Retail jobs surpass manufacturing jobs in injury rate

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What’s a more dangerous job, working in retail or working in a factory?

Most would say manufacturing, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, retail jobs had a higher incidence of lost time work injuries than manufacturing in 2018.

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know about the danger of retailing jobs. The workers’ compensation blogosphere runs “the dangers of holiday jobs” posts over the holiday season on a yearly basis to talk about risks of holiday employment in retail.

While automation, think self-checkouts, has eliminated some retail jobs, the remaining retail jobs usually require at least a 50-pound lifting restriction. Online shopping and competition from Amazon, means that more retail employees perform heavier and more dangerous warehousing and delivery tasks. The increased injury rate in retail work also means that more injured employees may be placed in light or alternate duty attendant jobs like the famous Walmart greeter job.

Workers’ compensation lawyer bloggers tend to write about jobs with high injury rates. But the story of retail employment isn’t just a question of retail work becoming more dangerous, it could also be caused by manufacturing jobs becoming less dangerous.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal predicted that within a few years, the majority of manufacturing employees will have a college degree. The changing demographic of manufacturing employees is explained by increasing investment in manufacturing technology that will turn many manufacturing workers into machine operators who require specialized skills.

In theory — and practice – this investment in technology should make manufacturing jobs safer. But manufacturing jobs will still be more hazardous for the foreseeable future. Some investment in manufacturing technology involves cobbling together 2010s (and soon 2020s) software on top of machines built and designed in the 1960s. The dangers of this approach were exposed by two crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max. The 737 Max is an example of the hazards that workers’ can be faced with when companies mix 20th and 21st century technology.

New manufacturing technology may also fail to take human factors into a consideration. An expensive new piece of machinery may increase productivity, but it may still require heavy lifting from a worker to process inputs.  The new manufacturing economy probably won’t be as safe as portrayed in the pages of the Wall Street Journal and other publications targeted at wealthy professionals. Meanwhile, retail employment may be more dangerous than commonly understood.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett, Moore & Rehm, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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Why potholes are a workplace safety issue

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Most people consider potholes an annoyance, but for many workers they can be s serious safety risk – a safety risk that can lead to a work injury and a workers’ compensation claim.

While potholes are generally thought about as a symptom of cold weather in northern states, potholes are an all-weather hazard for workers because of how they are created.

Potholes: weight and water

Weight put on asphalt by vehicles eventually causes pavement to break down and cause holes. Potholes are prevalent in areas high traffic and heavy vehicles. That’s why parking lots, truck stops and areas around warehouses and delivery docks can be particularly bumpy.

If you combine high traffic with heavy moisture and or freezing water, you have a recipe for slips, trips and falls for those who must walk on potholed surfaces.

Potholes: weight times speed

Potholes can also cause injuries to drivers who strike them. The faster and heavier the vehicle the greater the impact. This is particularly true for drivers of heavier vehicles like semi-trucks driving highway speeds. It is not uncommon for truckers to get lower back injuries from striking potholes

Remedies for pothole injuries: Workers’ compensation, personal injury and whistleblower claims

If you get hurt at work because of a pothole that should be covered by workers’ compensation. Even if a worker who works inside, they should be covered by workers’ compensation if they slip and fall on premises while working into work. It’s a closer legal call if the employee is walking from off-site parking or is walking outside during a break.

If you are a trucker who hit a pothole, be sure to tell your dispatcher or safety what happened. Also if you go to a doctor – particularly if it is in some random emergency room – be sure to mention hitting a pothole. Pothole injuries have a way of being ignored, so make sure you report them to help your case for workers’ compensation benefits.

If you are hurt on the job, but you fall due to a pothole on another businesses property, you could have a negligence claim against that business. The legal term for a case like this is a third-party claim. In a third-party claim, you can collect both workers’ compensation benefits and be paid by the at-fault party. But if another party is at fault for a work injury, your workers’ compensation insurer has some right to be paid back from the proceeds of the negligence claim.

