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Severe Allergic Reactions to Employer-Provided Meals

Although free food is a nice benefit for employees, providing food invites the relatively rare but potentially significant risk that an employee could suffer an allergic reaction. This is especially so if the allergen is not disclosed on the food’s packaging. Food provided in the workplace raises potential challenges for the employee who is injured and requires medical care. There are several dimensions that must be taken into account, such as whether the food was provided during working hours or was given to the employee to eat on personal time. These questions are important because they can determine if the employee’s illness or injury is covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation law requires employers to insure their employees against injuries or illnesses that arise out of or in the course of employment. If food is provided to an employee during working hours or in connection with a work-related event, such as a meeting, the question of the injury’s work-relatedness likely will be answered in favor of coverage by workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation coverage has good and bad elements for an employee. On the one hand, it is a form of no-fault insurance that will cover medical costs, replace wages, and provide other benefits that vary according to the nature of the employee’s illness and other factors. On the other hand, an employee is barred from filing a personal injury lawsuit against an employer for most injuries that are covered by workers’ compensation. This is true even if the employer was negligent—for example, if another employee switched the warning labels on food so the injured employee did not know about the presence of an allergen. Workers’ compensation law may not restrict an employee’s ability to sue the service or restaurant that provided the food. If in the above example the negligent act that led to a mislabeling of food was committed by the outside service, the employee may have a good case that they have failed to take reasonable precautions to notify customers about the presence of potential allergens in their food. Restaurants take pains to track common allergens, like nuts, so when they fail to do so it is often a sign of negligence and actionable by someone who gets injured as a consequence. Cases involving businesses and employment are always more complicated than they might seem. Someone who is faced with complications from an allergic reaction to workplace food should consult with an attorney to better understand how the law can help them. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. For a free attorney consultation about your case, contact us at 702-388-4476 or through our contact page.

What Obligations Does an Employer Have to Help an Injured Employee?

Employers in Nevada have a number of obligations related to injured employees. One way to break down the obligations is to look at each of them according to when they arise. Some obligations arise as soon as the employee starts work. Others arise in the immediate response to an injury. And still others apply in the aftermath of the injury, when the employer’s assistance with the employee’s workers’ compensation claim can be the difference between an accepted or denied claim.
  1. Pre-injury obligations.
Most Nevada employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance that protects their employees in the event they are injured on the job. Not carrying insurance is a significant violation of law, subjecting the company to potential criminal prosecution, regulatory actions, and fines. Few employers want to risk losing their business over a failure to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. But from time to time an employer operates without it in hopes of saving some money, putting employees at risk. Under state and federal workplace safety laws (commonly known as OSHA) employers over a certain size have a general duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees, as well as specific obligations relating to particular hazards such as electrical or chemical work. Although OSHA rules do not provide for a private cause of action, they do provide an important baseline of safety that protects employees from working in substandard conditions.
  1. Obligations in the immediate aftermath of an injury.
When an employee suffers an injury in Nevada the employer has an obligation to assist the injured employee with obtaining emergency medical treatment. That might include calling 911, and might also include administering emergency care such as CPR, performing triage on a wound, and so forth. Many employers are taking steps to train their staff in emergency first aid, in part because such programs can help them lower workers’ compensation costs.
  1. Obligations as the employee recovers.
The recovery phase of a serious injury is where things can get quite complex. There are a range of obligations that employers have with respect to employees who have been injured on the job:
  • They may not take adverse employment actions against them based solely on their having suffered or reported an injury.
  • They must keep good records of the incident and report it to the state.
  • They are required to cooperate with any investigation that arises due to the employee’s workers’ compensation claim, such as if the insurance adjuster has questions about whether the injury was work-related.
  • They must comply with laws governing an injured employee’s options for returning to work, including offering light duty where appropriate.
  • They must make reasonable accommodations for an employee who has suffered a disability.
As one might expect, the above list only glosses over the surface of what might be involved in a given case. Quite often the injured employee can benefit from the assistance of an attorney with experience handling workers’ compensation cases. For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area pursue workers’ compensation claims. If you have been injured at work and you have questions about how to get the coverage you deserve, call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

An Employer’s Liability for Allowing Dogs at Work

As employers have moved toward a more casual work environment, some have begun to allow employees to bring their dogs to work. When such a policy works, everyone in the office enjoys having a dog or two around, the dogs are friendly and unobtrusive, and the dog owners get to avoid paying for dog care or worrying about a dog left at home all day. But if a dog causes significant injuries to an employee, whether from biting or knocking the employee down, what options does the injured employee have to recover compensation? There are two potential avenues to consider: workers’ compensation and personal injury litigation.

