In order to address potential workplace illness or injury, employers are required by law to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Commonly referred to as “workers’ comp,” this type of insurance consists of payments that are issued to employees dealing with injuries or other disabilities related to their work.
Workers Compensation in Oregon
Nearly every professional in the state of Oregon is covered under workers’ compensation insurance. There are only two exceptions to this – federal employment and maritime employment.
Those employed in Oregon can take comfort in the fact that the state is ranked as one of the safest states in which to work. According to national statistics, days lost to occupational injury in Oregon has dropped from roughly 5.6 to 3.9 over the last decade. This does not mean, however, that no one employed in Oregon suffers injury or illness on the job.
Not only does workers’ compensation insurance pay for medical expenses and other rehabilitative costs, but it also helps provide a source of compensation when you lose significant time from work, or in cases where you suffer permanent disability as a result of workplace personal injury.
If you suffer an injury on the job, workers’ compensation funds would also, in most cases, be available to your family, including your spouse and any minor children.
Identifying Personal Injury
In order to file a workers’ compensation claim, you will need to have a diagnosed injury or illness. This will require the expertise of a qualified medical professional.
There are a number of injuries or illnesses that may qualify for workers’ compensation, including:
However, it’s important to note that these are not the only types of injuries or illness covered under workers’ compensation.
Legal Restrictions on Workers’ Compensation
Once an injury or illness has been diagnosed, you must notify your employer in writing of your claim, stating where, when, and how the injury occurred. It is critical that this happens as soon as possible so that you are not denied any benefits you may be owed.
Upon receiving notice of your injury, your employer will notify their workers’ compensation insurance company. Those concerned about losing their jobs or jeopardizing their standing with an employer due to an injury can take comfort in protections ensured under state law.
For example, employers are prohibited from refusing the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. The law also strictly prohibits any discrimination or unlawful termination related to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
When Does an Injury Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?
If you are hospitalized or have lost three or more days in a row from work, you are entitled to receive funds to compensate for your lost wages. Typically, this occurs within two weeks of the day your employer was notified of your injury.
Although the amount of money you receive will vary on a case-by-case basis, and the guidelines in your respective state, there are some general rules regarding workers’ compensation claims.
The amount of money you will receive from workers’ compensation insurance relies on a few factors:
- Average weekly wage
- Regular worked overtime
- Room and board
Should you have a second employer, you may also be entitled to supplementary time loss payments. However, it’s worth noting that workers’ compensation will not always recover your full normal wages. The maximum amount is set by the state’s legislation and will generally fall around two-thirds of your typical gross salary, tax-free.
Should you return to work before procuring a doctor’s release, or if your claim is denied or otherwise closed, any and all workers’ compensation payments will cease.
Can Workers’ Compensation Claims Be Denied?
Although it’s not common, it is possible to have a workers’ compensation claim denied. If and when this occurs, you can appeal the denial by asking for an official hearing into the matter. In order to prevent losing your rights ensured under the Workers’ Compensation Act, you must appeal a denial within 60 days.
However, rights ensured under the Workers’ Compensation Act are not the only legal pathways for dealing with workplace personal injury. There may be additional legal remedies against other individuals or entities responsible for your illness or injury.
Generally, these are referred to as third party claims, which essentially means that some third party – one who is not affiliated with your employer – arguably contributed to or caused your injury through negligence. For example, the manufacturer of a defective product may be considered liable for workplace injury.
Attorneys Specializing in Workers’ Compensation Claims
In Portland and the surrounding communities in Oregon, the legal team at Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys specializes in representing victims of personal injury, including those seeking to file workers’ compensation claims after being injured in the workplace.
Our attorneys believe that corporations and the individuals running them should be held responsible for any careless or negligent acts that result in personal injury. We are committed to ensuring that all of our clients receive fair representation and the full damages they deserve for their injury and loss.
To explore your legal options, or to receive more information regarding workers’ compensation claims, contact the attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys today at (541) 617-0555 to schedule a preliminary consultation.