Most Nebraska businesses with employees are required to pay for workers’ compensation insurance (WC or workers’ comp insurance). The insurance provides compensation to employees who suffer work-related injuries. Here are some basic facts that you need to know about workers’ comp insurance in Nebraska as a business owner and employer.
If your Nebraska business has just one employee, you’re generally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Exceptions apply to:
The Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court (WCC) is the primary state agency that handles workers’ comp claims. Most of the law for WC insurance is contained in Nebraska’s Workers’ Compensation Act (Chapter 48 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes). In addition to the Act, there are also WCC rules of procedure that cover workers’ compensation in Nebraska.
In Nebraska, workers’ compensation insurance is available through private insurance companies. If your business is unable to obtain coverage through a private insurer, you can get coverage through the Nebraska Department of Insurance. There is also an option for certain large corporations to self-insure.
The injured employee should notify you about the injury. You then have ten days to file a Form 1, First Report of Alleged Occupational Injury or Illness, with the WCC. You also must notify your insurer of the injury. Your insurer will investigate and, within 30 days, either begin making WC payments or deny the claim.
The employee has the right to choose the treating doctor if that doctor maintains the medical records for the employee or an immediate family member of the employee. If the employee does not choose a doctor in such cases, you can choose the doctor. You should inform your employee of his or her right to choose a doctor. Otherwise, you will lose your own right to choose for the employee.
Beyond these initial steps, there are subsequent steps to the WC claims process not covered here.
If your insurer denies benefits to your employee, and the employee disputes this decision, he or she can call the WCC. More specifically, any person involved in a workers’ comp claim can request informal dispute resolution from the court. This generally means mediation, an informal process where a neutral third party tries to help everyone reach an agreement.
Beyond informal mediation, you can file a petition with the WCC for a hearing. The WCC then will send the employee a summons that he or she must answer within 14 days to answer. After receiving the answer, the WCC will set a date for a hearing. If you are unhappy with the outcome of the hearing, you can appeal to the Nebraska Court of Appeals.
If you don’t carry workers’ compensation insurance you may be subject to various penalties. These may include:
There are many other workers’ compensation requirements for Nebraska employers that are not covered here. For more information, see the Nolo website section on workers’ compensation and the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court website.