In Nevada, when an employee is injured in an accident arising from or in the course of his or her employment with an employer, an employee’s legal course of action is limited to a workers’ compensation claim through the Nevada Industrial Insurance Act (NIIA). This is called the exclusive remedy provision. In Nevada, the NIIA protections require employees to forego his or her common law remedies against his or her employer. In other words, an employee may not sue his or her employer for negligence resulting in his or her injury arising from or in the course of his or her employment with an employer. The injury suffered must be related to a risk within the scope of his or her employment, as a personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas, NV, can explain.
An accident is defined as an “unexpected or unforeseen event happening suddenly and violently, with or without human fault, and producing at the time objective symptoms of an injury.” Fanders v. Riverside Resort & Casino, Inc., 126 Nev. 543, 549 (2010).
Intentional Acts Exception to the Exclusive Remedy Provision
An employee can avoid the workers’ compensation exclusive remedy act when an employer “deliberately and specifically intended to injure the employee.” Fanders v. Riverside Resort & Casino, Inc., 126 Nev. 543, 549 (2010). The employee must plead facts in his or her complaint that establishes the deliberate intent to bring about the injury.
An employee cannot simply label an employer’s conduct as intentional to circumvent the exclusive remedy act. Conway v. Circus Circus Casinos, Inc., 116 Nev. 870 (2000). The severity, depravity, or degree of the negligence on behalf of the employer is irrelevant to this exception. The focus must concern whether the specific action resulting in the injury to the employee was an intentional act that caused injury to the employee. An employee must show that the employer causing the intentional injury had a desire to intentionally harm them or that the intentional injury was premeditated by the employer with the specific intent to cause injury to the employee. The employee must show that the employer had more than mere knowledge and appreciation of the risk causing injury to the employee. The employee must show that the cause of the injury rose to the level of specific intent to cause injury. “Even if the alleged conduct goes beyond aggravated negligence, and includes such elements as knowingly permitting a hazardous work condition to exist or willfully failing to furnish a safe place to work, this still falls short of the kind of actual intention to injure that robs the injury of accidental character.” Conway v. Circus Circus Casinos, Inc., 116 Nev. 870 (2000).
If an employee can properly allege that an employer intentionally injured him or her, the employee can circumvent the exclusive remedy provision and sue the employer under common law remedies.
How an Attorney Can Help
If you have a question regarding the Nevada Industrial Insurance Act and the intentional acts exception, an experienced attorney can ensure that you are properly apprised of the actions that may be brought against your employer.
Thanks to Eglet Adams for their insight.