An example of why some work comp settlements should be approved courts

Nebraska requires under Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-139 that all workers compensation settlements involving workers not represented by counsel be approved by the workers compensation court. Last week I came across an example of why this law is good policy.

I signed up a client who was injured in a roof collapse while doing demolition work at a local bar last Sunday. The employer drafted a “full satisfaction and release” of client’s work comp claim for $45 and for payment of my client’s emergency room visit the day of the accident. For an injured worker without health insurance the prospect of having not having potentially expensive ER treatment paid for is a powerful incentive not to pursue their rights under their jurisdiction’s workers compensation statute. Luckily for my client, this “agreement” is not valid so he can compensated to the full extent of the law for his work injuries. In my experience, this type of interference with the exercise of an injured employee’s right to workers compensation is not typical. Thankfully, Nebraska law recognizes that some employers will try to interfere with an injured workers right to compensation and provides procedural safeguards to prevent employer abuse.

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2 Comments to “An example of why some work comp settlements should be approved courts”

  1. I agree with you completely. Alabama requires workers compensation settlements to be court approved, regardless of whether the worker has legal counsel. In my practice, I have seen many situations like the one you describe where an injured workers without legal counsel was offered a settlement that completely failed to protect their rights. Far too many times, I have also seen an injured worker with legal counsel that clearly does not understand this area of the law and is only looking for a quick attorneys’ fee through a settlement.

    Keep up the good work! I look forward to reading your blog for more perspective on this area of the law from another jurisdiction.

  2. Thanks for the reply. Someone over the WILG listserv was looking for an Alabama comp attorney and I forwarded them your name

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