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Workers’ Compensation and Depression

Depression is a common side effect of injuries. It can arise as a consequence of the injured person’s changed circumstances—lost enjoyment, sleep problems, diminished career prospects—or it can be a side effect of medications. Like any mental illness, depression can be a difficult condition to reliably prove and document for legal purposes. This includes incorporating it into a workers’ compensation claim.

A baseline requirement for an injury to be covered by workers’ compensation is that it must have arisen out of or in the course of the worker’s employment. When a person suffers mental health problems as a consequence of work-related events, establishing a causal link between work and the illness can take special care. In the case of depression, showing that it arose specifically because of work, or a work-related injury, may be challenging if the person also suffered depression for reasons having nothing to do with work. Someone with a history of depression may have a more difficult time getting coverage.

The problem of proof is an advantage for insurers, who will require injured workers to undergo “independent” evaluations that are often conducted by professionals who have a financial interest in making diagnoses that are favorable to the insurer. Unlike a broken bone, depression can’t be found in a scan or observed in a person’s physical movements. Instead, it has to be evaluated by questioning the patient and potentially the patient’s family members, and may be interpreted according to an evaluator’s subjective opinions.

The link between work and depression may be easier to establish if the worker suffering depression can point to a specific event that triggered it. If a physical injury at work leads to depression, that causal link may help. Depression that can be linked to a particular pain medication prescribed as part of a treatment plan may also be easier to link to work. Nevada law also has specific allowance for mental illness resulting from “extreme stress in times of danger” at work, which may apply if a worker suffers depression due to witnessing or suffering a particularly shocking circumstance on the job, such as a violent accident.

Someone suffering from depression in connection with a work-related incident should not be discouraged from exploring a workers’ compensation claim to cover treatment costs. At Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez we have represented clients in workers’ compensation matters for more than 45 years. For a free attorney consultation about your circumstances call us today at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

Seeking Workers’ Compensation Coverage from Former Employers

Someone who has suffered a work-related injury or disease ideally gets covered by an existing employer’s insurance. But injuries and diseases are not always immediately obvious, even if their cause is clearly work-related. Sometimes the need for insurance coverage only comes up after leaving the job where the problem arose. In such cases, the individual’s current employer (assuming the individual is still working) may not be responsible for providing workers’ compensation coverage for the problem.

Instead, the injured person may need to seek compensation under a former employer’s insurance. Such cases involve a number of challenges that are best addressed with the help of a workers’ compensation attorney. Here are a few examples of the kinds of challenges the injured worker can expect to face:

  • The problem of proof. Someone who discovers an injury or disease after leaving a job will need to prove that it was related to a specific job and not some other cause. Insurers are likely to deny claims for injuries that are not clearly tied to a work-related incident. Proof can be especially challenging in cases of slowly developing disease, like cancer. Even if the sick person was exposed to a carcinogen at work, the insurer likely will argue that the cancer could have been caused by something else and therefore isn’t covered.
  • Lack of cooperation from the former employer. Related to the issue of proof is the former employer’s potential lack of interest in the case, or worse the employer’s unavailability due to no longer being in business. Quite often the details of a work-related injury need to come from the employer itself. If the employer no longer is in business, or key witnesses are no longer working there, gathering all the necessary background information may be more difficult.
  • Technical errors. The workers’ compensation system is highly regimented with tight deadlines and specific procedures that must be followed to receive benefits. Insurers seize on technical violations to deny claims. Seeking coverage for an illness or injury after deadlines have passed may give an insurer the excuse they need to deny the claim. Although a technical fault may not mean the end of the claims process, it may mean starting a dispute with the insurer.

Given the added complexity of submitting workers’ compensation claims against former employees, people who find themselves in this situation should seek professional assistance with the process. For more than 40 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped people in the Las Vegas area resolve their workers’ compensation claims disputes. For a free attorney consultation about your case, please give us a call today at 702-388-4476. We can also be reached through our contacts page.

Seeking Workers’ Compensation Coverage from Former Employers

Someone who has suffered a work-related injury or disease ideally gets covered by an existing employer’s insurance. But injuries and diseases are not always immediately obvious, even if their cause is clearly work-related. Sometimes the need for insurance coverage only comes up after leaving the job where the problem arose. In such cases, the individual’s current employer (assuming the individual is still working) may not be responsible for providing workers’ compensation coverage for the problem.

