Atwood, Holsten, Brown, Deaver & Spier Law Firm, P.C., L.L.O.
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Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits for Injured Nebraska Workers

Vocational rehabilitation services are an important aspect of Nebraska's workers' compensation laws.  The goal of vocational rehabilitation services is to assist an injured worker with a prompt return to gainful, suitable employment.  If an injury leaves a worker with permanent physical restrictions which prevent a return to the job held at the time of injury, she/he may qualify for vocational rehabilitation services under the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act.  Importantly, in order to be considered appropriate employment, or "gainful employment" as labeled in the Act, available job opportunities must compensate the injured worker at or near the level of compensation received by the employee at the time of the work-related injury.  This means that an injured worker with permanent restrictions does not have to accept post-accident employment at a reduced rate of compensation.

If an injured worker qualifies for vocational rehabilitation services, she/he will work with an agreed-upon or court-appointed Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to identify aptitudes, interests, and available employment opportunities.  The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor will then identify what steps are necessary to re-employ the injured worker at or near her/his pre-accident wage rate.  Vocational rehabilitation counselors are bound to follow a hierarchy when identifying the appropriate vocational rehabilitation plan, as follows:

  1. Return to the previous job with the same employer;
  2. Modification of the previous job with the same employer;
  3. A new job with the same employer;
  4. A new job with a new employer; or
  5. A period of formal training which is designed to lead to employment in another career field.

Vocational rehabilitation counselors often assist with resume preparation, job applications, interviewing skills, etc.  If necessary, formal retraining can and often does include educational programs, such as a GED program, Associate's Degree, or even Bachelor's or Master's Degrees in certain circumstances.  The costs associated with the particular vocational rehabilitation plan are paid from a State fund.  Importantly, an injured worker participating in a court-approved vocational rehabilitation plan receives temporary total disability benefits payments on a weekly basis for the duration of the plan, paid at two-thirds of the injured worker's gross wages earned in the 26 weeks prior to the date of her/his accident.  This allows the injured worker to receive an income while focusing efforts on successful completion of the vocational rehabilitation plan.

Vocational rehabilitation services are available to injured workers irrespective of the location of or type of injury involved in a particular case.  Spine injuries, nerve damage, closed head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and mental injuries can qualify an injured worker for vocational rehabilitation services.  As can injuries to fingers, hands, feet, eyes, ears, or any other body system, so long as the injury results in permanent physical restrictions which prevent a return to the job held at the time of the injury.

  • Martindale Hubbell | AV Preeminent | Peer rated for highest level of professional excellence 2017
  • AV PeerReviewRated | For Ethical Standards And Legal Ability
  • The American Trial Lawyers Association
  • ABA - Defending Liberty Pursing justice
  • NATA

What Our Clients Say

  • The lawyers and support staff at Atwood Law Firm showed me sincere interest and caring on a very personal level, and I knew at all times my interests were front and center in all aspects of my workers' compensation case. This office is staffed by a great group of people. You can relax and be assured that your welfare comes first and foremost in their decisions and actions with respect to your legal case. You are kept aware of the process and progress in your case at all times, and your input is welcomed. I highly recommend the Atwood Law Firm to anyone needing legal assistance. - WN

  • I cannot thank you enough for the peace of mind you have brought to my family! Both of my parents are extremely grateful for your work. I knew we were in good hands from the first meeting and you have exceeded all my expectations! It may feel straightforward to you, but to us, you have moved mountains. This settlement will allow my parents, particularly my Dad, to enjoy the rest of their lives to the fullest of their abilities. We all agree that we would give every cent back and more for my Dad to walk again, but that is not going to happen... - DW

  • "...He didn't treat me like I was one of 100 clients. He treated me like I was his only client. He acted professionally but with empathy, dignity and friendliness. It didn't matter if it was something small or large, he was always there for me, be it by phone, fax, email, cellphone or meeting me personally at his office or elsewhere. He never rushed me when I didn't understand something, he'd take as much time as needed to explain things to me, especially when it came time for my deposition and in preparation for trial. He was there for me when I truly needed his help..." - CG

  • "...My husband and I felt his kindness immediately and were both very impressed with his knowledge of what to expect in a wrongful death case. He pursued our claim in an aggressive manner while at the same time being very protective of our rights and privacy and sheltered us from any unnecessary contact with insurance agents, or any other adverse parties. My husband and I cannot say enough about the kindness, professionalism and legal ability demonstrated by Atwood, Holsten, Brown, Deaver & Spier Law Firm, P.C., L.L.O." - RD

  • "...If it were not for this law firm all I would have received from this injury would have been a loss of income check and a pat on the back, goodbye. Which only would have been a fraction of what I actually received. He was always professional but more importantly he cared about me and my family as people not just a client. He went beyond his role as my lawyer. He even spoke with my bank and explained why I was behind on my car payment. And this saved me getting my car repossessed..." - HR

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