Who is Entitled to Workers' Compensation Benefits in Oregon?
Subject workers are entitled to workers' compensation benefits in Oregon. The vast majority of workers in Oregon are "subject workers." Being a subject worker implies you are employed by a company or individual for a salary or hourly wages. Independent contractors are not subject workers. However, in some instances a worker may have been improperly categorized as an independent contractor by the employer. In these cases, the worker is entitled to benefits under Oregon's workers' compensation laws.
When Should I File an Oregon Workers' Compensation Claim?
A workers' compensation claim should be filed as soon as possible after a workplace injury or death. Workers who have developed a disease (as opposed to an acute injury) should file a claim as soon as they have reason to believe the disease is related to their employment. Common industrial diseases include hearing loss and carpal tunnel syndrome. Stress and mental disorders are also considered industrial diseases. A worker usually learns his or her disease is work related after being informed by their physician. If you are concerned you may have developed an industrial disease, seek the counsel of your physician or a workers' compensation attorney.
How Do I File an Oregon Workers' Compensation Claim?
In Oregon, a workers' compensation claim should be filed with either an 801 Form or an 827 Form. An 801 Form is usually completed by the worker or the employer (or both). An 827 Form is usually completed by the worker's physician. Both forms require the worker's signature in order to constitute a legal claim under Oregon law. 801 and 827 Forms can be found at the Oregon Workers' Compensation Division website: http://www.cbs.state.or.us/external/wcd/policy/bulletins/ab_index.html. Your employer, physician, or an Oregon workers' compensation attorney can also help you obtain these forms.
What Will Happen Once I have Filed a Workers' Compensation Claim in Oregon?
You will be contacted by your employer or their insurance company to confirm receipt of your claim. Many Oregon employers buy workers' compensation insurance though an insurance company and their workers' compensation claims are then processed by insurance adjusters at that insurance company. Some Oregon employers are self-insured and do not use an insurance company. In either case, a third party administrator (TPA) is sometimes employed to process the claims. You will, therefore, be contacted by an insurance company, your employer, or a third party administrator.
The employer/insurer has 60 days from receipt of the initial claim (usually an 801 or 827 Form) to either accept or deny your Oregon workers' compensation claim. If your claim is accepted you will receive an Initial Notice of Acceptance explaining that your claim is accepted and what condition it is accepted for.
What Will Happen if My Oregon Workers' Compensation Claim is Denied?
If your claim is denied, you will receive a Denial of Claim notice informing you of the denial and of your appeal rights. A claim denial means the employer/insurer has denied your Oregon workers compensation claim and you will receive no benefits for your injury. You have 60 days from the date the denial issued to appeal the denial.
If you believe the denial was issued in error and that you should receive benefits for your injury, you should appeal the claim denial. In order to appeal a claim denial of an Oregon Workers' Compensation claim, a Request for Hearing should be filed with the Oregon Workers' Compensation Board. An Oregon workers' compensation attorney can help you with your appeal.
What Kinds of Workers' Compensation Benefits am I Entitled to in Oregon?
Injured workers in Oregon are entitled to be compensated for time lost from work. Time loss benefits (also known as temporary disability benefits) are equal to 66.66% your wage at the time of the injury. These benefits are not taxable. Time loss benefits are paid to you by check every 14 days.
Injured workers are also entitled to payment of medical costs related to their work injury. Benefits for permanent impairment and vocational retraining may also be available depending upon the facts of the claim.
What Privacy Issues Arise in Oregon Workers' Compensation Claims?
When you file (i.e., sign) an 801 or 827 Form, you are waiving your rights to privacy with regard to your medical records. Your employer then becomes entitled to obtain and review all of your medical records that could relate to your injury. These include medical records from before your injury if the same body part or medical issue was involved in the previous treatment.
How Much Will an Oregon Workers' Compensation Attorney Cost?
Retaining an Oregon workers' compensation attorney is free. Your attorney will only be paid if they win or settle your case. If you decide to retain an attorney for your workers' compensation case, you will need to sign a retainer agreement. This agreement will provide for the attorney fee in the case of settlement or disposition of your claim. You will never need to pay for an Oregon workers' compensation attorney out of pocket.
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