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Getting Back to Work After a Serious Hand Injury

Hand injuries can be crippling, and for anyone who works with their hands—most people—such injuries can have serious career consequences. If the injury happened at work, workers’ compensation insurance should cover not just medical costs, but rehabilitation and potentially some retraining as well. For people who suffer hand injuries outside of work, the path can be more difficult.

Recovering from hand injuries is a long process

The hand is enormously complex, and injuries to it can be just as complicated. Even an invisible injury like a torn tendon or carpal tunnel can have long-term consequences. But broken bones and amputations are common as well. One of the challenges of recovering from a major hand injury is that many factors can cause recovery to go more slowly than anticipated, or not be as successful as hoped. Many types of injuries lead to chronic conditions that limit the injured hand’s functions and affect an individual’s ability to work.

Workers’ comp and hand injuries

Because workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system, workers who are injured on the job need to meet a fairly low threshold to get coverage for an injury. By law an employer is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance to all of its employees and qualified contractors. For an injury to be covered it must have arisen out of and in the course of the worker’s employment. Hand injuries on the job are no different from other types of work-related injury as far as coverage is concerned. Lasting hand injuries often force people to change the kind of work they do. Workers’ compensation may cover retraining programs where a doctor has imposed permanent work restrictions related to the injury and the employer has not offered permanent light duty work. The success of a retraining program depends on many factors, only some of which are within the worker’s control. But it can offer a way to change careers in response to an injury that otherwise could leave the worker unemployed for the long term.

Injuries outside of work

One hopes that an individual who causes his or her own hand injury has insurance to cover the injury and its consequences. Of course, as we all know many people lack such insurance, and for them the cost of such injuries can be enormous. Someone who suffers a hand injury as a consequence of another person’s negligence may have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover whatever costs an insurer won’t cover. Quite often these include things like job retraining, prosthetics, and physical therapy. Unlike workers’ compensation insurance, a lawsuit can also recover compensation for pain, mental anguish, and other forms of damage that a hand injury often brings.

GGRM is a Las Vegas workers’ comp and personal injury law firm

If you have suffered a serious hand injury and you think you have not received fair compensation, whether from the responsible employer or from a person who caused the injury, it’s important to talk to an attorney right away. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases for over 45 years. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call us today at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

The Scope of Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Nevada

The Scope of Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Nevada
Just about every kind of work involves the possibility of injury. People who work in risky professions like construction, law enforcement, or firefighting know that the risk of injury comes with the job. But even desk workers can develop repetitive motion injuries. Fortunately, Nevada’s workers’ compensation law provides injured workers with a range of protections and benefits to help them get back on their feet after suffering an injury at work. 1. Medical treatment. The most important benefit of workers’ compensation coverage is medical treatment for injuries. Serious injuries can require treatments with costs ranging into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. By requiring employers to carry insurance, Nevada protects employees from being financially ruined solely because of a work-related injury. The scope of medical treatment coverage is not boundless. A few of its characteristics include the following:
  • Only treatment for conditions related to an injury that arises out of and in the course of employment will be covered. NRS 616C.137. An insurer, third-party administrator, or employer may review each invoice and deny coverage for any services that they believe fall outside the scope of the work-related injury. This can be a problem when an insurer believes that an injury is not as serious as the worker’s physician believes, or if the worker needs care that appears to be outside the scope of the injury, even though it is appropriate (for example, psychological counseling after a serious fall).
  • Injured workers have the right to choose a doctor from a prescribed list of approved physicians, however the insurer can require evaluations by a doctor of the insurer’s choosing.
  • Doctors who prescribe medication to workers’ comp recipients must prescribe generic versions, unless the generic form is not medically beneficial or more expensive than the branded version. NRS 616C.115.
  • If problems from an injury persist after the initial period of coverage has closed, the worker may request a reopening of benefits.
2. Disability benefits. An injured worker is entitled to temporary and permanent disability benefits when appropriate. The level of disability determines the kind of compensation that is available:
  • Workers are placed on temporary total disability if they are unable to return to work for more than five days. Such workers are entitled to receive two-thirds of their average monthly wage, up to a maximum of about $3,700 per month, until they return to work or until their medical treatment has run its course.
  • Workers are placed on temporary partial disability if their injuries prevent them from returning to their old position, but they can still return to work on light duty. Such workers receive two-thirds of their normal pay, less the amount they earn doing light duty work for up to 24 months.
  • Workers are placed on permanent total disability if their injuries are serious enough to make working impossible. Such workers receive the same rate as someone who is temporarily totally disabled, but for the duration of the permanent disability (possibly for life).
  • Workers are placed on permanent partial disability if their injuries impair part, but not all of their ability to work. A permanent partial disability is given a percentage value to reflect the amount by which it impairs the person’s ability to work. The percentage is used to determine how much monthly compensation the worker is entitled to receive.
3. Vocational rehabilitation services. Injured workers who aren’t able to return to their old positions may qualify for vocational rehabilitation services. These services help injured workers find other work or get retrained. The length of time such benefits will be available depend on how the worker’s disability is categorized.

