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Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Injury Compensation in Oregon

Not all injuries at work are the same, so it makes sense that some claims might require a lawyer and others you can handle on your own. Injury compensation in Oregon isn’t always straightforward, so it pays to understand your position if you have an accident on the job.

You Can Probably Represent Yourself If:

Your workplace injury is minor, like a twisted ankle or cut that needed stitches.
Your employer acknowledges the injury occurred at work.
Your injury didn’t cause you to lose much or any time at work.
There is no pre-existing condition associated with the same part of your body as the recent workplace incident.

Even in these cases, if the situation becomes more complex, it is best to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

You Need to Hire a Lawyer If:

Your employer denies your claim or doesn’t pay benefits promptly.
Your settlement doesn’t cover lost wages or medical care under workers’ compensation.
Your work-related injuries prevent you from returning to your job, limit what work you can do, or prevent you from finding any other employment.
You receive or plan to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
Your boss retaliates against you for filing a claim.
Your injuries are because of a third party’s actions or employer misconduct.

A lawyer will understand the law and how it affects your case. Never hesitate to call an attorney for assistance to protect your rights as an injured employee.

How a Worker’s Compensation Attorney Gets Paid

Worker’s Compensation Attorney in Oregon

It is no secret that the fees associated with hiring a lawyer can add up quickly. However, when you must file a workers’ compensation claim or your claim is denied, it may be worrying to consider the cost. Fortunately for the injured party, a workers’ compensation attorney in Oregon only gets paid if their efforts are instrumental in a successful benefits case.

Investigative Responsibilities

An attorney will investigate denied claims, meet with the client, talk to witnesses, and acquire medical records or opinions. A workers’ compensation attorney may also attend a hearing with their client or file appeals. Their efforts are only considered instrumental if they get a denial set aside or an increase in benefits for their client.

A Fee for Successful Legal Services

If the result is a denied benefit granted or a denied claim overturned, the insurance company is ordered to pay an assessed fee. Should the injured and the insurance company come to an agreement, the workers’ compensation practice will get a percentage of the settlement.

The advantage to this system is that if you are injured at work and file a claim requiring legal assistance, you don’t have to worry about paying a fee upfront and can concentrate on healing from your accident.

What Qualifies as an “On the Job” Injury for Injury Compensation

Injury Compensation In Oregon

When it comes to injury compensation in Oregon, you might be wondering what counts and what doesn’t count. In basic terms, workplace injuries are those that result from performing the normal activities or duties of the job. Some of the most common causes of these injuries include:

Slips & Falls – This can include an employee sliding on ice outside of your office or slipping on a wet floor.

Improper Lifting Technique – This can cause an immediate injury or a repetitive stress injury, such as tendinitis.

Car Accident – If your employee drives for business purposes, an accident would be considered an on-the-job injury.

While all of these are common ways an employee can get injured at work, those workplace injuries can vary from industry to industry. For example, a construction employee’s threats are quite different from the types of accidents someone working at an accounting firm might experience.

What Does Not Qualify

Injuries can happen anywhere and at any time. If your employee was injured off the job, then workers’ compensation insurance will not provide them with benefits. To qualify for workers’ comp benefits, your employee must receive the injury while doing their job. Outside-of-work injuries will usually be covered by the employee’s health insurance.

What to Do If an Employee Experiences Work-Related Injuries

Work-Related Injuries in OregonInjuries can happen at any job site—no matter what type of work you do. This creates a stressful moment for everybody involved, leading to mistakes happening. This is what you should do if an employee experiences work-related injuries in Oregon. The first step is to remain calm. Next, follow these steps to make sure you do what is best for your employee and your company:

Act Fast – When an employee needs immediate medical attention, your top priority is to help them get it. Call 911 in emergency situations or get an ambulance to take them to the hospital.

Follow All Occupational Safety & Health Administration Recommendations – OSHA requires employers to notify the agency when severe work-related injuries occur. Hospitalizations, eye loss, or amputations need to be reported within 24 hours, while employee deaths must be reported within eight hours.

