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Workers’ Comp for Employees of Temporary Staffing Firms

The number of temporary staffing firms is constantly growing as businesses look for ways to manage employee costs by outsourcing work to temporary staff. Temporary workers are found in virtually every industry, including dangerous professions like construction, transportation, and health care. Like other employers in Nevada, a temporary staffing firm is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that protects its staff members in the event that they are injured while working at a client site.

Understanding when workers’ compensation applies

Nevada’s workers’ compensation system provides that employees are insured against injuries that arise out of or in the course of employment. Generally speaking “the course of employment” captures any time for which an employee is compensated. A worker often is also covered during times when they are doing something that the employer has asked them to do. Personal time is not within the scope of workers’ compensation. Critically, a normal commute usually is not covered. However, because a temporary worker is often asked to commute to a location other than their firm’s office, those trips may be covered for some workers.

Workers’ compensation is a kind of no-fault insurance. This means that the insurer is not allowed to base its coverage decisions on who was responsible for causing the worker’s injury. It’s important to remember that a temporary worker is employed by the staffing firm, not the client at whose site the work is done. The temp worker therefore falls under the staffing firm’s workers’ compensation coverage.

Staffing firms often face workers’ compensation challenges

The inherent complexity of a staffing firm’s risk profile means they can have a hard time finding insurance. Many firms get insured through a professional employer organization, or PEO. A PEO is essentially a service company that takes on components of an employer’s human resources functions, such as payroll and insurance administration. A PEO may offer temporary staffing firms with a way to secure workers’ compensation coverage under a plan that groups together all of the PEO’s clients.

The presence of a PEO in the chain of authority can add a layer of administrative challenges to a worker who is injured on the job. Ideally a claim process goes smoothly and with adequate support from the insurer to resolve technical hiccups without interrupting the injured worker’s treatment. But if administration of the claim is handled by a PEO, the worker may have no relationship with the individuals handling the claim and may need additional help to resolve problems.

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in workers compensation cases for over 45 years. We can help temporary workers get the workers’ compensation coverage to which they are entitled. For a free attorney consultation about your claim, call us today at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

Understanding the Legal Risks of Private Pool Parties

Homeowners who have pools in their backyards are right to view their pools as great places for entertaining guests. A pool party is fun for everyone. At the same time, a pool always poses certain risks. In a party context, the danger of the pool can be made more significant. Homeowners who plan to hold pool parties should think about a few issues before the party starts.

  • Premises liability. By themselves, pools and their surrounding infrastructure (walkways, platforms, ladders, and so forth) implicate the legal principle of premises liability. A homeowner owes a visitor a general duty to keep the home and its surrounding property reasonably safe for the visitor. If the homeowner is aware of a dangerous condition, such as a damaged step that could cause cuts or trips, the homeowner needs to warn guests about the condition. Homeowners who plan to host parties should take a moment to make sure there are no hazards that could make the pool area unsafe.
  • Know your insurance coverage. Pool owners know that a pool makes a homeowner’s insurance policy more expensive. It’s important for the homeowner to know about the scope of coverage in the applicable insurance policy. If the policy contains specific limits, the party may need to be designed around those limits. Perhaps the policy will not cover injuries to children who are left unsupervised, or it won’t cover injuries suffered by people who have been drinking alcohol. Coverage limits may also be important to consider: a drowning could cost the homeowner a significantly greater sum than the default limits of the policy. For a party that’s usually large, such as a wedding, taking out special event insurance might be a good idea.
  • Alcohol and pools can be a bad mix. If a party will include drinking, there are a number of special risks that a pool can create. Pool decks can be slippery, and people who have been drinking may be more likely to slip and fall. A person who is especially drunk may have trouble swimming, or in rare cases may suffer a health crisis such as a heart attack. In some cases it may be appropriate to ask people who have been drinking heavily to not use the pool.
  • Supervise children. In a party setting it can be easy to lose track of what’s going on in a pool. A child may get into trouble and not be seen until it’s too late. In circumstances where there are a lot of distractions it may be appropriate to designate someone to be an impromptu “life guard” or to ask the kids to get out of the pool.

Someone who is injured at a pool party probably has recourse to the homeowner’s insurance policy, and may need to sue the homeowner as well to recover full compensation for the injury. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has served clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury cases. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

What Out-of-Pocket Costs Can a Workers’ Comp Claimant Face?

