What can a worker do if the employer does not pay benefits?

Nebraska workers can sometimes run into difficulties when they attempt to file a workers' compensations claim after getting hurt while on the job. Their employers may contest the workers' rights to pursue compensation because they doubt the veracity of the claims or may think that the injuries were not work-related or that the employee is malingering.

However, employees have rights in these situations, too. If a claim goes unanswered or is denied, the first step is to call the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court toll-free at 800-599-5155, or at 402-471-6468. Public information specialists can then discuss the specifics of the matter with the worker and help him or her resolve the situation. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to refer workers to others for additional assistance, as court staff cannot provide legal advice or opinions.

It's also possible to resolve workers' compensation claims by requesting informal dispute resolution. This can be issue-specific or involve an entire case resolution with no formal hearing. To attempt neutral mediation through third parties, a written request for informal dispute resolution can be submitted to the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court Mediation Coordinator.

Workers can also file lawsuits with Nebraska's Workers' Compensation Court. The forms are on file with the Clerk of Court, and workers are free to hire legal counsel to represent them, or to be their own representatives. Petitions have to be filed within two years from the date of the injury, incident or date of the last compensation payment. Otherwise, statutory limitations may bar further claims for compensation.

If you choose not to have an attorney represent you, no other person may represent you other than yourself. You also will have to uphold the same legal standards as those with attorneys.

Source: Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court, "Employee Frequently Asked Questions," accessed Oct. 07, 2016

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