Review Your Emergency Plan – Follow all of the steps outlined in your company’s personal plan for work-related injuries. If you don’t already have one; now is the time to consider creating one as it can make a big difference when an emergency does occur.

Move Employees to a Safe Place – Move any other employees in the area to a safe place to reduce the risk of additional injured workers.

Review the Situation – Determine how severe the injury is and what caused it. This will help you determine if injury compensation will be needed.

Get Information, Evidence, & Photos – Document the injury with photos—even if they say they are fine. You will want as much information as possible in case they file a claim in the future.

Maintain Open, Honest Communication – Be transparent with your employee and the insurance company as you go through the workers’ compensation claim process.

What Are Vocational Rehabilitation Services for Veterans?

Workers’ Compensation Benefits In Oregon

In addition to the federal benefits available to eligible U.S. military veterans, the state of Oregon also offers additional benefits to the more than 320,000 veterans that make their homes there. Some of these include vocational rehabilitation services.

Vocational rehabilitation is a training process designed to help disabled individuals gain, maintain, or return to employment. It can be a part of workers’ compensation benefits in Oregon for work-related injuries or a freestanding program tailored to specific populations—like veterans.

Veteran Readiness, Priority of Service, and Outreach Programs

Oregon is proud to participate in the Veteran Readiness and Employment Service program through the VA. This program provides vocational rehabilitation services and other benefits to help transitioning service members and veterans with service-connected disabilities.

Furthermore, thanks to an Oregon law passed in 1977, public employers must grant preference to disabled veterans who apply to vacant civil service positions. To be eligible for this preference, applicants must successfully clear an initial screening, pass any applicable tests, and meet the qualifications for the job. Veterans may also qualify for Priority of Service in employment and training services through WorkSource Oregon.

In addition to injury compensation, service-disabled veterans may also take advantage of Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Programs (DVOPs) for assistance with applying to jobs in the public and private sector. DVOPs operate in over 20 Oregon cities.

Who Decides If You Get Workers Compensation Benefits in Oregon?

Workers’ Compensation Benefits In Oregon

When a claim is filed, the compensation decision is initially made by the insurer. Their duty is to determine whether the injury or illness qualifies within their systems. It is important to note that workers’ compensation benefits in Oregon operate on a no-fault system. That means that compensation does not depend on determining that the employer was negligent, which facilitates prompt payout.

However, sometimes a claim may be complicated and thus contested. When that occurs, the person may retain a workers’ compensation attorney to argue their case. Ultimately, decisions are reported to Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS).

Claims Processing and Reporting to DCBS

Within 60 days of learning about the claim, the insurer must accept or deny the claim and classify it as permanent disability, temporary, or non-disabling. If the claim is accepted, temporary disability payments (if any) will be paid out at 14-day intervals for as long as the attending physician verifies the worker’s inability to work or until claim closure for disabling cases. Within 30 days of the notice of closure, the insurer must begin paying injury compensation for either permanent partial, permanent total disability, or death benefits.

All accepted disabling claims and all denied work-related injury claims must be reported to the DCBS’ Workers’ Compensation Division within 14 days of the decision. Insurers are not required to report non-disabling claims.

Can I Get Permanent Disability Benefits After a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Permanent Disability in Oregon

The workplace injury you suffered could permanently affect your ability to return to your job. Determining whether that is the case is up to several factors. To receive permanent disability in Oregon, you must meet specific eligibility requirements:

Your employer must offer workers’ compensation insurance
You must be an eligible employee
Your injury or illness is work-related and covered by workers’ compensation
You must file your claim according to state procedures and deadlines
You must follow the state’s rules for medical care under a workers’ compensation doctor

A Definition of Permanent Disability

Your permanent disability benefits won’t apply until your doctor declares you’ve hit a plateau in your recovery. Once you reach this point, your treating doctor will determine whether you have a lasting medical condition directly related to your work-related injury or illness. Based on your disability rating, your temporary benefits will cease, and your permanent disability benefits will begin.

