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An injury causing an amputation doesn't have to end your career

Have you witnessed a workplace accident in which a co-worker lost a body part? Along with the trauma that such an incident can cause a victim and any witnesses, it will naturally raise concern about how you will cope should you lose a leg, arm or even just a finger. Imagine living without a thumb -- how many of your routine tasks at work and home require the use of your thumbs?

Fortunately, the Nebraska workers' compensation insurance system has your back. If you suffered an on-the-job injury that resulted in an amputation, you might be entitled to receive vocational rehabilitation -- regardless of who was at fault.

What is vocational rehabilitation?

You may be familiar with physical rehabilitation, which helps workers to regain functionality after severe muscle injuries or fractured bones. However, vocational rehabilitation will aim to prepare you for an entirely new career. It will teach you additional skills that will accommodate your physical limitations that followed your catastrophic workplace injury.

What will the process entail?

Vocational rehabilitation will not only teach you valuable skills to allow you to continue earning an income and taking care of your loved ones. Along with the skills training, you may receive many of these additional services:

  • Testing and analyzing of your existing skills and analyzing to determine how transferable they could be
  • Surveying of the labor market
  • Examining different job types
  • Assistance with searching for a job
  • Assistance with drafting a resume and completing employment applications
  • Teaching of interview techniques and skills
  • Evaluating and assessing potential wages
  • Assessing ergonomics of potential workplace environments
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Reasonable accommodation assistance by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The insurer and your employer will carry the costs of the initial evaluation and assessment to determine the need and suitability for vocational rehabilitation along with temporary disability benefits. However, to receive the compensation, you must continue to participate in the program. The Workers' Compensation Trust Fund typically pays for the actual rehabilitation. 

Who is eligible?

Under the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act, any employee who suffers an injury that prevents him or her from returning to an occupation for which he or she received training or has work experience is entitled to vocational rehabilitation. However, if your employer does not offer such a program, you will have to request it.

To ease the process, you might choose to seek the support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney. Having a legal representative to navigate the administrative and legal aspects of your benefits claim can be a significant asset. Your knowledgeable attorney can ensure you receive the benefits that will enable you to earn an income and support your family despite your physical limitations.

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