Whistleblower claims

OSHA requires employees provide a workplace free of recognizable hazards. OSHA has cited employers for employee injuries due to potholes.  Nebraska allows employees to sue their employers for retaliation if they report conduct they believe to be unlawful under state or federal law. So in Nebraska, an employee who is retaliated against by their employer for reporting an injury due to a pothole could bring a statutory whistleblower claim against their employer as a well as a common law case.

An employee could also bring a federal whistleblower claim depending on their employer as well under a federal law like the Surface Transportation Amendments Acts (STAA) which covers workers’ in the transport industries.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett, Moore & Rehm, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in third party claims, Whistleblower, Workers' Compensation.

Workplace deaths increase in Nebraska during 2019; work comp benefits set to increase in 2020

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The Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court reported workplace deaths increased from 41 to 54 over the last fiscal year. Workplace deaths increased in Nebraska even as the overall number of reported work injuries declined.

The findings were included in the annual report of the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation released on Monday.

I think its’ important to note that the number of First Report of Injuries is just an estimate of work injuries in Nebraska. Filing a first report isn’t an admission of a work injury by an employer. On the flip side some employers under-report work injuries, so the number reported by the court could either overestimate or underestimate the number of work injuries in this states

Statistics from one year from one state may not indicate any kind of trend about workplace deaths or work injuries. Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state. Statistics from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) probably give a better picture of national trends but, their reporting lags behind one fiscal year. In the most recent reported year, Fiscal Year 2018, the BLS showed a 2 percent increase in workplace fatalities.

But even if the increase in workplace deaths in Nebraska isn’t significant from a statistical point of view, workplace deaths are tragic for the families affected. I’ve written previously about how the workplace injury and death survivor group, USMWF has started to lobby for better workplace safety and workers’ compensation laws.

 

Maximum benefit rates increased for 2020

The Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court announced the maximum weekly benefit will also increase from $882 to $855. Nebraska law adjusts the maximum wage rate along with increases to the state’s average wage rate.

While the increase in maximum benefits in Nebraska is routine, that is not the case in every state. In 2017, a judge in Alabama ruled portions of their workers’ compensation law was unconstitutional because maximum benefits had not increased since 1987.

Interestingly enough, the court has not announced the mileage rate for 2020. That number is based on the IRS rate which has not been announced yet. The current mileage rate is $.58 per mile.

Transportation cost is one factor in determining how disabled injured workers are in Nebraska. Much litigation centers on whether it is cost-effective for a worker living in a remote area to commute to a more populated area for work. The cost of a commute, as determined by the mileage rate, in proportion the wages earned is a crucial question.

In 2019, the cost of transportation increased faster than the increase in average wages in the state. In practical terms, this would mean an injured worker might reasonably expected to commute a shorter distance. But mileage costs can vary from year to year, while the maximum benefit as average wage tends to increase steadily. Mileage reimbursement was only 5.4 percent higher in 2019 than it was in 2009. In contrast, the maximum benefit increased 27.4 percent over the same period.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett, Moore & Rehm, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized.

Why regional discrimination is a (legally actionable) thing in China, but not in the U.S.

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A Chinese woman from Henan province successfully sued a company in Hangzhou province for denying her a job based on status as a resident of Henan province.

To put this in American terms, this would be the equivalent of someone from West Virginia or Kentucky winning a case against an employer in New York or California for denying them a job based on them being from West Virginia or Kentucky.

State or regional discrimination claims would not succeed under U.S. law. State and regional discrimination is also less of an issue in the United States than it is in China. A comparison of legal systems between the two countries can help us understand why.

China v. United States Part 1: Just Cause v. At-will

In order to fire an employee in China, an employer generally needs to prove good cause. In the United States an employer can fire an employee at any time for any reason. This is called “employment at-will” and I’ve discussed the topic extensively. In short. American courts are reluctant to intervene in the employee-employer relationship barring some explicit statutory or case law authority giving them power to do so. State citizenship or regional background is not one of those reasons.

Chinese courts aren’t bound by the employment at-will and have more leeway to second guess employment decisions. A Chinese court is free to decide that not hiring someone because of provincial origin is unlawful even without any express legal guidance on the issue. Chinese law also provides discrimination protections for workers in rural areas seeking employment in urban areas.