Dogs and workers’ compensation

With respect to an employer’s liability, workers’ compensation rules apply to most injuries that arise out of or in the course of employment. Workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy, which means that if an injury falls within the scope of workers’ compensation, the injured employee usually can’t sue the employer for personal injury. Instead, the employee files a workers’ comp claim to cover the costs associated with the injury. Because workers’ compensation is also a form of no-fault insurance, the insurer will not investigate whether the employee’s own negligence contributed to the injury. A workers’ compensation claim typically will cover medical bills, lost wages for someone who must take time off work, and potentially the cost of healing scars and other issues. An employer that allows dogs at work should have incorporated the presence of dogs into its workers’ compensation policy. If the employer did not, and the insurer refuses to cover the employee’s injuries, the employee will need to consult with an attorney to determine the best next steps with respect to the employer’s liability.

What about the dog’s owner?

The workers’ comp exclusive remedy rule only protects the employer. It does not apply to the coworker who owns the dog. Whether a lawsuit against the dog’s owner is appropriate depends on a number of factors, including: Is workers’ compensation insufficient to cover the expenses related to the injury? Did the dog’s owner behave in an especially negligent or intentional manner to cause or contribute to the injury? Did the owner knowingly bring a dangerous dog to work? In some cases, the answer to the question of whether to pursue workers’ compensation or a lawsuit may be “both.” Someone who receives workers’ comp benefits cannot pursue the same types of compensation from a defendant but may be able to pursue other forms of compensation. Workers’ comp doesn’t provide compensation for cases of gross negligence, or for pain, suffering, or other forms of noneconomic damages.

GGRM handles dog bite litigation in Las Vegas

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. We can help you sort through your legal options if you have been injured by a dog at work. Reach out to us today for a free attorney consultation. Call us at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contact page.

When Should Injured Workers Hire an Attorney?

Someone who gets injured at work and needs to file a workers’ compensation claim hopefully can rely on the system working smoothly to provide complete care and other benefits. One hopes that injured workers have access to good advice through their employers or a third-party claims administrator, and that everyone involved will try hard to ensure that the worker receives all the benefits that are owed under state law. Unfortunately, this isn’t always how things go. Like every kind of insurance, workers’ compensation often raises conflicts of interest, disputes about medical diagnoses or treatment plans, and other problems that a worker who isn’t represented by an attorney may struggle to overcome.

How an attorney facilitates workers’ comp claims

The role of a workers’ compensation attorney is to protect the client’s interests and ensure that all the benefits to which the worker is entitled are properly paid. Within the scope of that work there are a number of important things an attorney can do for the client:
  • Ensure that claims paperwork is completed correctly and on time.
  • Monitor the medical evaluation process to verify that the client isn’t railroaded into accepting an incorrect or incomplete diagnosis.
  • Raise and resolve concerns with how coverage is being provided.
  • Keep track of important records that may be vital if the claims process needs to be taken into a dispute resolution proceeding or litigation.
  • Advise the client on when and how to dispute insurer decisions.

When should you hire an attorney?

Whether an individual needs the help of an attorney is really a question that needs to be answered after taking stock of all the facts of the individual’s case. It never hurts to reach out to an attorney who offers free consultations to determine if representation is necessary. Broadly speaking, the help of an attorney is more important if complicating factors are present. Some examples of these include:
  • Severe injuries. An attorney’s help can make a huge difference for someone who has suffered a serious injury that will involve significant health care expenses, long periods off work, or some form of disability. Such injuries cost workers a lot of time, money, and stress. Ensuring that workers’ compensation benefits cover everything the worker needs takes planning and close oversight. In part this is because high-cost claims often end up in disputes as insurers look for ways to limit their financial exposure.
  • Wrongfully denied claims. Someone who feels they’ve had their claim wrongfully turned down may need to file an appeal. Although an attorney isn’t necessarily required to make an appeal, the chances of an appeal succeeding gets significantly better if an attorney is involved, especially if the attorney has been involved from early in the process.
  • Medical disputes. Many types of injury are subject to a wide variety of medical diagnoses. A strained back could be diagnosed as a muscular problem or as a slipped disc. A headache might be diagnosed as a concussion or as a more severe type of head trauma. Insurers know this and will use the medical examination process to find ways to restrict their exposure. An attorney can make sure the client knows how to exercise important rights like the option for seeking a second opinion.
The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in workers’ compensation cases for over 45 years. We provide personal, caring service to each and every client. For a free attorney consultation about your case call us at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

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.