Sunday, January 27, 2008

No intervention on appeal for insurer left out of worker compensation hearing loss case. Employee won permanent total disability from his employer in the Nebraska worker compensation court but he appealed to the review panel to back-date his date of disability. One of the employer's worker compensation insurers discovered after the award that it would be responsible for the award and petitioned to intervene in the appeal. Nebraska Supreme Court holds that although 48-161(1) permits the worker compensation court to determine coverage issues, it is not required to resolve them. The worker compensation court review panel did not err when it refused to permit the left-out insurer from defending itself during the review proceedings. Risor v. Nebraska Boiler, S-07-269, 274 Neb. 906. "(Worker compensation) proceedings are designed to furnish summary and speedy (hearings) for the particular purpose of compensating an injured employee. While, under § 48-161, the compensation court may determine the existence of insurance, such jurisdiction is not exclusive. We agree that joining an insurer and deciding coverage disputes may hinder rather than further the beneficent purposes of the Act. As such, § 48-161 does not authorize post-award intervention when the employee has chosen to bring a claim against the employer alone. " The omitted insurer likewise did not suffer a failure of procedural due process from the fact that (omitted insurer) was not notified of (injured worker’s) action against Nebraska Boiler and was not made a party to the proceedings before the review panel

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