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Can Employers Disclaim Responsibility for Work-Related Injuries?

Can Employers Disclaim Responsibility for Work-Related Injuries?
People who work in Nevada may sometimes encounter an employer who asks them to agree that the employer is not responsible for providing them with workers’ compensation coverage, often in the form of a waiver. Before signing a document that purports to relieve an employer of obligations to provide coverage, workers should take a moment to understand when waivers are appropriate.

Nevada employers must provide employees with workers’ compensation coverage

Nevada law requires any person or firm that has an employee to provide that employee with workers’ compensation insurance. NRS 616A.230. An employer can’t simply disclaim its responsibilities to provide coverage. Allowing an across-the-board disclaimer would undermine the entire system. A disclaimer or waiver of coverage can be lawful where an exception places a worker outside the workers’ compensation system. In the right circumstances, a waiver is simply an acknowledgement that the worker fits within an exception and therefore is not entitled to coverage. NRS 616A.110 provides a list of specific people who are not considered “employees” for workers’ comp purposes. The list exempts specific categories of workers, some of which include a lot of working people. Here are a few examples of workers who are not “employees”:
  • People doing jobs that are both casual and not in the course of business of the employer.
  • Performers in stage shows.
  • Musicians hired for casual gigs not lasting more than two days.
  • Domestic workers.
  • Farm laborers.

Independent contractors are likely to be asked to sign waivers

Independent contractors are another important class of non-employees who will often be asked to sign a waiver of coverage as part of their contracting process. Nevada’s workers’ compensation statute defines an independent contractor as “any person who renders service for a specified recompense for a specified result, under the control of the person’s principal as to the result of the person’s work only and not as to the means by which such result is accomplished.” NRS 616A.255. The idea behind this definition is that the “person’s principal” is responsible for providing coverage. Although independent contractors can be covered under an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance in some situations, in others a self-employed individual can end up having to provide his or her own insurance.  Some employers try to inappropriately mischaracterize employees as independent contractors to avoid providing workers’ comp coverage and other benefits.

If a waiver is not lawful, fight it

An employer cannot get out of providing legally required workers’ compensation insurance by asking employees to sign inappropriate waiver forms. If this has happened to you and you are looking for answers, the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez may be able to help. For over 45 years we have worked with clients in the Las Vegas area get the benefits they deserve. For a no-cost attorney consultation, call us today at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contact page.