Instead, the injured person may need to seek compensation under a former employer’s insurance. Such cases involve a number of challenges that are best addressed with the help of a workers’ compensation attorney. Here are a few examples of the kinds of challenges the injured worker can expect to face:

  • The problem of proof. Someone who discovers an injury or disease after leaving a job will need to prove that it was related to a specific job and not some other cause. Insurers are likely to deny claims for injuries that are not clearly tied to a work-related incident. Proof can be especially challenging in cases of slowly developing disease, like cancer. Even if the sick person was exposed to a carcinogen at work, the insurer likely will argue that the cancer could have been caused by something else and therefore isn’t covered.
  • Lack of cooperation from the former employer. Related to the issue of proof is the former employer’s potential lack of interest in the case, or worse the employer’s unavailability due to no longer being in business. Quite often the details of a work-related injury need to come from the employer itself. If the employer no longer is in business, or key witnesses are no longer working there, gathering all the necessary background information may be more difficult.
  • Technical errors. The workers’ compensation system is highly regimented with tight deadlines and specific procedures that must be followed to receive benefits. Insurers seize on technical violations to deny claims. Seeking coverage for an illness or injury after deadlines have passed may give an insurer the excuse they need to deny the claim. Although a technical fault may not mean the end of the claims process, it may mean starting a dispute with the insurer.

Given the added complexity of submitting workers’ compensation claims against former employees, people who find themselves in this situation should seek professional assistance with the process. For more than 40 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped people in the Las Vegas area resolve their workers’ compensation claims disputes. For a free attorney consultation about your case, please give us a call today at 702-388-4476. We can also be reached through our contacts page.

When Must a Work-Related Injury Be Reported?

When Must a Work-Related Injury Be Reported?

People who get injured at work sometimes feel that they shouldn’t say anything about it. Perhaps the culture of the workplace encourages a “grin and bear it” attitude. Perhaps a worker is concerned about losing the job or being judged harshly by a manager. Whatever the reason, workers do themselves a disservice by not reporting workplace injuries. Failing to do so can jeopardize workers’ compensation benefits to which workers are entitled by law.

The basic rule workers should follow is to always report every incident where an injury has occurred on the job. In cases where the injury is serious, the first step is always to seek medical care. But once the initial treatment is provided, it’s important to report the incident. Nevada provides a prescribed form for this purpose: Form C-1 Notice of Injury or Occupational Disease. The employee must submit the form to his or her employer no later than seven days after the incident, or after discovering an occupational disease.

If the injury doesn’t require medical intervention, Form C-1 may be the only reporting step required. But when an injury does call for further health care, the fact that the employee submitted the initial report ensures that treatment will be covered by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Other reports become necessary when the employee goes to the doctor for treatment. The physician’s office will assist the employee to complete the next forms in the process, which are used to begin the insurance claims process through which the health care provider gets paid.

Nevada employers must comply with state and federal laws that require employers to report serious injury incidents. In Nevada an employer has 24 hours from the time it receives notice of a qualifying injury to notify the Division of Industrial Relations of any employee injury requiring hospitalization, amputation, or the loss of an eye. Among other things, these reports trigger an inspection by the state.

What if the employee didn’t complete Form C-1 at the time of the injury, but it later becomes evident that the injury isn’t superficial but requires medical intervention? In this case employees should still submit the paperwork and tell their health care provider that the injury is work-related. There can be legitimate reasons why an injury doesn’t appear serious at first. For example, an injury that gets infected, or a muscle strain that later turns out to be a tear, could still qualify for benefits even though it wasn’t reported immediately after the event. However, employees in this circumstance can expect to face questions from insurance adjusters who are paid to find excuses to deny coverage.

Working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney from the beginning of the claims process can address many problems before they arise. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has served injured workers for over 45 years. If you have questions about a work-related injury and how to get workers’ compensation benefits, call us today for a free attorney consultation. Reach us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Important Features of the FMLA Explained

Important Features of the FMLA Explained

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, or FMLA, 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., is one of the important federal laws designed to protect the job security of workers faced with difficult personal circumstances. Employers and employees in Las Vegas should take the time to understand what the FMLA covers, and its limitations.

The FMLA applies only to certain employers and employees

The FMLA’s rules apply to all public agencies and private employers who had at least 50 employees for at least 20 workweeks in the current or previous year. To be eligible for FMLA benefits, an employee of one of the covered employers must have been employed for at least 12 months, consecutively or otherwise, and worked at least 1,250 hours during that time before taking leave. The employee’s job also needs to be at or within 75 miles of a location with at least 50 employees.

When can an employee take leave under the FMLA?

The FMLA requires covered employers to grant up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave each year to qualified employees when their circumstances fall within one of five situations:

  1. A serious medical condition prevents the employee from working.
  2. An immediate family member of the employee has a serious medical condition that requires the employee’s care. Note that “immediate family” includes only blood relatives; relatives by marriage are not covered. Also bear in mind that time off to care for an adult child is only covered if has a serious disability that renders the child unable to care for him or herself.
  3. The employee’s child is born, or the employee needs to take time to care for his or her newborn child.
  4. The employee needs time for the placement or care of an adopted or foster care child.
  5. The employee’s spouse, child, or parent who requires the employee’s care for a serious injury or illness is a member of the military, including in an active role for the National Guard or as a reservist. In this circumstance, the FMLA requires employers to allow up to 26 weeks of leave.

