Workers Compensation Attorney in Bend Oregon
It is possible to get injured on the job regardless of whether you work in a factory or at an office desk.
Employees from all industries, including machine workers, construction laborers, restaurant workers, drivers, and office clerks are at a varying risk of injury at the workplace. In most cases, a workplace injury in Bend, Oregon will lead to the filing of a workers’ compensation claim.
How does Workers’ Compensation Coverage Help?
If you get injured on the job in Bend, OR, it could render you incapable to work for a short while or permanently. You would be required to file a claim for benefits under Oregon’s workers’ compensation law to get some level of compensation.
However, when you claim worker’s compensation, you cannot sue your employer or other co-workers. In most cases, they are essentially off the hook for your workplace injury. But you would likely get some benefits by way of compensation for your injuries.
You should receive an appropriate amount of compensation correlating with your pain and suffering, but unfortunately, it is not always so simple.
Many employers and insurance companies try to minimize and/or deny the full extent of benefits as stipulated under Oregon’s Workers’ Comp Act. They may argue that the employee’s injuries are exaggerated or they were not sustained while working on the job.
For a worker who has a job to do and a family to run, it can be time-consuming and frustrating to deal with these types of situations. This is where things can get quickly resolved in the worker’s favor when they have a hard charging and proven attorney working on their side.
Get in touch with Dwyer Williams Cherkoss in Bend, Oregon if you or your loved ones get injured on the job and your claim is denied. We can help you understand how workers’ compensation works in Bend and how you can obtain your rightful compensation.
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Injured in an Accident? Get a Free Case Evaluation Today!
Injured in an Accident? Get a Free Case Evaluation Today!
What Does a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Do?
The workers’ comp attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss will help employees in Bend recover rightful compensation when they are injured on the job and denied their workers’ comp benefits. We pave the path to recover the money rightfully owed to you by navigating the process through our legal expertise and years of experience.
These are some of the workplace injury claims handled by the accomplished attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss in Bend, OR.
- Construction accidents
- Hearing impairment, damage, or loss
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) or head injuries like concussions from falls or falling objects
- Toxic exposure illnesses, including occupational diseases like black lung or mesothelioma
- Burn injuries from accidents like electrocution and other heat and cold stress
- Muscular injuries, torn ligaments, broken bones, torn rotator cuffs, and herniated disks from pushing, lifting or other job relate actions
Injuries to the spinal cord, back, shoulders, neck, eyes, hip, knees, ankles, wrists, feet, hands, and respiratory organs
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system in Oregon. However, employees may be able to sue manufacturers of products or machinery that caused their injuries to obtain compensation in court (in addition to filing a standard workers’ compensation claim).
These injuries may be the result of dangerous working environments, defective materials or products, poor maintenance, faulty machinery, or inadequate training. Workers’ compensation being a no-fault system does not place the burden of proof on an employee to prove the reason of their injury. An employee is compensated without regard to fault or negligence.
Workers’ Comp Claims in Bend, OR: Eligibility and Filing
In Oregon, there are several factors which determine eligibility under workers’ compensation including whether the employee works for the federal government, and in which type of industry.
For instance, there is a special federal law for employees of the railroad industry to obtain workers’ compensation. In short, most workers in Bend, OR are covered under some form of workers’ compensation plan.
The majority of illnesses, unintentional injuries, accidents and deaths occurring at the workplace are covered under workers’ compensation rules.
The injured worker should provide the following details when first reporting an accident:
- Time and date of accident and injury
- Location of accident
- Cause of accident
- Witness names
Independent Medical Examination (IME) under Oregon Workers’ Comp Law
Independent medical examinations (IMEs) by doctors chosen by the insurer are mandatory in Oregon. Your workers’ compensation benefits may be stopped if you fail to attend these medical examinations. However, the insurer can only require for you to attend three IMEs in each open claim period.
No invasive procedure can, however, be performed without your consent and your benefits cannot be stopped or reduced if you decline these invasive procedures. Importantly, the insurer must bear the cost of all IMEs performed.
Worker-Requested Medical Exams
You may be eligible to request a medical examination conducted by a doctor chosen by the Workers’ Compensation Division. This could possible in a situation where your claim is denied based on an independent medical examination (IME), but your doctor (attending physician) does not concur with the IME report.
