If you are unable to work because of an occupational injury or illness, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In Nebraska, these benefits include medical treatment, wage loss payments, and other valuable compensation. To receive workers’ comp, you must follow specific claims procedures—including reporting your injury and seeking appropriate medical care.
The Workers’ Compensation Court oversees all workers’ comp claims in Nebraska. However, the Court does not immediately approve or deny workers’ claims. Instead, insurance companies are responsible for initial claims processing. If a claim decision is appealed, the Court will then evaluate the worker’s claim.
Most Nebraska employers have workers’ compensation insurance. Insurance may be obtained by purchasing a workers’ comp policy from a private insurance company or by receiving certification from the state to self-insure. Self-insured companies are financially responsible for payment of their workers’ comp claims.
Unlike most other personal injury claims, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. You do not need to show that your employer acted carelessly in order to receive benefits. As long as your injury happened on the job or was caused by your work activities, you will typically be eligible for benefits.
Eligible workers may receive a variety of benefits, including:
You cannot receive compensation for your pain and suffering in a workers’ comp claim. Additionally, workers’ comp is typically your “exclusive remedy” against your employer—you cannot file a negligence lawsuit demanding other compensation. Instead, you must report the injury and file a workers’ comp claim. To learn more about what you can and can't receive, see our Workers' Compensation Benefits page.
In Nebraska, you should immediately notify your employer of a work-related injury in writing. It is important to give notice and request medical treatment as quickly as possible. Employers and insurance companies are skeptical of delayed claims and tend to deny them. If your notice is significantly delayed, you may lose some or all of your benefits.
Your written notice should include:
Once you report your injury, your employer should send you to a doctor for medical treatment. Under certain circumstances, you may choose to treat with your primary care physician. Otherwise, you will be referred to an occupational doctor. Within 14 days of your first visit, your treating doctor must send an initial medical report to your employer and its insurance company.
Your employer must also notify its insurance company and the Court of your workers’ comp claim within seven days of receiving your notice. The insurance company will then investigate your claim and determine your eligibility for benefits. Its investigation may involve:
Typically, the insurance company will either approve or deny your workers’ compensation benefits within 30 days of receiving your claim. (Under certain circumstances, the insurance company must pay penalties for delaying benefits.) If your claim is approved, you will start receiving disability payments and other benefits. Unfortunately, insurance companies deny many workers’ compensation claims.
If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal. To begin the process, you must file a petition with the Workers’ Compensation Court. Appeals must be filed within two years of your injury or last benefit payment, whichever is later. Unless your claim is very simple, you should consider hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer. The insurance company will have a lawyer, and you may be at a disadvantage if you proceed without an attorney. To learn more, see Should I Hire a Workers' Comp Attorney or Can I Handle My Own Case?