Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act, nearly all employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance covers expenses related to on-the-job injuries without regard to fault. Policies must cover full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary, and minor employees.
A few exceptions exist to the workers’ compensation insurance requirements. The requirement does not apply to federal and railway employees, volunteers, independent contractors, domestic workers, or agricultural workers. Executive officers who work at non-profit organizations and earn less than $1,000 per year are not entitled to workers’ compensation insurance. Additionally, those who are self-employed, sole proprietors, partners, or limited liability company members are similarly exempt.
If you are injured at work and not sure if or how workers’ comp applies to you, call the personal injury lawyers at The Robert Pahlke Law Group. We can answer your questions and empower you to work through the process.
When Can You File a Claim?
Workers’ compensation insurance is intended to provide benefits to employees who are injured while performing their work duties. To be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, the circumstances must meet the following requirements:
- The injury occurred at work and was a direct result of your job duties;
- The injury was not a result of your willful negligence, employment was typical of the employer’s regularly conducted business; and
- The injury occurred in Nebraska; or if:
- Your employment was principally in Nebraska regardless of where the injury occurred; OR
- Your contract for employment was executed in Nebraska and the employer was engaged in business there, regardless of where the injury occurred.
If you were injured on the job, your primary focus should be on your recovery. You will likely want to restore the quality of life you enjoyed before you were injured. However, to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you must report your injury to your employer “as soon as practicable.”
Do not wait to report your injury. Most employers will require that you fill out an accident report form. You must provide complete and accurate information and supplement with additional facts as necessary. You will want to document your claim, so you can prove that you fulfilled your responsibilities required by law.
Once you have notified your employer, you then have two years to resolve your case. If your case cannot be resolved, you may file a claim with the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court. Your claim must be filed within two years of your injury.
Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Under the Act, employees are eligible to receive different types of benefits, depending on the extent of their injuries. Benefits you may be entitled to receive include:
Some injuries do not cause the employee to miss any work at all. Other times, an employee may be out of work for weeks or longer. If an employee’s injury affects his or her ability to work, he or she is eligible for wage loss benefits. The amount of lost wages depends on the severity of the disability caused by the injury. A disability may be classified as total or partial and temporary or permanent.
An employer is responsible for all reasonable medical costs associated with an injury that an employee suffers on the job, such as hospital bills, doctors’ fees, surgeries, medical devices (crutches, canes, wheelchairs), prescriptions, and prosthetics. Depending on the facts of your case, you may also be entitled to travel expenses. Travel expenses may include any costs you incurred when traveling to appointments or picking up prescriptions.
Temporary Partial Disability
In some situations, an employee can work but is unable to perform the same job functions. In this case, a claimant will receive temporary partial disability payments. The amount of benefits is two-thirds of the difference between the employee’s former and current wage. An employee can receive this type of benefit for up to 300 weeks.
Permanent Partial Loss Disability
When an employee experiences the total loss of a body part or its use, permanent partial loss benefits are paid. Benefits are paid at a rate of two-thirds of the employee’s salary, times a statutory number, which is determined by the body part affected by the injury.
Permanent Loss to the Body as a Whole
In the most serious cases, an employee may experience a permanent impairment or loss to the entire body. That individual will be entitled to receive two-thirds of his salary, multiplied by the percentage of disability incurred.
Nebraska law recognizes that some on-the-job injuries require an employee to be retrained to accommodate his or her new disability. Other injured employees may need training to perform a new job that is better suited to their new physical circumstances and limitations. Vocational rehabilitation offers employees this valuable training so that they can eventually return to some form of work.
How Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help
Navigating through the workers’ compensation system can be time-consuming and frustrating. Insurance companies have a financial interest in denying claims and paying out as little as possible. Employers may be uncooperative to avoid a rise in their insurance premiums resulting from multiple claims.
Many employers—and all insurance companies—have an attorney or, in some cases, a team of attorneys. These attorneys are solely responsible for evaluating workers’ compensation claims and related disputes. They are experienced, know the process well, and are well-versed in how to come to a resolution. These parties aim to seek resolutions involving the least possible financial exposure to the organizations that they represent.
Don’t try to defend your rights alone. A competent Nebraska workers’ compensation attorney can help you with the entire legal process. Your attorney can assist you in notifying your employer and negotiating with the insurance company. If you are unable to resolve any issues, an attorney will help you file a claim in the Workers’ Compensation Court.
In reality, workers’ compensation recovery is limited. Coverage will never pay for 100 percent of the wages you’ve lost. Injured employees often exhaust the available benefits and continue to suffer physical and financial consequences of the injury. If you are not fully compensated for your injuries, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. An attorney can evaluate your case and let you know if that is a viable option given your circumstances.
Contact a Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Attorney
It is always in your best interest to have an attorney represent you any time that you’re dealing with an adversarial party. In this type of situation, your employer’s interests are certainly adverse to your own. The interests of your employer’s insurance company are also adverse to the interests of an injured party.
At the Robert Pahlke Law Group, we have over 85 years of combined experience fighting for the rights of injured parties throughout Nebraska. Because every case is unique, we cannot guarantee a particular outcome in your case, but we can assure you that our extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of Nebraska workers’ compensation law can build you a strong case. Trust us to fight for your legal rights while you fight the battle to heal from your injury.
Start taking control of your situation and contact us today or call (308) 633-4444 to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation.