All Nebraska employers with one or more employees, full-time or part-time, are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. This policy covers the cost of medical treatment for work-related injuries.
Nebraska imposes strict workers’ compensation insurance rules on employers doing business there. Unless otherwise excluded, employers with one or more employees are required to provide insurance.
The law applies to virtually all employees, including those:
A limited number of employee types are exempt from coverage. They include:
Household domestic servants and some workers in agriculture are also exempt but can be covered at the employer’s discretion.
In Nebraska, employees must file a workers’ comp claim within two years from the injury or illness date.
It depends on the type of business you operate. Here’s how the rules of the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court work:
Sole proprietors, partners, and LLC members are exempt from buying workers’ comp insurance for themselves. However, they may purchase coverage if desired. This can be a smart decision since health insurance providers can deny claims for work-related injuries.
Executive officers of state corporations who hold 25% or more of their firm’s common stock aren’t considered employees and thus are exempt from workers’ comp coverage. Executive officers who want to elect workers’ comp protection must notify their insurance company and inform the entity’s corporate secretary.
Executive officers of nonprofit corporations in the state who earn $1,000 or less from their work for the corporation are also exempt.
Nebraska employers are not required to provide workers’ comp for independent contractors.
However, it’s important to make sure independent contractors are properly classified. While the Nebraska workers' comp statute does not define “independent contractor,” case law offers several factors to consider when making this determination on a case-by-case basis.
Furthermore, the Nebraska Supreme Court applies a 10-factor test, with no single factor being determinative.
To save money on workers' comp, it's important to make sure you classify your employees correctly. Employees with desk jobs or other jobs with a low risk of injury cost less to insure. This also helps you avoid misclassification fines.
In some cases, small business owners can choose to buy pay-as-you-go workers' compensation. This type of workers' comp policy has a low upfront premium, and lets you make payments based on your actual payroll instead of estimated payroll. It's useful for businesses that hire seasonal help or have fluctuating numbers of employees.
Finally, a documented safety program can help lower workers' comp costs. A safer workplace means fewer accidents, which helps keep your premium low.
Workers' compensation helps cover medical expenses related to workplace injuries and occupational diseases. It can pay for doctor's appointments, medications, and all other medical care related to the injury.
It also provides partial wages while an injured worker recovers, usually equal to two-thirds of their average weekly wage.
Workers' compensation benefits in Nebraska include:
Policies usually include employer's liability insurance, which pays for legal expenses if an employee blames their employer for an injury. However, under the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act, an employee forfeits their right to sue their employer over an injury or disease once they accept benefits.
For details, read the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court's FAQ for employers.
Nebraska business owners can compare quotes and purchase a policy from private insurance companies. Insureon offers this service with its online insurance marketplace.
If your firm’s high-risk status makes it impossible to purchase workers’ comp insurance through the voluntary market mentioned above, you can purchase coverage from the Nebraska assigned risk pool. Travelers Indemnity Company manages Nebraska’s Assigned Risk Plan, serving as the state’s workers’ comp provider of last resort.
The final way to secure workers’ compensation insurance is to self-insure your workers’ comp claims. This means your company will pay for its own workers’ comp claims rather than submit them to an insurance company.
To become self-insured, you must first file an application with the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court. Once approved, a self-insurer must submit a surety bond and evidence of having excess insurance with the Workers’ Compensation Court.
The State of Nebraska takes workers’ compensation seriously. If you fail to comply with the law, you may face one or more of the following penalties:
Also, an injured employee may sue you for damages in district court, an action in which the employer will lose its common law defenses.
If a worker’s injury results in a wrongful death, the surviving spouse will receive two-thirds of the worker’s former pay until the spouse gets remarried. Surviving children are also entitled to a death benefit.
In addition, the worker’s family may receive $6,000 to cover funeral expenses.
In Nebraska, many workers’ comp claims end in settlements. This means the parties involved in the case – the injured employee, the company, and the insurer – must agree on a lump-sum payment amount. In exchange, the employee (or the employee’s survivors) must agree to the insurer stopping future benefit payments.
Employees who wish to enter into an agreement to take a lump-sum payment in lieu of future benefits must file an application with the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court.
If you are ready to explore workers’ comp options for your Nebraska business, start a free online application today to compare quotes from top-rated insurance carriers.