A work injury can cause major disruptions to your life—not only your health, but also to your career, finances, and overall well-being. The Nevada workers’ compensation system is designed to compensate you for some of these losses and get you back to work as soon as possible. However, worker’s comp also limits the amount of money you can receive from your employer. This article explains the types and amounts of benefits that are available through workers’ comp. (To get these benefits, you will need to file a Nevada workers’ compensation claim.)
In Nevada, temporary disability benefits are paid to workers who need to take more than five days off work due to their injuries. Temporary total disability benefits are two-thirds of your average monthly wage, but cannot exceed a maximum amount set by law each year. As of July 1, 2017 the maximum benefit is $3,697.04 per month. (The cap is updated annually in July; you can find a list of the maximums at the website of the Nevada Workers’ Compensation Section.) Temporary total benefits are paid until you reach maximum medical improvement or until you’re able return to your normal job.
Temporary partial disability benefits are paid when you’re able to work but earning significantly less than usual due to your injury. These benefits are the difference between your post-injury wages and what would be your temporary total disability rate. For example, suppose you normally earn $1,800 per month, but you’re working a light-duty job earning $1,000 per week. If you weren’t able to work at all, your temporary total disability rate would be $1,200 (two-thirds of $1,800). You would receive the difference between $1,200 and $1,000, which is $200 per month. Nevada places a 24-month cap on these benefits.
Once your medical treatment is complete, your doctor will evaluate you for a permanent disability. If you are found to be permanently and totally disabled, you will continue to receive monthly payments at your temporary total rate for as long as the disability continues. Permanent total disabilities are very serious injuries—such as paralysis, brain damage, or the loss of both eyes, arms, or legs.
If your doctor finds that you have a permanent partial disability, you will be assigned a permanent impairment rating, stated as a percentage. For each percent of impairment, you will receive 0.6% of your average monthly wage. For example, suppose your doctor assigned you a 10% impairment, and your average monthly wage is $2,400. Your permanent partial disability award would be calculated as follows: (.006) x $2,400 x 10 = $144 per month. (The calculation is different for impairments over 30%; the Nevada Workers’ Compensation Section has permanent partial disability award worksheets to assist with the calculations.)
Permanent partial benefits start once temporary total disability benefits end. They continue for five years or until the worker reaches the age of 70, whichever happens later.
Nevada workers’ compensation also provides additional benefits, including:
As you can see, workers’ compensation only pays of a portion of your lost wages. Workers’ comp also does not pay anything for the pain and suffering caused by your injury. While this may seem unfair, it is part of the trade-off that is the workers’ comp system. The advantage of workers’ comp is that you can get benefits relatively quickly without needing to file a lawsuit or prove that your employer was at fault for causing your injury. The downside is that you can’t get the full value of your losses. (However, in some cases, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover pain and suffering and other losses. To learn more, see our article on suing outside of the workers’ comp system.)