The Workers’ Compensation Act in Nebraska is designed to provide benefits to employees who sustain injury by accident or occupational disease arising out of and in the course of their employment, and who are not willfully negligent at the time of the injury. The Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act is the exclusive remedy for Nebraska employees, and the benefits available to you are set by law.
If you get hurt on the job, your employer is required to pay you workers’ compensation benefits. However, it is YOUR responsibility to show that you were working at the time of the injury or illness and that the injury or illness was caused by work. It is not necessary to show that your employer was at fault for the injuries. The accident may even be your fault. If those requirements are met, you may be entitled to certain benefits such as:
- Medical care
- Temporary total disability benefits (payment to you while you miss work recovering from an injury)
- Temporary partial disability benefits (payment to you if you cannot work full-time due to an injury)
- Permanent disability benefits (payment if you have permanent injuries)
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Mileage reimbursement
- Death benefits
It should not be confused with unemployment compensation, or other benefits such as Social Security disability benefits, health and accident insurance, or other disability benefit plans provided by the employer.
Last year, over 42,000 injury claims were filed in Nebraska. Many of these claims involved serious personal injuries that resulted in permanent disability. Needless to say, work injuries can happen to anyone.
Who is Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Most employees are covered under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act. However there are exceptions as set forth by law (below are those set forth via the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court):
- Federal employees, railroad employees, most volunteers, and independent contractors are not covered under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act.
- Household domestic servants and some employees of agricultural operations are covered under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act only if the employer elects to provide worker’s compensation insurance for them.
- Self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, partners, and limited liability company members who are actually engaged in the business on a substantially full-time basis may elect to be covered under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act. To elect coverage such a person must file a written election with the insurer from whom workers’ compensation insurance coverage is obtained.
- Executive officers of Nebraska corporations who own 25 percent or more of the corporation’s common stock are not considered employees of the corporation under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act unless they elect to be covered. To elect coverage, a corporate officer must file such election in writing with the workers’ compensation insurer and the corporate secretary (not with the court).
- Executive officers of Nebraska nonprofit corporations who receive annual compensation of $1,000.00 or less from the corporation are not considered employees of the corporation under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act unless they elect to be covered. To elect coverage such officers must file a written election with the workers’ compensation insurer and the corporate secretary (not with the court).
What if my injuries are someone else’s fault?
If you are injured as a result of the negligence of a third party (someone other than your employer or co-employees), you may be able to bring a separate claim against that particular entity. However you must be able to prove that the third party was negligent and this negligence was the cause of damages. You should always speak to an attorney to discuss your particular work injury.
Out of State Claims. Am I Covered?
Some injuries occur outside of Nebraska. For instance, many truck drivers are employed by Nebraska trucking companies but drive over the road through several states. This may qualify you for benefits in more than one state. This is important for you as each state has different workers’ compensation laws with different benefits. Putnam Law will help you determine which state workers’ compensation laws are applicable and the most advantageous for your claim.
Read on for information about what to do if you are injured on the job, possible pitfalls in the Nebraska workers’ compensation system, and how Putnam Law Offices in Omaha can help you. These tips only scratch the surface of your possible options and obstacles regarding workers’ compensation; it is your duty to get yourself informed and protected as soon as possible.
Note: The following is general information about Nebraska workers’ compensation injury claims and should not be taken as legal advice. You should always contact an injury attorney to discuss your particular claim under Nebraska law.