotlight and the results weren't pretty. Injured employees spoke out citing inappropriate recompense from both the company and the state. Just like other high-risk, highly physical careers such as electrical line work and farming, Cirque employees found that the workers' compensation program aimed for rehabilitation rather than return to work. Workers found themselves healed but not whole. The fight for adequate compensation will be at the forefront of the workers' compensation fight in the coming year.
Finding Worker Fraud
It wasn't just companies that needed to pay up in 2015. A Las Vegas resident plead guilty of workers' compensation fraud and is awaiting sentencing, facing up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The man applied for workers' compensation citing a back injury while working at Dunkin' Donuts but was found to not only have a pre-existing back injury but also to be operating a handyman business while collecting disability. The man confessed to his abuse of the system but Nevada officials will continue to closely monitor those collecting workers' compensation for fraud.
If you believe your worker's rights are being violated, the first step is filing a worker's compensation claim. Then, contact a workers' compensation lawyer to navigate the long and difficult road to receiving your fair compensation. Workers' compensation is morphing in Nevada and 2016 promises to be another big year for worker's rights.