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48-139. Compensation; lump-sum settlement; submitted to Nebraska
Workers' Compensation Court; procedure; filing of release; form;
contents; payment; fees.
(1)(a) Whenever an injured employee or his or her dependents and the
employer agree that the amounts of compensation due as periodic
payments for death, permanent disability, or claimed permanent
disability under the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act shall be
commuted to one or more lump-sum payments, such settlement shall be
submitted to the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court for approval as
provided in subsection (2) of this section if:
(i) The employee is not represented by counsel;
(ii) The employee, at the time the settlement is executed, is
eligible for medicare, is a medicare beneficiary, or has a reasonable
expectation of becoming eligible for medicare within thirty months
after the date the settlement is executed;
(iii) Medical, surgical, or hospital expenses incurred for treatment
of the injury have been paid by medicaid and medicaid will not be
reimbursed as part of the settlement;
(iv) Medical, surgical, or hospital expenses incurred for treatment
of the injury will not be fully paid as part of the settlement; or
(v) The settlement seeks to commute amounts of compensation due to
dependents of the employee.
(b) If such lump-sum settlement is not required to be submitted for
approval by the compensation court, a release shall be filed with the
compensation court as provided in subsection (3) of this section.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to increase the
compensation court's duties or authority with respect to the approval
of lump-sum settlements under the act.
(2)(a) An application for an order approving a lump-sum settlement,
signed and verified by both parties, shall be filed with the clerk of
the compensation court and shall be entitled the same as an action by
such employee or dependents against such employer. The application
shall contain a concise statement of the terms of the settlement or
agreement sought to be approved with a brief statement of the facts
concerning the injury, the nature thereof, the wages received by the
injured employee prior thereto, the nature of the employment, and
such other matters as may be required by the compensation court. The
application may provide for payment of future medical, surgical, or
hospital expenses incurred by the employee. The compensation court
may hold a hearing on the application at a time and place selected by
the compensation court, and proof may be adduced and witnesses
subpoenaed and examined the same as in an action in equity.
(b) If the compensation court finds such lump-sum settlement is made
in conformity with the compensation schedule and for the best
interests of the employee or his or her dependents under all the
circumstances, the compensation court shall make an order approving
the same. If such settlement is not approved, the compensation court
may dismiss the application at the cost of the employer or continue
the hearing, in the discretion of the compensation court.
(c) Every such lump-sum settlement approved by order of the
compensation court shall be final and conclusive unless procured by
fraud. Upon paying the amount approved by the compensation court, the
employer (i) shall be discharged from further liability on account of
the injury or death, other than liability for the payment of future
medical, surgical, or hospital expenses if such liability is approved
by the compensation court on the application of the parties, and (ii)
shall be entitled to a duly executed release. Upon filing the
release, the liability of the employer under any agreement, award,
finding, or decree shall be discharged of record.
(3) If such lump-sum settlement is not required to be submitted for
approval by the compensation court, a release shall be filed with the
compensation court in accordance with this subsection that is signed
and verified by the employee and the employee's attorney. The release
shall be made on a form approved by the compensation court and shall
contain a statement signed and verified by the employee that:
(a) The employee understands and waives all rights under the
Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act, including, but not limited to:
(i) The right to receive weekly disability benefits, both temporary
(ii) The right to receive vocational rehabilitation services;
(iii) The right to receive future medical, surgical, and hospital
services as provided in section 48-120, unless such services are
specifically excluded from the release; and
(iv) The right to ask a judge of the compensation court to decide
the parties' rights and obligations;
(b) The employee is not eligible for medicare, is not a current
medicare beneficiary, and does not have a reasonable expectation of
becoming eligible for medicare within thirty months after the date
the settlement is executed;
(c) There are no medical, surgical, or hospital expenses incurred
for treatment of the injury which have been paid by medicaid and not
reimbursed to medicaid by the employer as part of the settlement; and
(d) There are no medical, surgical, or hospital expenses incurred
for treatment of the injury that will remain unpaid after the
(4) A release filed with the compensation court in accordance with
subsection (3) of this section shall be final and conclusive as to
all rights waived in the release unless procured by fraud. Amounts to
be paid by the employer to the employee pursuant to such release
shall be paid within thirty days of filing the release with the
compensation court. Fifty percent shall be added for payments owed to
the employee if made after thirty days after the date the release is
filed with the compensation court. Upon making payment owed by the
employer as set forth in the release, such release shall be a full
and complete discharge from further liability for the employer on
account of the injury, including future medical, surgical, or
hospital expenses, unless such expenses are specifically excluded
from the release, and the court shall enter an order of dismissal
with prejudice as to all rights waived in the release.
(5) The fees of the clerk of the compensation court for filing,
docketing, and indexing an application for an order approving a lump-
sum settlement or filing a release as provided in this section shall
be fifteen dollars. The fees shall be remitted by the clerk to the
State Treasurer for credit to the Compensation Court Cash Fund.
Laws 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;
Laws 2014, LB961, § 11.
Operative Date: July 18, 2014
Where 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
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).
In order to achieve a modification of a lump-sum payment that has
been approved by court order pursuant to this section on the ground
of increased or decreased incapacity, a party must make an
application on the ground of increase or decrease of incapacity due
solely to the injury. Hubbart v. Hormel Foods Corp., 15 Neb. App.
129, 723 N.W.2d 350 (2006).
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).