China v. U.S. Part 2: Hukou v. Article IV

Regional discrimination is a more contentious issue in China because of the hukou system which limits the abilities of Chinese citizens to migrate, contract and own property within China. In contrast, Americans have the right to travel, work and contract anywhere in the United States. This freedom is guaranteed by the so-called privileges and immunities clause of the United States Constitution at Article IV, Clause 1. The privileges and immunities clause also limits the ability of U.S. states to discriminate against the citizens of other states.

So in essence, U.S. law severely limits discrimination based on state origin by governments, but permits private parties to discriminate on that basis in the workplace. In contrast, Chinese law approves of government discrimination based on provincial (state) origin, but is more willing to limit such discrimination between private parties in the workplace.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett, Moore & Rehm, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized.

UPS far from the only employer under-reporting workers’ compensation claims

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Fatima Hussein wrote a well-reported story for Bloomberg Law about UPS discouraging or under-reporting workers’ compensation claims.

This practice is sometimes known as claims suppression. Claims suppression is a common issue in workers’ compensation. Lawyers from coast to coast, Tara Reck in Washington state and Jeff Blackwell in Alabama, have recently written about the topic.

Washington state, to their credit, formally recognizes the concept of claims suppression in their law and identifies the practice. In Washington, employers guilty of claims suppression can be civilly fined. Employees can also apply to their workers’ compensation board to extend statute of limitations if claims suppression lead them not to file a claim.

Claims suppression in Nebraska

Though Nebraska doesn’t formally recognize the term claim suppression in our law, we have similar remedies to Washington state for the practice. Employers can be prosecuted for the misdemeanor of not filing a first report of injury with the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court. The failure of an employer to file a first report of injury also automatically extends the two-year statute of limitations to file a petition in the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court.

In my view the penalties for claims suppression in Nebraska are weak. I am unaware of any times where an employer was prosecuted for claims suppression in Nebraska.

Fighting claims suppression in the civil justice system

But I am a skeptic of criminalizing workers’ compensation — which at its core is a contractual issue between an employee and their employer. My view is that employees are more vulnerable to prosecution than employers. Since workers’ compensation is stigmatized, workers’ compensation fraud by employees is viewed as a variant of welfare fraud. Welfare fraud is prosecuted aggressively in many jurisdictions.

I believe that the civil justice system is a better forum for wrongs done in a commercial transaction. But many barriers exist to employees being able to bring civil claims for workers’ compensation claims suppression by their employers. The first barrier is the fact that workers’ compensation laws are the exclusive remedy for workplace injuries. For example, in Nebraska an employee can’t bring a bad faith action against their workers’ compensation insurer because their remedy for bad faith is the penalty and fee statute under Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-125.

The employment at-will doctrine and claims suppression

A related barrier to bringing civil claims for claims suppression, is the growing reluctance of courts to allow employees to sue their employers. I believe this is because of the overwhelming power to the doctrine of the employment at-will doctrine.

Claims suppression cases are often brought as retaliation cases. Earlier this year, a federal court in Pennsylvania narrowly interpreted Pennsylvania’s prohibition on workers’ compensation retaliation to rule against an employee. That case turned on the court finding the receipt of workers’ compensation benefits wasn’t actually claiming workers’ compensation benefits, so the employee wasn’t being retaliated against when they were fired after their work injury. The court’s narrow construction of Pennsylvania’s anti-workers’ compensation retaliation is based on the importance of the employment at-will doctrine.

Arguably in cases where an employee doesn’t file a claim because of claims suppression, then a court can find the employee isn’t being retaliated against because they never filed a claim in the first place. Recognizing a civil action for claims suppression requires more legal creativity than many courts are willing to give an injured employee.

But just because bringing a claim for claims suppression is difficult doesn’t mean that some lawyers aren’t trying. The Bloomberg article quotes Paul Taylor of the Truckers Justice Center, a nationally recognized expert on retaliation claims under the Surface Transportation Amendments Act (STAA) retaliation claims. Workers’ in industries covered under the STAA could bring suppression claims under the STAA. These claims have a more favorable burden of proof for workers’ than typical civil rights claims.

