Dealing With Workplace Injuries in Nebraska
The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that employers reported almost 27,000 workplace injuries in 2016, 6,900 of which resulted in days off from work and 5,700 that required a job change or transfer. Employees that get injured on the job undergo large amounts of emotional and financial stress in addition to dealing with the physical pain and anguish of their injury.
Nebraska’s Department of Administrative Services oversees workers’ compensation insurance for the state, which provides benefits for those who suffered workplace injuries without exhibiting willful negligence in the workplace.
Workers’ compensation benefits, however, do not always cover all of the losses from a workplace injury. In addition, sometimes insurance carriers deny the claim or reduce benefits. In other instances, a third party might have caused the workplace injury.
If you were injured at work, you need a skilled attorney who has experience with workplace injuries and who can advise you about the best course of action for your individual situation. Call one of the qualified workplace injury lawyers at Robert Pahlke Law Group in Nebraska at (308) 633-4444 to discuss the details of your case.
Workplace injuries may vary based on an employee’s specific job and sector of employment. Nebraska reports the manufacturing and trade, transportation, and utilities sectors typically have the most injuries and fatalities.
Common workplace injuries might include:
- Fractured, broken, and crushed bones
- Head trauma, including traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Electrocution injuries
- Burn injuries
Liability in Workplace Injuries
Several different parties might face liability for a workplace injury. Liable parties and scenarios in which they might bear responsibility:
- An employer who acts negligently or doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance or railroads may be liable for a workplace injury in a civil court.
- If your workplace injury resulted from defective machinery, defective equipment, or any defective product that you use at work, the manufacturer, distributor, retailer, or any other party in a product’s chain of distribution may be liable for a workplace injury. The same applies for those who manufacture, distribute, or sell toxic substances that lead to a workplace injury.
- A careless, intoxicated, or fatigued driver who crashes into a company vehicle while you are driving may be liable.
- A property owner who didn’t maintain a safe premises while you were working there for your employer. Examples include nurses or sales representatives that visit a home.
Damages in Workplace Injuries
The damages that you might recover from a workplace injury depend on whether you are filing a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Nebraska workers’ compensation provides three benefits for employees who sustain on-the-job injuries in Nebraska and did not act willfully negligent:
- Indemnity, often referred to as wage compensation, generally pays two-thirds of one’s average income for the 26 weeks before the injury after a seven-day waiting period. The specific amount of benefits varies based on the severity and the length of the disability.
- Medical benefits include medical care that is directly related to the injury, like hospitalization, appliances, prescription drugs, surgery, radiology, prosthetic devices, and any other reasonable medical cost.
- Vocational rehabilitation seeks to help place victims in jobs when they are not capable of returning to their previous positions because of permanent disabilities.
Workers’ compensation does not cover any non-economic losses (such as pain, suffering or loss of enjoyment of life), nor does it cover all of your economic losses. Once you reach that threshold, a skilled personal injury attorney might advise you to file a personal injury suit to recover damages beyond your workers’ compensation claim. In the event that your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier denies you or reduces your benefits, or another party bears liability for your injury, you might recover the following compensation in civil court:
- Medical expenses that go beyond the limits of workers’ compensation insurance
- Lost wages and benefits that workers’ compensation insurance doesn’t cover
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
How the Defense Will Fight Your Claim
Any party named in a personal injury suit will go out of its way to avoid paying damages. Similarly, employers and insurance companies don’t like to pay out on claims. During the claims process and/or the court process, expect the insurance company and any other party to question the severity of your injuries and try to paint you as negligent.
Nebraska applies a modified comparative negligence rule to most personal injury cases, which further incentivizes shifting the blame to the victim. Under this rule, the court assigns a percentage fault to each party and deducts any percentage of the plaintiff’s blame from the award. In the event that the court finds the injured party 50 percent or more at fault for the injury, Nebraska law prohibits collecting damages.
Insurance companies, employers, and legal defense teams will use many strategies to shift the blame to the plaintiff. Violating safety regulations, breaking traffic laws, not following proper protocol while performing your job, or having a preexisting condition are common claims negligent companies make that may result in a reduction or complete loss of benefits or ability to recover civil damages. A skilled personal injury attorney with workplace injury experience knows the tactics that insurance companies, employers, and their lawyers will try to play. A good lawyer will advocate for you and try to attain the best possible outcome for your case.
Contact a Skilled Workplace Injury Lawyer in Nebraska
If you sustained a workplace injury and your workers’ compensation claim was denied, your benefits were reduced, or a third party contributed to your injury, contact the experienced workplace injury lawyers at Robert Pahlke Law Group online or call at (308) 633-4444 for a free consultation.