GGRM is a Las Vegas workers’ compensation law firm

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients protect their rights to workers’ compensation benefits. If you have questions about Nevada’s workers’ compensation laws, reach out to us today for a free, confidential attorney consultation. Call us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Are Mandatory Flu Shots Legal in Nevada?

Are Mandatory Flu Shots Legal in Nevada?
Some employers, especially in the health care industry, have started requiring their employees to get annual flu shots. Even though the flu vaccine has a lot of benefits both for the patient and the population at large, some people can experience serious side effects. These range from fever and nausea to allergic reactions and, in rare cases, serious conditions like Guillain-Barré syndrome. An employer mandate can feel unfair for employees who are concerned about the risks of vaccines or object to them on religious grounds. But if an employer terminates an employee for refusing to comply with a mandatory vaccine policy, does the employee have legal recourse?

At-will employment gives employers leeway

Nevada is an at-will employment state, which means that an employer ordinarily can terminate an employee with or without cause. There are exceptions to this general rule for employees who work under a contract, such as collective bargaining agreements, where the terms of the contract will override the default, at-will rule. But absent an arrangement that spells out when and how an employee can be fired, an employer is free to terminate an employee at any time. Failure to comply with a condition of employment, such as a requirement that all employees get the flu vaccine, may give an employer cause for firing an employee. For the employee, being fired for cause could have consequences beyond just losing the job, such as affecting eligibility for retirement benefits. As a consequence, an employee who objects to a mandatory vaccine may be placed in a difficult position.

Responses to a mandatory flu vaccine

Employees who object to their employers’ mandatory vaccine policies have started taking the issue to the courts, either directly or with the help of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). These cases have raised several potentially strong legal arguments in favor of employee choice:
  • Disability. An employee who can show that a vaccine may have negative side effects related to an existing disability may have a good argument that the employer must grant a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Pregnancy. A pregnant employee may be able to refuse a vaccine on grounds that other employees have been granted exceptions for other medical reasons. The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits unequal treatment of pregnant employees on the basis of their pregnancy. Pregnant employees may also qualify for disabilities under the ADA in some circumstances, such as if they are suffering from gestational diabetes.
  • Religious convictions. An employee with sincerely-held religious beliefs that prohibit the use of vaccines may be entitled to reasonable accommodations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, so long as the accommodation does not present an undue hardship to the employer. Note that Title VII does not apply to purely secular objections, such as those based on particular scientific studies or non-religious personal convictions. See Fallon v. Mercy Catholic Med. Ctr., 977 F.3d 487 (3rd Cir. 2017).
  • Privacy. Under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) most types of health care provider are required to keep confidential the health records of their patients. Employers are only entitled to such information in limited circumstances. In many situations, the administration of a flu vaccine in the workplace, such as by a third-party contractor, will fall outside HIPAA, but under the right circumstances a health care provider advising an employer that an employee refused a vaccine could violate the employee’s HIPAA rights.

GGRM serves the Las Vegas community

For over 45 years the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have helped clients in the Las Vegas area protect their legal rights and recover compensation for injuries they have suffered. If you have lost your job for refusing to comply with a mandatory vaccination policy and would like to understand your legal options, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476, or request a call through our website.

What Workers Should Know about Repetitive Motion Injuries

What Workers Should Know about Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive motion injuries are a common problem for workers in a wide range of industries. Factory jobs can often involve doing the same action many times a day, but so can desk jobs. Doing a simple task like using a stapler, typing on a keyboard, or answering a phone too many times in a day can lead to injury. These types of injuries usually require a long process of healing, during which the affected tissues need to be rested. In serious cases, repetitive motion injuries can jeopardize someone’s ability to continue working.

Repetitive motion injury and workers’ compensation

Nevada’s workers’ compensation system provides medical payments and other benefits for employees whose injuries arise in the course and scope of employment. To be eligible for benefits, the injured worker needs to establish that the injury’s cause was work-related. Insurers will often deny claims for injuries that they determine could have been caused by something beyond the scope of the employee’s work. This can often be a problem for people who develop repetitive motion injuries at work. Even when an employee’s work environment lends itself to the development of this kind of injury, other causes that are unrelated to work can still contribute. For example, rheumatoid arthritis and gout are linked to repetitive motion injuries. An insurer may deny a worker’s claim if it can blame the injury on an “external” cause like this.

Repetitive motion injury and disability benefits

People who suffer from repetitive motion injuries sometimes need to take a prolonged break from their ordinary work duties. In some cases, the injury can qualify as a temporary or permanent disability under the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). An employer cannot fire an employee solely on grounds that the employee has developed a disability or filed a workers’ compensation claim. In many cases, an employer will offer an injured worker the option of performing light duty work until the injury has healed. Where the employer has a policy requiring injured workers to accept light duty as a condition of continued employment, the employee generally must accept. Employers adopt these policies in part to give themselves a way to terminate workers who they otherwise couldn’t, by creating conditions that force an employee to choose between an undesirable job or quitting.

Let GGRM answer your repetitive motion injury questions

For over 45 years the attorneys at the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have handled complicated workers’ compensation cases in the Las Vegas area. If you have questions about your legal options after suffering a repetitive motion injury at work, contact us for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Leading Las Vegas Worker’s Comp Attorneys You CAN Afford

Leading Las Vegas Worker’s Comp Attorneys You CAN Afford Being injured while on the job can be both a physically and emotionally draining process. Dealing with the physical pain as a result from an accident can be debilitating and frustrating—especially if it interferes with how you perform at work. However, what do you do when you realize that the worker’s compensation coverage you counted on is either lacking or completely unavailable? Medical bills are expensive and many people don’t budget for the onslaught of expense, making a solid Las Vegas worker’s comp plan imperative. Instead of going deeply into debt to cover expenses for an injury you experienced at work, contact a Las Vegas worker’s compensation attorney. One of the common misconceptions about retaining a worker’s comp attorney is the expense. Injured employees feel that they are already over their head with medical bills and are worried that filing a claim with the assistance of an attorney will only add to their financial stress. While a valid concern, consider if you can afford not to file a claim. When worker’s compensation coverage falls short, employees may not understand that they can pursue a claim for full coverage and CAN afford an attorney. If you have been the victim of a workplace injury in Las Vegas, Nevada, consider the following:
  • Was your injury due to improperly maintained equipment or workplace environment (such as slippery floors)?
  • Did your employer encourage you to continue working even after you experienced an injury?
  • Are you having difficulty paying medical and living expenses after your injury?
  • Have you been terminated as a result of your injury?
Nevada worker’s compensation law is in place to ensure that employees cannot be terminated due to an injury. However, if you voluntarily quit your job while you are on disability leave, you must assume all remaining medical and living expenses. Las Vegas Worker’s Comp Attorneys will help you through your injury, and you will not pay until a recovery is made. It can cost you more in the long run by not pursuing a las vegas worker’s comp case. Under the worker’s compensation system you are automatically entitled to:
  • Continuous medical treatment for the injury that you experienced at work (including surgery, pain management and therapy)
  • 2/3 of your gross wages up to the statutory minimum
  • Evaluation for permanent impairment or disability
  • If unable to return to your former position, you are eligible for retraining or school
If you are missing out on these benefits, you absorb these costs, which can be financially devastating. Immediately following an injury at work, Las Vegas worker’s comp attorneys urge clients to schedule an initial free consultation with an attorney to establish a case and pursue the compensation they deserve. For more information about Las Vegas worker’s comp legal fees, contact Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, Martinez Law Firm today at 702-388-GGRM (4476) and allow us to review your case.  We are also bi-lingual--hablamos Espanol!