State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Nebraska > Chapter48 > 48-139

48-139. Compensation;lump-sum settlement; submitted to Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court; procedure;discharge of employer liability; filingof release; form; contents; fees.(1)(a) Whenever an injuredemployee or his or her dependents and the employer agree that the amountsof compensation due as periodic payments for death, permanent disability,or claimed permanent disability under the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Actshall be commuted to one or more lump-sum payments, such settlement shallbe submitted to the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court for approval as provided in subsection (2) of this sectionif:(i) The employeeis not represented by counsel;(ii) The employee, at the time the settlementis executed, is eligible for medicare, is a medicare beneficiary, or has areasonable expectation of becoming eligible for medicare within thirty monthsafter the date the settlement is executed;(iii) Medical, surgical, or hospital expensesincurred for treatment of the injury have been paid by medicaid and medicaidwill not be reimbursed as part of the settlement;(iv) Medical, surgical,or hospital expenses incurred for treatment of the injury will not be fullypaid as part of the settlement; or(v) The settlement seeks to commute amountsof compensation due to dependents of the employee.(b) If such lump-sumsettlement is not required to be submitted for approval by the compensationcourt, a release shall be filed with the compensation court as provided insubsection (3) of this section. Nothing in this section shall be construedto increase the compensation court's duties or authority with respect to theapproval of lump-sum settlements under the act.(2)(a) An application for an order approving a lump-sum settlement, signedand verified by both parties, shall be filed with the clerk of the compensation court and shallbe entitled the same as an action by such employee or dependents against suchemployer. The application shall contain a concise statement of the terms ofthe settlement or agreement sought to be approved with a brief statement ofthe facts concerning the injury, the nature thereof, the wages received bythe injured employee prior thereto, the nature of the employment, and suchother matters as may be required by the compensation court. The applicationmay provide for payment of future medical,surgical, or hospital expenses incurred by the employee. The compensationcourt may hold a hearing on the application at a time and place selected bythe compensation court, and proof may be adduced and witnesses subpoenaedand examined the same as in an action in equity.(b) Ifthe compensation court finds such lump-sum settlement is made in conformitywith the compensation schedule and for the best interests of the employeeor his or her dependents under all the circumstances, the compensation courtshall make an order approving the same. If such settlement is not approved, thecompensation court may dismiss the application at the cost of the employeror continue the hearing, in the discretion of the compensation court.(c) Everysuch lump-sum settlement approved by order of the compensation court shall befinal and conclusive unless procured by fraud. Upon paying the amount approvedby the compensation court, the employer (i) shall be discharged fromfurther liability on account of the injury or death, other than liabilityfor the payment of future medical,surgical, or hospital expenses if such liability is approved bythe compensation court on the application of the parties, and (ii) shallbe entitled to a duly executed release. Upon filing the release, the liability ofthe employer under any agreement, award, finding, or decree shall be dischargedof record.(3) If suchlump-sum settlement is not required to be submitted for approval by the compensationcourt, a release shall be filed with the compensation court in accordancewith this subsection that is signed and verified by the employee and the employee'sattorney. Such release shall be a full and complete discharge from furtherliability for the employer on account of the injury, including future medical,surgical, or hospital expenses, unless such expenses are specifically excludedfrom the release. The release shall be made on a form approved by the compensationcourt and shall contain a statement signed and verified by the employee that:(a) The employeeunderstands and waives all rights under the Nebraska Workers' CompensationAct, including, but not limited to:(i) The right to receive weekly disabilitybenefits, both temporary and permanent;(ii) The right to receive vocational rehabilitationservices;(iii) The right to receive future medical, surgical, and hospitalservices as provided in section 48-120, unless such services are specificallyexcluded from the release; and(iv) The right to ask a judge of the compensationcourt to decide the parties' rights and obligations;(b) The employee is noteligible for medicare, is not a current medicare beneficiary, and does nothave a reasonable expectation of becoming eligible for medicare within thirtymonths after the date the settlement is executed;(c) There are no medical,surgical, or hospital expenses incurred for treatment of the injury whichhave been paid by medicaid and not reimbursed to medicaid by the employeras part of the settlement; and(d) There are no medical, surgical, orhospital expenses incurred for treatment of the injury that will remain unpaidafter the settlement.(4) The fees of the clerk of the compensationcourt for filing, docketing, and indexing an application for an order approvinga lump-sum settlement or filing a release as provided in this section shallbe fifteen dollars. The fees shall be remitted by the clerk to the State Treasurerfor credit to the Compensation Court Cash Fund. SourceLaws 1917, c. 85, § 16, p. 212; Laws 1921, c. 122, § 1, p. 526; C.S.1922, § 3063; C.S.1929, § 48-140; Laws 1935, c. 57, § 25, p. 199; C.S.Supp.,1941, § 48-140; R.S.1943, § 48-139; Laws 1951, c. 153, § 1, p. 623; Laws 1975, LB 187, § 4; Laws 1977, LB 126, § 3; Laws 1978, LB 649, § 3; Laws 1986, LB 811, § 57; Laws 1993, LB 757, § 10; Laws 2002, LB 417, § 3; Laws 2009, LB630, § 6.AnnotationsWhere lump sum settlement is made and later application is made for further compensation for disability claimed not covered by settlement, burden of proof is on employee. Gooch Milling & Elevator Co. v. Warner, 127 Neb. 796, 257 N.W. 224 (1934).Where approved lump sum settlement, accepted by employee before death, was complete compensation, widow was not entitled to further award. Lincoln Packing Co. v. Coe, 120 Neb. 299, 232 N.W. 92 (1930).Final power to award lump sum settlement for employee's death or permanent disability rests with district court, subject to review. Jackson v. Ford Motor Co., 115 Neb. 758, 214 N.W. 631 (1927).In the approval of commutation of compensation, the public has an interest which it is the duty of the court to protect without regard to the wishes of the parties. Perry v. Huffman Auto. Co., 104 Neb. 211, 175 N.W. 1021 (1920).Lump sum settlements are authorized only in sound discretion of district court. Myers v. Armour & Co., 103 Neb. 407, 172 N.W. 45 (1919).Commutation cannot be ordered except with consent of both parties, but court must ratify. Pierce v. Boyer-Van Kuran Lumber & Coal Co., 99 Neb. 321, 156 N.W. 509 (1916); Bailey v. United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co., 99 Neb. 109, 155 N.W. 237 (1915).Lump-sum settlements in workers' compensation actions cannot be modified in the future or be considered when determining future workers' compensation awards, because such awards are "final." Dukes v. University of Nebraska, 12 Neb. App. 539, 679 N.W.2d 249 (2004).