The Bloomberg story also mentions cases for workers’ compensation that have been brought under California state law. But, California state law is considered to be one of the most friendly for employees in the nation. I question what weight a Nebraska court would give to a ruling made under California law.

Ultimately claims suppression will probably have to be addressed by state legislatures as workers’ compensation laws are state laws. State legislatures can increase the penalties for claims suppression and create private causes of action for workers’ compensation claims suppression by statute. If federal minimum standards for workers’ compensation get momentum in Congress, stronger anti-claims suppression laws should be part of those standards.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett, Moore & Rehm, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Workers Compensation, Workers' Compensation. Workplace Injury and tagged , , , , .

Why AB5 could survive

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Last month gig economy companies like Uber announced a petition drive to repeal Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) which expanded workers’ compensation benefits and other employment protections to gig economy workers and others in California.

AB5 should increase workplace protections for Lyft and Uber drivers, but what can California’s previous attempts to help professional drivers tell us about the future of AB5? It may explain why the gig economy companies are working at a state rather than the federal level. 

Rest breaks for truckers

California amended their wage and hour law to require employers give truckers a break after five hours of service. That law offered more protections than federal law, At the end of 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ruled that California law on breaks was preempted by federal law.

There is nothing new about employers running to the federal government to undo state laws that improve workers’ rights — those efforts date back at least to the Dred Scott decision in the 1857.

So what are the chances that AB5 will suffer the same fate as California’s efforts to insure fair pay and working conditions for truckers? I think AB5 will be harder to undo on a federal level for a few reasons.

Federalism issues

Preemption of federal law by state law has a better chance of succeeding if there is a strong constitutional basis for federal regulation. In the case of trucking, the interstate commerce clause gives the federal government a solid basis for regulating trucking. It’s easier to argue that federal law should preempt state law in an industry that clearly falls within Congressional power to regulate.

In contrast, workers’ compensation laws are state-based laws enacted under state police powers. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance and Congress has largely delegated insurance regulation to the states. So at least for the workers’ compensation provisions of AB5, I believe there is almost no chance that federal courts would rule that part of the legislation would be preempted by federal court.

Political reasons

The reason the trucking industry had to rely on a ruling by the FMSCA to invalidate California’s law on detention pay for truckers, was that it was unable to get the so-called Denham amendment passed.  In other words, the trucking industry failed to change the law legislatively, so they ran to the executive branch rule making process to get what they wanted.

I started paying close attention to worker classification and portable benefit schemes as they related to the gig economy in 2015. I read a paper from the Democratic-leaning Hamilton Project promoting portable benefit schemes for gig economy workers. Part of that paper included a quote from former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin stating that there needed to be reform of labor laws for the 21st century. Rubin was an architect of financial deregulation in the 1990s, so the idea of him doing the same for labor laws horrified me.

What horrified me was the prospect of Wall Street and Silicon Valley influenced Democrats working with Republicans in some “grand bargain” or feat of “bi-partisanship” to hammer the coffin nail in state workers’ compensation laws from a federal level.

But if the trucking industry can’t even pass the Denham amendment. (BTW Representative Jeff Denham was defeated in 2018), a federal grand bargain on the gig economy seems far-fetched. The Democratic Party, at least on paper, has become a stronger supporter of worker rights over the last four years. Labor militancy has made a comeback in the last four years.  The tech industry has also seen its reputation and popularity lag over the last four years.

Gig economy companies are still attempting to weaken America’s already weak employment laws, but the passage of AB5 in California shows their efforts can by stymied. 

The offices of Rehm, Bennett, Moore & Rehm, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized.

Free to work where you want, but not free to claim workers’ compensation where you want

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Americans enjoy the freedom to travel, live, work and enter into contracts throughout the United States. But when an employee is injured on the job they are often forced to claim workers’ compensation benefits in a distant and or unfamiliar state.  

Article IV of the United States Constitution explains this dilemma for injured workers. But Article IV may allow some employees to be more fairly compensated for their work injuries as well.

