Accidents happen is a common refrain. Most people believe that an accident is something that happens suddenly and was caused by carelessness. But nothing is quite that simple in the world of workers’ compensation.
Nebraska law defines an accident as happening suddenly and violently, being unexpected and having objective symptoms. Suddenly violently means that an injury 1) happens at a definite time 2) stops employment and 3) the employee stops work.
This definition can cover all sorts of injures that might not be considered an accident by a lay person.
Examples of such cases are: (1) carpal tunnel from repeated use of hands, (2) rotator cuff shoulder injuries from repeated use of arms above the shoulder, (3) skin conditions from repeated exposure to chemicals, dust or heat, (4) blood clotting from long periods of sitting, (5) heart attack and stroke from unusually heavy exertion, (6) lung diseases from exposure to chemicals, grain dust and cement dust, (7) cancer from exposure to chemical or substance known to be carcinogens (8) death from a work related disease, (9) mental health disease caused by long term pain from a work related injury, disease or condition.
In cases that aren’t thought about as “accidents” injured workers may not be clear in relating their symptoms to their work. There could also be confusion over the exact date of an injury. Some employers may even be confused about what happened – or if they acting in bad faith they may try to discipline an employee for not reporting the “accident” in a prompt manner. Injured workers can end up losing their job and or having their claim denied because they don’t understand what accident means in workers’ compensation law.
Nebraska workers facing such challenges should contact a lawyer if they suffer from a disease or condition from work activity or environment mental factors. You may be entitled to benefits becuase Nebraska Workers compensation benefits are not limited to sudden accidents. You may also have a case for wrongful termination if you were fired for reporting a work accident.