You will need to appeal this denied claim in writing to the insurer within 60 days of it. Make sure to send a written request for an exam to both the insurer and the Division.
Benefits awarded can be greatly influenced by a treating doctor’s testimony on the severity of a worker’s injuries. An experienced attorney can help you through this process to ensure that you are receiving a correct prognosis from the doctor.
Your claim will be closed when any one of the following applies:
- Your workplace injury is no longer recognized as the primary cause of your disability
- You fail to attend scheduled medical appointments
- You are medically stationary (your physician determines that no further significant improvement is expected in your medical condition with additional medical treatment or with passage of time)
You will receive a Notice of Closure when your claim is closed. This will include details regarding your permanent disability and the amount awarded to you. It will also provide instructions on how to appeal.
You have the right to appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Division for reconsideration if you disagree with your claim’s closure.
Appealing a Workers’ Compensation Closed Claim in Bend, Oregon
An injured employee’s claim for benefits may be denied in the following instances, if the insurance company:
- Blames the worker’s injury on a pre-existing condition
- Denies that the injury occurred on the job
- Accuses the employee of misrepresentation of facts or fraud
You have the right to appeal by asking the Workers’ Compensation Division for reconsideration, if you disagree with the insurance company’s claim closure. It is crucial that you make this request of reconsideration within 60 days from the mailing date of the Notice of Closure.
Request for reconsideration needs to be submitted in writing to both the insurer and the Division.
The Workers’ Compensation Division has 18 working days from the receipt of the request for reconsideration to reply on it. The division may either issue an Order on Reconsideration or notify all the parties concerned that there will be a delay of 60 additional calendar days.
This delay occurs when more time is required by the division to either gather additional information or schedule a medical arbiter examination.
The appellate reviewer will review all information before issuing an Order on Reconsideration once the medical arbiter completes your examination and sends the report to the division.
Appeal for Hearing
A hearing can be requested with the Hearings Division of the Worker’s Compensation Board by either the worker or the insurer within 30 days of the issue of Order on Reconsideration by the division.
You may have the right to appeal the decision to the Worker’s Compensation Board if you disagree with a decision made on the workers’ compensation claim. It’s vital that you file a request for hearing in a timely and proper manner.
To this effect, make sure you follow the instructions contained in the denial letter issued by the insurance company or in the decision letter by an agency (such as the Workers’ Compensation Division).
Generally, these appeal rights are found at the end of a letter or agency order, in bold. Be sure to file an appeal within the time specified in the notice because there are time deadlines for filing these hearing requests.
You are required to prove your case in every hearing. It is always a good idea to retain the services of an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable in Oregon’s workers’ compensation law.
What Happens at the Workers’ Comp Hearing in Bend, Oregon?
A request for hearing marks the beginning of an Oregon Workers’ Compensation hearing. Typically, a hearing is requested by an injured worker. An attorney retained by the employer will file a response to the request for hearing filed by the employee.
These two documents will inform the Hearings Division about the pertinent issues in the case.
The attorney retained by your employer will submit an exhibit packet, approximately a month prior to the hearing. This exhibit packet will contain chronologically arranged documents from the claims file. Detailed medical records and claims documents form the typical exhibits.
Supplemental exhibits are filed within the required period of time by the attorney representing the injured worker. These documents will come from medical providers, or from the claims file.
The Administrative Law Judge at the hearing will go over the exhibits and issues with both the attorneys prior to “going on the record”. In addition to the exhibits, everything else that is recorded also forms part of the official record of the case. The judge goes on record once all the issues have been addressed.
It is common for a party to present a medical report as an exhibit in Oregon Workers’ Compensation cases. This can either be submitted days before the hearing or presented on the day of hearing. The opposing party has the right to cross-examine the author of that report in such case.
The judge allows the remaining witnesses to testify when a party exercises their right to cross-examine the author of a report. The judge will continue the hearing to allow for deposition after the witnesses testify.
The record is usually closed and closing arguments are scheduled once the deposition is admitted into evidence. The Administrative Law Judge will make a decision within approximately 30 days of the closing arguments, which is called an Opinion and Order.
Contact a Dedicated Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Bend, OR
The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss in Bend, OR do not charge any fee or expenses until your workers’ compensation claim is obtained.
If you are receiving inadequate benefits or your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, you should call us at 1-800-285-8678 to learn more about how we may be able to help you.