Workers' Compensation: Appeal and Error.
A judgment, order, or award of the Workers' Compensation
Court may be modified, reversed, or set aside only upon the
grounds that (1) the compensation court acted without or in
excess of its powers; (2) the judgment, order, or award was
procured by fraud; (3) there is not sufficient competent
evidence in the record to warrant the making of the order,
judgment, or award; or (4) the findings of fact by the
compensation court do not support the order or award.
___. On appellate review, the factual findings made by the
trial judge of the Workers' Compensation Court have the
effect of a jury verdict and will not be disturbed unless
Workers' Compensation: Statutes: Appeal and
Error. The meaning of a statute is a question of
law, and an appellate court is obligated in workers'
compensation cases to make its own determinations as to
questions of law.
Workers' Compensation. Whether an
injured worker is entitled to vocational rehabilitation is
ordinarily a question of fact to be determined by the
Workers' Compensation Court.
Workers' Compensation: Appeal and Error.
To determine whether findings of fact made by the
compensation court support an order granting or denying
vocational rehabilitation benefits, an appellate court must
consider the findings of fact in light of the statute
authorizing vocational rehabilitation benefits, Neb. Rev.
Stat. § 48-162.01 (Reissue 2010).
Workers' Compensation: Intent. A primary
purpose of the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act is
restoration of an injured employee to gainful employment.
Neb. 175] 7. Workers'
Compensation. When an injured employee is unable to
perform suitable work for which he or she has previous
training or experience, the employee is entitled to
vocational rehabilitation services as may be reasonably
necessary to restore him or her to suitable employment.
Workers' Compensation: Words and
Phrases. Suitable employment is employment which is
compatible with the employee's preinjury occupation, age,
education, and aptitude.
Workers' Compensation. The Nebraska
Workers' Compensation Act is construed liberally to carry
out its spirit and beneficent purposes.
from the Workers' Compensation Court: Laureen K. Van
Norman, Judge. Affirmed.
Moses and Patrick J. Sodoro, of Law Office of Patrick J.
Sodoro, L.L.C., for appellant.
P. Crawford, of Crawford Law Offices, PC, L.L.O., for
appellee Charles Anderson.
Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and LorraT.
O'Banion for appellee State of Nebraska, Workers'
Compensation Trust Fund.
Heavican, C.J., Wright, Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Kelch,
and Funke, JJ.
Workers' Compensation Court awarded an injured employee
unspecified vocational rehabilitation. A counselor
recommended formal training, but the court's
rehabilitation specialist "denied" the plan. The
employer petitioned to eliminate the requirement, and the
employee moved for plan approval. The court granted approval
and denied elimination. The employer appeals. Because
competent evidence in the record supported the court's
factual findings in light of [298 Neb. 176] the statutory
goal to return an injured employee to "suitable
employment, " we affirm the compensation court's
circumstances leading to the initial award of unspecified
vocational rehabilitation services were largely undisputed.
Charles Anderson sought workers' compensation benefits
due to an injury to his upper right extremity. He sustained
the injury in the course of his employment as a millwright
with EMCOR Group, Inc. (EMCOR). At that time, Anderson earned
an hourly wage of $26.50 and an average weekly wage of $1,
060. In the initial award, the compensation court expressly
stated that it was making no determination as to entitlement
to vocational rehabilitation services. After Anderson reached
maximum medical improvement, the court entered a further
award determining that Anderson was entitled to a vocational
Rehabilitation Counselor Opinions
employee claims entitlement to vocational rehabilitation
services, the employee and the employer or the employer's
insurer shall attempt to agree on the choice of a vocational
rehabilitation counselor. The parties agreed upon Lisa
Porter, who prepared a "Vocational ...