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In almost every U.S. state, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have a certain number of employees. If you’re a business owner in Nebraska, you must carry workers’ comp insurance if you have at least one employee. Like most states, Nebraska specifies a few employee types that are exempt from compulsory coverage.
In this article, we’ll go over who you need to cover, who is exempt, and possible penalties for non-compliance.
How does workers’ compensation insurance in Nebraska work?
The state of Nebraska requires you to carry workers’ compensation insurance as soon as you have one employee. You can purchase coverage via the private market through either a licensed insurance broker or directly through an insurance company.
If your company is considered high-risk, you might struggle to find insurance through the private market. Thankfully, most states have a high-risk pool to service such employers. In Nebraska, there is the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Insurance Plan.
Some larger employers can also qualify to become self-insurers. To become a self-insurer, a company must periodically submit proof that it has the financial capability to handle injury claims from any and all of its employees.
Who needs workers’ compensation insurance in Nebraska?
Nearly every employee in Nebraska must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, with some exceptions. Employees who are exempt from mandatory coverage include:
- Domestic workers
- Agricultural workers
- Federal employees
- Railroad employees
- Independent contractors
- Sole proprietors
- Partners in partnerships
- Corporate officers who one more than 25% of their company’s stock
As a business owner or sole proprietor, you don’t have to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for yourself. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get coverage. Sustaining an injury or illness while performing your work can lead to sizable hospital bills, medical costs and a lengthy recovery period. Investing in workers’ comp for yourself could save you from a brutal financial setback.
What are the penalties for not having workers’ comp in Nebraska?
Skipping out on workers’ compensation coverage puts your company at serious risk. In Nebraska, you could be fined $1,000 each day if you’re caught without coverage. You could also end up facing jail time or having your business subject to mandatory closure. On top of that, if one of your employees gets injured on the job and you don’t have workers’ comp, you could be liable for all the expenses related to their injuries as well as any civil penalties.
Keep in mind that in Nebraska, most of these claims are subject to a 2-year statute of limitations; should any claims be filed afterwards, they’d be denied.
What does workers’ comp cover?
If one of your employees is injured or becomes ill on the job, workers’ comp can cover their immediate medical expenses such as ambulance rides, emergency room visits, x-rays, surgery and prescription medications.
For example, if a kitchen employee reaches into a sink and slices their hand on a broken glass, they might require medical attention. Workers’ comp could cover the costs of their emergency room visit, stitches and pain management prescriptions.
Many work-related incidents can leave employees unable to work for several weeks or months. Workers’ comp can provide some relief for employees in the form of partial wage replacement.
If an employee breaks their foot in a work-related accident, they could end up stuck at home for multiple months. While they’re out of work, workers’ comp would cover some of their lost wages.
Some work-related injuries require long-term care such as physical therapy or pain management. Often, these injuries are more the result of repetitive workplace stress rather than a single traumatic incident. Chronic back issues for construction workers and carpal tunnel syndrome for office employees are two common examples of the types of workers who might receive ongoing care due to repetitive stress. If their claim is approved, workers’ comp can cover the costs associated with their ongoing care.
If the unthinkable happens and an employee passes away because of a workplace incident, workers’ comp can cover funeral costs and other death benefits for the deceased worker’s family or beneficiaries.