Oregon Workers' Compensation Lawyers
Workers’ compensation is a system of benefits to help workers who are injured on the job. If you get hurt at work, whether it’s a slip and fall, a machine malfunction or a back injury, you have the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation with the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division.
Repetitive stress injuries, caused by performing the same motion over and over, as well as occupational disease, are covered, as well. If your injury is substantially related to a pre-existing injury, however, it may not be covered under Oregon’s workers’ compensation rules. An attorney can help you determine your eligibility.
It does not matter who was at fault for your injury. This is called the no-fault rule, and it says that you can still receive benefits for an injury that was your fault. It also says that if the injury was your employer’s fault, you can’t sue your employer. You have to go through the workers’ compensation system. If a third party was responsible, however, you would have the option of filing a lawsuit against that third party.
If your claim is approved, the following benefits are available to Oregon workers:
- Medical. Your medical bills should be covered 100% for the duration of your injury, as long as they are reasonable and necessary.
- Temporary disability. If you have to take time off work due to your injury, you can get paid a portion of your lost wages. You can also receive this benefit if you are put on light duty for less pay. Your doctor needs to authorize time off work.
- Permanent partial disability. If you do not fully recover from your injury, you can receive payment based on the severity of the injury and the part of your body that is affected.
- Permanent total disability. If you are permanently injured and unable to work, you can receive payments for the rest of your life.
- Vocational rehabilitation. If you can’t perform your old job but have the ability to work in another capacity or in another field, you might be eligible for training to prepare you for a new line of work.
After your injury, it’s important to notify your employer in writing as soon as possible. Your employer should then provide you with Form 801. They are required to submit this form within five days of being notified of your injury. The insurer has 60 days from the date you tell your employer to accept or deny your claim. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal.
Employees in Oregon are permitted to choose their own doctor for treatment of their work injury. An employee can change their main doctor two times (after that, a change requires special approval). Referrals to specialists do not count as a change in doctor. There is an exception to the rule that workers can choose their doctor: If you are enrolled in a managed care organization, there may be limits on your choice of doctor.
The insurance company can require a worker to get a medical examination by a doctor of their choosing. This is called an IME and is used to dispute your doctor’s opinion on your medical condition, ability to work, etc. Your employer and/or their insurance company can require you to get up to three IMEs.
Filing a claim for workers’ compensation is not a lawsuit. It’s an insurance claim. Most of the time this means you will be dealing with the insurance company and not directly with your employer. When dealing with the insurance company, it’s in your best interest to have an attorney. An insurer’s goal is to save money by paying as few benefits as possible, while your attorney’s goal will be to get you all the benefits to which you’re entitled.
Oregon workers’ compensation attorneys charge on a contingency fee basis. This means there is no fee upfront and no hourly rate. Instead, your attorney will be paid a percentage of what they are able to get for you. In Oregon, workers’ compensation fees are limited to 25%. In some cases, your employer may be required to pay your legal fees.
Most workers find that hiring an attorney leads to higher benefit and settlement amounts. Look for someone who focuses their practice on workers’ compensation and has years of experience representing injured workers in Oregon. If you would like help in finding a lawyer please contact us for a referral to an experienced work comp lawyer. There is no charge for our service.
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