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Workers' compensation court exceeds authority, says appeals court

The workers' compensation court has limited authority that is expressed in a statute, and it may not exceed those powers. With the support of counsel, an Iowa man recently challenged the compensation court in a neighboring state alleging it exceeded its powers and acted without authority. The case relates to a claim filed by the worker who contends he suffered a workplace injury on Oct. 7, 2013.

Claiming disability benefits, the application was filed in Nebraska where the alleged injury occurred. The employer denied responsibility and entered a counterclaim. Upon advice from his legal counsel, the worker requested dismissal of the claim without prejudice, with the intention to file it in Iowa. Although the compensation court dismissed the claim, it proceeded to trial with the defendant's counterclaim.

The employer filed a motion to compel in the Nebraska court, and the plaintiff opposed that motion. When the Nebraska court proceeded to trial, the plaintiff's counsel filed an appeal. Ultimately, the appeals court concluded that the compensation court did not have the authority to continue litigating a case that was dismissed without prejudice.

In complicated cases like this one, it may be advisable for injured workers to utilize the skills of an experienced workers' compensation attorney. This employee sought the support and guidance of the seasoned attorneys at the Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann, P.C. in Iowa. While the case in Iowa is still pending, the outcome may prove to be much better than it would have been had the case been concluded in Nebraska.

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