Permanent Disability Rating

Workers’ compensation benefits assess a permanent disability according to its seriousness, and you may receive partial or complete benefits based on the rating. A lost finger will have a different rating than total blindness. Individuals with lower ratings can benefit from vocational rehabilitation services that allow them to work within the same job or change occupations if they desire.

If you need to dispute any aspect of your disability rating, assessment, or benefits, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney to protect your rights and ensure a fair outcome.

How Has COVID-19 Changed Workers’ Compensation?

Workers Compensation in Portland, OR

Calculating the impact of COVID-19 on workers has proven challenging. Concerns surrounding the exposure risk and incidence of contracting the virus have made determining workers’ compensation benefits difficult.

Several factors contribute to claims for workers’ compensation in Portland, OR. The complications surrounding proof of COVID-19 exposure at work can make claims far more complex than a typical case.

While it is possible to submit a claim for loss of work due to exposure to or being diagnosed with COVID-19, the laws surrounding the benefits continue to evolve. If you submit a first-time workers’ compensation claim due to exposure to or diagnosis of COVID-19, it’s best to speak to an attorney. They will have the most current information on benefits regarding the virus.

Limited Benefits for Vaccine Side Effects

It’s also important to note that vaccine side effects typically have limited employer liability, although they may still offer coverage.

The primary side effects include:

Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
Tiredness
Headache
Muscle pain
Chills
Fever
Nausea

While employers may be liable for workers’ compensation for these side effects, it should not stop them from mandating vaccination protocols within their organization. If an employer has any questions about their liability and responsibility, they should speak to a workers’ compensation attorney.

Is It Worth Getting a Worker’s Compensation Attorney in Oregon?

workers’ compensation attorney in oregon

If your worker’s compensation claim is in question, the answer is to always hire a lawyer. A worker’s compensation attorney in Oregon can help protect your health, income, and future. Minor injuries likely don’t need a lawyer’s intervention, especially if the incident was straightforward and you can return to work after a short period.

Complicated Matters

However, some accidents require a more in-depth analysis of the incident, a longer leave of absence, or extensive medical treatment. When the situation is complicated and a larger amount of money is involved, it’s a good idea to access legal services.

The primary reasons you would consider hiring a worker’s compensation attorney include:

Insurance Denies Your Claim
A Permanent Disability Rating Dispute
Pre-Existing Conditions
Trouble Getting Treatment
Worker’s Compensation Hearing Representative

The Coverage You Need

Worker’s compensation benefits are there to protect you. They can cover your income and medical bills, both of which can add up quickly. As soon as you experience an injury at work, start the process of securing your coverage for any related expenses. If you are filing a first-time worker’s compensation claim, are not familiar with the process, or have a lot of documentation, hiring a lawyer is a wise decision.

Coverage of Medical Care Under Worker’s Compensation in Oregon

medical care under workers’ compensation in oregon

Your on-the-job injury or illness is a stressful event in your life, but you can find financial support with worker’s compensation. As soon as you experience a workplace injury, it’s essential to file a report and start the claim process.

Expenses Related to Medical Care

Medical care under worker’s compensation means Oregon employees with appropriate coverage do not have to worry about health care bills related to the injury. These bills can include prescription medications, hospital stays, transportation, meals, lodging, and other expenses up to an established maximum rate.

Your Doctor’s Approval

It’s not just a case of submitting the bills for your medical expenses. Your doctor or practitioner must sign off that the injury was related to your work, and you must file the claims appropriately. The payments will continue until the injury is healed or you are deemed medically unable to return to your job due to a permanent disability. If that occurs, you would be entitled to the permanent disability benefit.

Legal Guidance

Worker’s compensation is complex, so although you may represent yourself, hiring an attorney experienced in the field is a good idea. From establishing employer liability to disputing denied claims, your worker’s compensation attorney is your best advocate during this challenging time in your life.