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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
A work-related injury can change your life. Whether it’s a permanent or temporary disability, you need to know whether you will be able to work again and if your employer will hold your job. While worker’s compensation can help with benefits like wage loss and vocational rehabilitation, chances are you would like to return to work.
Review the ADA Criteria
Although you may be worried about job loss, there are protections in place to mitigate the risk for work-related injuries in Oregon. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that employers make reasonable accommodations before firing an employee who cannot work due to an injury. Whether you experienced hearing loss or a knee injury, your employer has a responsibility to uphold. Modified schedules, special equipment, and restructuring the job description are all examples of accommodations.
Speak to an Attorney
If you suspect that your employer is not meeting the ADA criteria for your return to work, reach out to a workers’ compensation attorney. They will be able to determine if the employer is violating your rights and review your options. If you have been terminated as a direct result of your injuries, you may be eligible for damages from your former employer.
You have suffered enough with a work-related injury; you should not have to worry about losing your livelihood too.
Workers’ compensation in Portland, OR, covers most work-related injuries. However, there are some exceptions. It is a good idea to be aware of on-the-job actions that can void your workers’ compensation benefits.
They can include:
Workers’ compensation insurance policies do not cover illegal activities on the job.
Company policy, procedure, and protocol violations mean an employee cannot benefit from workers’ compensation.
Intoxication or Illegal Substance Use
When Illegal substance use or intoxication is the sole cause of the injury, it is generally not covered.
Any acts considered horseplay and not within the scope of the job would not be covered. However, if an employee not involved in the horseplay is injured, that person may be eligible for medical and wage loss benefits.
Driving to/from Work
Although it would be nice, your commute is not covered by workers’ compensation because it is not during the course of your work.
An intentional act that causes a workplace injury or illness is not covered.
If you have been laid off or terminated, coverage will not apply unless the injury predates the job loss.
No matter what the circumstances, it is always best to speak to a lawyer to ensure you get the coverage you deserve.
The first hurdle you will face with worker’s compensation claims is the work-related requirement. You must prove that the injury or illness was connected to your job. Benefits for medical care under worker’s compensation in Oregon only apply with proof of on-the-job injury.
Covered injuries can include:
Illnesses and diseases employees develop on the job are generally covered. Black lung from coal mining, asbestos exposure, and COVID-19 are all potential claims.
If you contracted COVID-19 or were exposed at work, you might be eligible for benefits. You would have to prove that your job presented a special risk beyond that of the general public.
Repetitive Motion & Overuse Injuries
Repeatedly performing the same physical tasks can result in strains and injuries. Worker’s compensation benefits typically cover them, but you will need to provide evidence.
Pre-existing conditions don’t automatically mean your injury is not covered. If your work aggravates the condition, you may be eligible for worker’s compensation.
Several jobs can damage hearing and benefits often cover deafness attributed to work.
Long-term stress and its connection to physical illness are becoming more recognized. However, it is still challenging to prove the correlation to receive worker’s compensation benefits.
Stress Resulting from Work-Related Physical Injuries
The toll a physical injury takes can affect an individual’s mental and emotional state. Benefits may include “compensable consequence,” meaning the injured employee is eligible for treatment and other benefits.
When it comes to worker’s compensation, employer negligence is often a primary consideration. Should an employer take no action or apply the incorrect action to ensure employee safety, they could be held liable if an accident occurs.
Employer liability in Oregon must first be proven based on four elements:
That the employer owed them a duty of care
That there was a breach of duty
That the claimant suffered an injury because of the breach
The injury to the plaintiff was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the breach
Liability isn’t always clear, but some examples might include:
Employee screenings should rule out individuals not qualified for the position. If someone doesn’t possess the appropriate credentials, they could threaten the safety of others.
An employer may be responsible if an individual’s training is inadequate or absent and their actions result in injury.
Employers who turn a blind eye to dangerous or inappropriate actions by an employee could be liable for supervisory negligence.
Should the claim be found in favor of the employee, their expenses and medical care under worker’s compensation may be covered. Since costs can quickly add up, these are important considerations. Speaking to a worker’s compensation attorney will clarify your position and help protect your employee rights.
If you delayed filing your claim past the 90-day allowance in Oregon, there is still hope. You can file a late claim by asking for a one-year extension, but you will have to supply a valid reason for the delay. The responsibility now falls on you to provide a reasonable explanation as to why you were unable to file the claim.
In cases like this, it’s best to choose a knowledgeable lawyer to assist with your claim because of the challenge in establishing “good cause” for delayed filing of workers’ compensation in Portland, OR. While Oregon has a “reasonable worker” standard that considers the true nature of the work accident, pursuing your case is best left to a legal representative experienced in navigating the system.
The “Reasonable Worker” Standard
Oregon’s “reasonable worker” standard takes into consideration:
- The nature of the work accident
- The worker’s understanding of the accident’s relationship with associated symptoms
- Medical evidence
- Alternative symptom explanations
- How the symptoms restricted the employee’s work and life activities
- Education and occupational background of the worker
- The reliance on legal or medical advice
These factors are weighed and will determine the establishment of “good cause.”
A delay in filing a claim is not insurmountable but does present a challenge. Your workers’ compensation lawyer is an excellent resource for determining the likelihood that your case will be heard.