The FMLA doesn’t require paid leave, but protects the employee’s job

A central feature of the FMLA is that it prohibits employers from making any employment decisions based only on an employee’s decision to take FMLA leave. This includes firing or demoting the employee, or changing the employee’s job responsibilities. The FMLA also protects employees from retaliation if they file a complaint abut an employer’s violation of the law.

Another important feature of the FMLA is that it does not require employees to pay their employees who are on leave. Some employers offer paid FMLA leave as an incentive, but a more common practice allows employees to draw down their accumulated paid time off (PTO) while on leave. An employer can require its employees to use their PTO for FMLA leave, but to do so it must first provide ample notice of the requirement.

Injury and FMLA leave

The relationship between FMLA leave and other types of leave often leads to confusion. One example of this is when a worker is forced to take time off work due to a work-related injury and the employee has rights under workers’ compensation laws as well as the FMLA. In such circumstances. employers are required to provide whichever law’s benefits are greater. Workers’ compensation laws require a wide range of benefits, including some paid leave and medical reimbursement, but employers typically can also draw down the employee’s annual FMLA leave allotment while the employee is off work on a workers’ comp claim.

GGRM can help you understand the FMLA

Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped Las Vegas employees protect their rights for more than 45 years. If you are faced with difficult circumstances and have questions about how the FMLA affects your rights, our experienced team of attorneys is here to help. For a free consultation reach out to us today at 702-388-4476, or contact us through our website.

When Can an Employee Sue for a Workplace Injury?

While many people believe that the only compensation available for a workplace injury will come from the employer’s insurance, this is not necessarily the case. There are exceptions where an employee can potentially sue for damages caused by a workplace injury. The following are three examples: • If the injury was due to a defective product, the employee could bring a products liability action against the manufacturer of the product. • If the injury resulted from a toxic substance, the employee could bring a toxic tort lawsuit against the manufacturer of the substance. • In the event that the employer does not carry workers compensation insurance, the employee may be able to sue the employer or collect compensation from a state fund. In most cases, employees are barred from suing their employer for workplace injuries. This is because employers who have purchased workers compensation insurance for the benefit of their employees are typically protected from personal injury claims brought by the employees. There are circumstances, however, where an employee can bring an intentional tort suit against an employer in civil court. These are cases where the employee has reason to believe that the employer intentionally caused them harm. An intentional tort suit can also include non-physical injuries such as emotional distress. Below are the most common intentional torts: • Battery- injury to your person • Assault- an attempted battery, or a threat to commit a battery • False imprisonment- confinement against your will • Fraud- an individual lied to you and the lie caused you to suffer an injury • Defamation- when someone says something false about you that causes injury; this includes libel and slander • Invasion of Privacy- when either your private information or photos of you are exposed to an audience • Conversion- when someone takes your property and makes it their own • Trespass- when someone enters or uses your property without your permission Third-party liability occurs when someone not working for the employer causes an injury. A perfect example of this is when a car accident is caused by a third party while the employee is being paid to be on the road performing a work-related task. In this case, the employee can file a workers compensation claim and sue the third-party driver for negligence. In theory, the injured employee can both collect damages from the third party, and receive medical and wage replacement benefits from the workers compensation claim.

While many people believe that the only compensation available for a workplace injury will come from the employer’s insurance, this is not necessarily the case. There are exceptions where an employee can potentially sue for damages caused by a workplace injury. The following are three examples:

  • If the injury was due to a defective product, the employee could bring a products liability action against the manufacturer of the product.
  • If the injury resulted from a toxic substance, the employee could bring a toxic tort lawsuit against the manufacturer of the substance.
  • In the event that the employer does not carry workers compensation insurance, the employee may be able to sue the employer or collect compensation from a state fund.

In most cases, employees are barred from suing their employer for workplace injuries. This is because employers who have purchased workers compensation insurance for the benefit of their employees are typically protected from personal injury claims brought by the employees.  There are circumstances, however, where an employee can bring an intentional tort suit against an employer in civil court. These are cases where the employee has reason to believe that the employer intentionally caused them harm. An intentional tort suit can also include non-physical injuries such as emotional distress. Below are the most common intentional torts:

  • Battery- injury to your person
  • Assault- an attempted battery, or a threat to commit a battery
  • False imprisonment- confinement against your will
  • Fraud- an individual lied to you and the lie caused you to suffer an injury
  • Defamation- when someone says something false about you that causes injury; this includes libel and slander
  • Invasion of Privacy- when either your private information or photos of you are exposed to an audience
  • Conversion- when someone takes your property and makes it their own
  • Trespass- when someone enters or uses your property without your permission

Third-party liability occurs when someone not working for the employer causes an injury. A perfect example of this is when a car accident is caused by a third party while the employee is being paid to be on the road performing a work-related task. In this case, the employee can file a workers compensation claim and sue the third-party driver for negligence. In theory, the injured employee can both collect damages from the third party, and receive medical and wage replacement benefits from the workers compensation claim.