Nevada: Physicians May Consider Spinal Injury's Impact on Daily Living Activities in Rating Permanent Disability

Nevada: Physicians May Consider Spinal Injury's Impact on Daily Living Activities in Rating Permanent Disability

The Supreme Court of Nevada (en banc) recently reversed a decision of a district court judge that had granted declaratory and injunctive relief sought by the state's Self-Insurers Association.  The district judge had determined that a Division of Industrial Relations regulation allowing physicians and chiropractors-in assessing a person's physical impairment-to consider a spinal injury's impact on a person's activities of daily living was inconsistent with Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 616C.110(2)(c) and 616C.490(5).  Those statutes generally provide that in calculating an employee's entitlement to compensation for a permanent partial disability, the only factor to be considered is "the degree of physical impairment of the whole man."  The Supreme Court emphasized that permitting compensation for subjective complaints of pain without any objectively identifiable spinal injury, i.e., chronic pain, clearly violated the state statutes' requirement that only "physical impairment[s]" be considered, but the court was persuaded that evaluating a person's ability to perform activities of daily living was not an improper consideration of subjective pain.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2010 Nev. LEXIS 6. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

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Source: Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, the nation's leading authority on workers' compensation law.

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