The Nebraska Supreme Court held that illegal aliens are covered under the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act. An award of permanent total disability is not precluded by a claimant's illegal status, even if they choose to stay in the US illegally. A prior case held that vocational rehabilitation could not be awarded to a claimant who was not authorized to work in the US yet intended to stay. However, the Court distinguished indemnity from vocational rehabilitation benefits, noting that there is no statutory priority that must be satisfied regarding ability to return to work as a predicate to an award of indemnity, as there is for vocational rehabilitation. The Court also reasoned that denying indemnity to illegal aliens would give an unfair advantage to employers who broke the law by employing the injured worker, because they would not have to pay indemnity. Finally, the Court upheld the finding that claimant's right foot injury (with CRPS) caused injury to his back, and thus he sustained a body as a whole injury. The Court noted that older cases on the issue hinted that there must be some extraordinary circumstance for such a finding. However the recent trend is to allow a finding of injury to the body when the effects of the member injury extend beyond the member itself, if expert opinion supports the claim.
Moyera v. Quality Pork International, 284 Neb. 963 (2013).