Getting injured while on the job in Nevada entitles workers to insurance coverage under their insurers’ workers’ compensation program. Once a valid claim is started, the insurer will pay for a range of important expenses associated with the worker’s medical care. In some cases, though, an injured worker may need to pay some costs.

Nevada’s workers’ compensation system provides a broad basket of benefits to covered workers:

  • Medical bills for treatment that is reasonable, necessary, and authorized.
  • Wage replacement (up to defined maximums).
  • Mileage reimbursement for travel to and from doctors’ appointments.
  • Vocational rehabilitation for workers who can no longer continue their prior profession.
  • Benefits such as funeral expenses and special payments to heirs in the event that the worker dies as a result of work-related injuries.

All of these benefits are subject to important limitations. Each have caps limiting how much an insurer will pay. Each may also come with strings attached. For example, by accepting certain fringe benefits the worker may sign away his or her right to reopen a claim. On top of these limits, insurers work hard to find ways to limit their financial exposure for each claim.

The potential for disputes with the insurer is perhaps the most important source of potential out-of-pocket costs for an employee. The “bargain” of the workers’ compensation system is that in exchange for obligatory, no-fault insurance coverage an employee cannot sue the employer except in rare cases of gross negligence or intentional injury. This limitation can put the employee in a difficult position if the insurer or employer doesn’t provide the kind of coverage that the worker is entitled to.

As a consequence, injured workers may need to hire an independent attorney to assist them with their case. An ethical attorney will examine a potential client’s case and provide an analysis of the kind of value the attorney can add to the client’s claim. By hiring an attorney the client may be able to greatly improve the outcome of the workers’ compensation process.

Of course, once coverage limits are reached any further costs must be borne by the injured worker. One goal of a workers’ compensation attorney is to ensure that only relevant costs are allocated to a particular category under a policy, so coverage limits aren’t reached in an artificial manner. There are other, rarer kinds of out-of-pocket expenses that may be necessary to resolve disputes with insurers. A dispute may require payment of administrative fees to obtain hearings. There may be costs associated with elective medical exams that are necessary to refute a questionable diagnosis by an insurer-designated physician.

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in workers’ compensation cases for over 45 years. For a free attorney consultation about your case call us at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

Should You Sign an Insurer’s Damage Release Forms?

One of the ways an insurance company manages its risk of losses is to require insured people to sign damage release forms. A damage release provides that the insurer has satisfied its obligations with respect to a particular claim. The typical case where a release form is requested comes when an insurance company makes a payment which, in its view, satisfies its obligations toward the insured with respect to a claim.

In a simple case, such as when the insured has made a claim for well-understood and easily quantified property damage, providing a release may have little downside. But in more complex cases, damages may only come to light over time. Cases involving personal injury are often like this, simply because recovery doesn’t always follow a predictable course. People who are dealing with complicated situations should be mindful of a couple important features of damage releases.

The first is that a release may not be completely obvious. Although an insurer may risk being accused of bad faith or unfair tactics, it may nevertheless try to “hide” a damage release. It might do this by incorporating the release into a bigger document that it asks the insured to sign. Or it may make the release automatic upon the insured cashing a check. Reading everything the insurance company sends to you is critically important. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

A second important feature is that a valid damage release may prevent reopening a claim. The reason insurance companies ask for releases is to give them certainty that their obligation with respect to a claim is finished. There are perfectly valid reasons why insurers want to do this. It helps them close their financial books and keep tabs on their risk. But for the insured it can also create a significant problem if the initial claim didn’t capture the full scope of losses from an incident. By signing a damage release the insured may close—and lock—the door to getting additional coverage for a loss. A sympathetic agent at the insurer may have no option to reopen the claim once the release has been signed.

In a case where the injured person is being helped by an attorney the best course of action is to let the attorney handle the insurance process. An experienced personal injury attorney has the training to understand the technicalities of insurance claims and can recognize when something isn’t right. Protecting clients from inadvertently signing away their rights to better coverage is just one small part of the bigger picture.

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases. Our attorneys are available for free consultations to discuss your injury, your insurance options, and the legal particulars of your case. We can be reached at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contact 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.