Workers' Compensation

What Do I Do If I Am Injured At Work?

If you have been injured at work, your employer and its insurance company are required to compensate you for your work injuries, including compensation for medical care, time away from work, and permanent impairment.  If you are injured while on the job it is critically important you first report your injuries to your employer.  Sometimes this will mean reporting the work injury to a manager or supervisor directly, or it may mean you should follow the internal procedures your job has established.  If there were any witnesses to work accident, you should notify your employer about these individuals so they can be documented in a report.  Under Nebraska law, your employer is required to file a first report of injury with the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court within 10 days of being notified you were injured on the job. Nebraska Revised Statute § 48-144.01(1) states:

“In every case of reportable injury arising out of and in the course of employment, the employer or workers’ compensation insurer shall file a report thereof with the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court. Such report shall be filed within ten days after the employer or insurer has been given notice of or has knowledge of the injury.”

Failure by the employer or insurance company to file a first report of injury after receiving appropriate notice is considered a crime under Nebraska law and may result in an extension (tolling) of the statute of limitations for any legal action against the employer.  Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-144.04.

Not all work injuries, however, are necessarily “reportable” under Nebraska law.  Nebraska Revised Statute § 48-144.01(2)(a) defines a “reportable injury” as “an injury or diagnosed occupational disease which results in: (i) Death, regardless of the time between the death and the injury or onset of disease; (ii) time away from work; (iii) restricted work or termination of employment; (iv) loss of consciousness; or (v) medical treatment other than first aid…”.  It is important to consult with a lawyer specializing in workers’ compensation law to understand if your work injury may be considered a reportable injury under the law.

Next, if you have been injured at work it is important that you seek medical treatment immediately.  Even if you believe the injury is not too serious, seeking medical treatment is important to ensure you receive the care you need, as well as ensuring your work comp claim is taken seriously.  Getting treatment right away helps document the injury and show that the injury is significant and must be addressed by the employer and workers’ compensation insurance carrier.  It is unfortunate, but many insurance companies will use any delay in medical treatment as a potential justification to deny payment for medical expenses or even deny the claim in its entirety.

After seeking initial medical treatment it is also important to follow any recommendations by your doctor for additional treatment, whether it is for additional scans or x-rays, physical therapy, or future appointments with a specialist.  Many work comp claims do not succeed because an injured worker decide not to follow up on medical treatment, even if the worker is still in a lot of pain and in need of additional care.  Following all directions by your treating doctors is critical for success in your workers’ compensation case.

Finally, it is important to talk with a workers’ compensation lawyer after a work injury.  A lawyer can discuss with you all aspects the workers’ compensation claim process and the steps you should take along the way.  A lawyer can also advocate on your behalf to the insurance company handling the claim or before the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court if a lawsuit is filed.  A lawyer may also be able to arrange for you to receive an independent medical examination if you are unhappy with the doctor assigned to your claim.

Contact the attorneys at Chandler Conway to schedule a free case evaluation and discuss all your options with your workers’ compensation claim.

Attorney Sean Conway
Sean Conway

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