The privileges and immunities clause

Article IV, Clause 2 of the Constitution, the so-called privileges and immunities clause, gives Americans the right to freely travel, work, contract and buy property in any state without discrimination by state governments.

But states are allowed to discriminate some based on laws enacted for the health and welfare of its citizens enacted under their 10th Amendment police powers. Workers’ compensation laws are enacted by states under their 10th Amendment police powers. This means that states can decide which employers and employees are subject to their workers’ compensation laws.

In practical terms, this often means injured workers are forced to claim workers’ compensation benefits in a state where they don’t live. Fortunately states cannot discriminate against non-residents when it comes to access to courts. But if the privileges and immunities clause guarantees equal access to state courts regardless of state citizenship, is it constitutional to force someone to travel thousands of miles to pursue a workers’ compensation case? Arguably it’s not. It’s arguably also unconstitutional to deny a workers’ compensation claimant the right to a video or telephonic hearing if they are required to incur heavy travel expenses.

Full faith and credit clause and workers’ compensation

Article IV, Clause 1 requires states to give full faith and credit to the judgments of other states. In some circumstances this means that an injured workers can only claim and collect workers’ compensation benefits in one state even if they would be eligible for benefits in multiple states. If a state workers’ compensation law holds that you can only collect benefits in that state, then you cannot collect benefits in multiple states.

But if state law is silent about the receipt of benefits in multiple states you can collect benefits in multiple states. As one Supreme Court justice pointed out, workers’ compensation benefits are limited and they don’t always adequately compensate an injured worker. Double collection of benefits isn’t necessarily a windfall. But as I pointed out in a post in 2017, the Supreme Court isn’t overly supportive of injured workers claiming benefits in multiple states. The last decision on this issue came out nearly 40 years ago, the Supreme Court has become even less friendly to workers since then.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett, Moore & Rehm, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Constitutional law, Uncategorized, Workers' Compensation and tagged , .

Why am I getting a letter from the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court?

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The Nebraska Workers Compensation Court mails copies of First Reports of Injury out to about 40,000 workers per year along with a letter from the court.

So if you receive one of these letters, why are you getting this letter from the court? What can this report tell you about your potential workers compensation claim?

Why are you getting a letter from the comp court?

You are getting a letter because your employer or their workers compensation insurer or claims administrator filed a First Report of Injury with the Nebraska Workers Compensation Court.

Employers are required to file a First Report when an employee seeks outside medical treatment, is killed on the job, misses work or has an injury that results in restricted work. The fact that your employer filed this report doesn’t mean that you are going to get workers compensation benefits or that your employer even admitted you got hurt at work.

But even if this report isn’t an admission of responsibility by your employer, it can tell you some important things about your workers compensation case.

Insurance information

The report includes the name of your insurer. It should also include a claim number for your workers compensation claim. You can give that claim number to your doctor’s office so they can turn over their bills to the workers compensation insurer.

Lack of insurance information, should be a major red flag and should lead you to call a lawyer

Reporting of injury

The report includes information about when the injury happened and when the injury reported to the employer. Remember that this report was filled out by your employer or their insurer. If the dates on the form about when the injury happened and when it was reported don’t match with your recollection you might want to contact an attorney.

Nature of Injury

The report includes a section for nature of the injury. If that section doesn’t match up with what your injuries are, that should concern you. It’s possible your employer may not be willing to cover all of your work injuries.

Discrepancies about the reporting of the injury and nature of the injury can be an indication that your employer might argue you did not give them timely notice of accident. Though this defense rarely succeeds, employers can claim lack of timely notice to defeat an otherwise valid claim.

This means one of two things: either your employer doesn’t have your current address or they didn’t fill out a First Report. Under Nebraska law, an employer’s failure to file the report extends the time an employee can file a workers’ compensation claim. It can also lead to criminal sanctions on your employer. But from a practical perspective, the fact that your employer didn’t file a First Report makes it harder to get benefits. The Nebraska workers compensation court can give you insurance information, but oftentimes contacting an insurer when a report hasn’t been filed leads to an unhelpful response from an insurer.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett, Moore & Rehm, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized.