Nebraska is a state that exemplifies excellence. It demonstrates how a summary proceeding, based on the legislative intent of a social remedial system, can enhance the Workers' Compensation Act. It is a jurisdiction that moves expeditiously to resolve cases as amicably as possible within the litigation framework.
|(L) Rod Rehm of the Nebraska Bar & (R) Jon L Gelman|
Last evening I had dinner with Rod Rehm, a long-time friend, on the eve of his presentation before the Workplace Injury Litigation Group's annual continuing legal education seminar. Rod is an expert in workers' compensation law and senior partner of the Law Firm of Rehm, Bennett & Moore of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Our discussion focused on why the Nebraska workers' compensation system functions so efficiently for the benefit of all parties and stakeholders. It boils down to the fact that even though the system is fine-tuned for adjudication by way of trial, the litigation system is supplemented by a complementary process of medication and settlement.
The Nebraska bench and bar are knowledgeable and can focus in on the legal issues quickly. That skill set permits the stakeholders to utilize a mediation process and judicial settlement process that moves cases along swiftly and greatly reduces the need for judicial intervention through adjudication by trial in a majority of the matters. The professional ability of the parties allows for resolution of some matters by release alone, and circumvents the need for judicial review. Since 2009 Nebraska has allowed for settlements without judicial review.
Nebraska's effort to move cases along expeditiously is a model for other jurisdictions to follow. It is a tribute to the professional excellence of all the parties and a benefit to injured workers', their employers and the insurance industry. Most importantly it demonstrates that when the Bench has the confidence that the parties have achieved a level of professional excellence, the system can function more expeditiously. Nebraska is a model of efficiency built on excellence.
Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters).