In Nebraska, a "First Report of Alleged Occupational Injury or Illness" form ("First Report" for short) is used for many things. If you are hurt at work and require medical treatment other than first aid, are restricted from your normal work duties, and/or miss work, you employer will likely fill out a First Report for you or have you fill out a First Report. The First Report provides information about the Employer, Insurance Carrier, Employee, and the Accident/Injury. Once completed, the First Report is filed with the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court. Per the Court rules, the First Report shall be filed with the Court within 10 days after the employer or the insurance company have been given notice of or have knowledge of the injury. If your employer or the insurance company fail to file a First Report, the statute of limitations (timeline to file a law suit) does not begin to run until the First Report has been filed. Thus, the timeline to file your law suit may be extended if the First Report was not filed. While it is rare, if your employer fails to file a First Report despite your reporting, you can contact the Court to obtain a First Report to file on your own. If you would like to request a copy of any First Reports filed relating to you, you may do so via the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court's website. If you have questions about whether a First Report was filed or dispute the details contained in the First Report, the lawyers at Atwood, Holsten, Brown, Deaver & Spier can talk you through the nuances and impact of the same.
Social media posts and messages, even those considered "private," may be discoverable in a Nebraska workers' compensation case. The Nebraska Rules of Discovery provide that any party to a lawsuit may obtain information regarding any matter, not legally privileged, which is relevant or "reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." Neb. Ct. R. Disc. § 6-326(b)(1). Since 2009, when information obtained from a social media website was first offered as evidence in the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court, employers and workers' compensation insurance companies have increasingly sought to obtain access to injured workers' social media accounts. Social media posts contradicting the claim (the nature and extent of disability alleged, causation of the alleged injury, or the worker's credibility generally) have, in some cases, prompted the Court to reduce or deny workers' compensation benefits. For example:
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.
Kids' Chance of Nebraska is a non-profit charitable organization providing need-based educational scholarships to children of Nebraska workers who have been fatally or seriously injured in a workplace accident. To be eligible for a Kids' Chance scholarship, applicants must:
Several attorneys in our office are licensed in multiple states. The issue of where to file a law suit and which state has better benefits for the injured worker comes up commonly, especially in cases where the injured worker travels for work. There are certain situations in which workers' compensation benefits will be more beneficial for an injured worker if they are able to pursue the claim in Iowa, rather than Nebraska. Employees injured while working in Iowa are entitled to Iowa workers' compensation benefits. If an employee is injured outside of Iowa, there may still be Iowa jurisdiction if (1) the employer has a place of business in Iowa and the employee regularly works at or from that place of business; (2) the employer has a place of business in Iowa and the employee lives in Iowa; (3) the employee is working under a contract of hire made in Iowa and employee regularly works in Iowa; (4) the employee is working under a contract of hire made in Iowa and sustains an injury for which no remedy is available under the workers' compensation laws of another state; (5) the employee is working under a contract of hire made in Iowa for employment outside of the United State; and/or (6) the employer has a place of business in Iowa and the employee is working under a contract of hire that provides that workers' compensation claims will be governed by Iowa law. In order to assess the best recovery available for an work injury, contact our office and discuss with one of our dually-licensed attorneys.