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48-128. Compensation; injury increasing disability; second injury; additional compensation; claim.
(1) For injuries occurring before December 1, 1997:
(a) If an employee who has a preexisting permanent partial disability whether from compensable injury or otherwise, which is or is likely to be a hindrance or obstacle to his or her obtaining employment or obtaining reemployment if the employee should become unemployed and which was known to the employer prior to the occurrence of a subsequent compensable injury, receives a subsequent compensable injury resulting in additional permanent partial or in permanent total disability so that the degree or percentage of disability caused by the combined disabilities is substantially greater than that which would have resulted from the last injury, considered alone and of itself, and if the employee is entitled to receive compensation on the basis of the combined disabilities, the employer at the time of the last injury shall be liable only for the degree or percentage of disability which would have resulted from the last injury had there been no preexisting disability. For the additional disability, the employee shall be compensated out of the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund. If the subsequent compensable injury of such an employee shall result in the death of the employee and it shall be determined that the death would not have occurred except for such preexisting permanent partial disability, the employer shall pay the compensation benefits prescribed by this subsection for a period not exceeding three hundred twenty-five weeks, and for any compensation benefits payable after such period of three hundred twenty-five weeks, the dependents shall be compensated out of the fund.
(b) In order to qualify under this subsection, the employer must establish by written records that the employer had knowledge of the preexisting permanent partial disability at the time that the employee was hired or at the time the employee was retained in employment after the employer acquired such knowledge.
(c) As used in this subsection, preexisting permanent partial disability shall mean any preexisting permanent condition, whether congenital or the result of injury or disease, of such seriousness as to constitute a hindrance or obstacle to obtaining employment or to obtaining reemployment if the employee should become unemployed. No condition shall be considered a preexisting permanent partial disability under this subsection unless it would support a rating of twenty-five percent loss of earning power or more or support a rating which would result in compensation payable for a period of ninety weeks or more for disability for permanent injury as computed under subdivision (3) of section 48-121.
(2) Any money in the Second Injury Fund on July 1, 2000, shall be transferred to the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund.