Workers’ compensation insurance provides numerous benefits to injured workers after they suffer a work-related injury. The Oregon workers’ compensation system is extremely complex and an attorney can help you navigate the system to ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve.
Oregon law requires employers in the State of Oregon to carry workers’ compensation insurance or be self-insured. Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to protect workers by paying for benefits related to workplace injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance may pay for medical treatment and lost wages as well as several other potential benefits. Most workers injured during work are eligible to receive benefits, but there are specific guidelines in place for determining if an injury is considered work-related.
If you have questions about your workers’ compensation benefits or eligibility you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. The Oregon workers’ compensation system is notoriously complex and may require the aid of an attorney who understands the system and who can fight for you.
What to Do If You Have Been Injured on the Job
If you have been injured on the job, or developed a job-related disease, it is important to notify your employer as quickly as possible because there are strict deadlines set by law and your ability to receive benefits may be limited if you delay. In order to receive benefits you will need to formally notify your employer of your work injury before the deadlines pass. It is important to complete an “801” form as instructed by your employer as well as get information about your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Additionally, you should seek medical treatment immediately and inform your health care provider that the injury is related to your job. Finally, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney to help you through the entire process.
What Workers’ Compensation Covers
Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to cover most injuries or illnesses directly related to your job, including traumatic injuries, repetitive or chronic injuries, exposure to toxic materials, mental injuries and occupational diseases. Regardless of whether your employer was at fault for the injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that could include:
- Medical treatment
- Time loss
- Permanent Partial Disability/Permanent Total Disability
- Aggravation rights
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Death benefits for surviving family in the case of a fatality on the job
It is important to understand that, in almost all cases, you cannot sue your employer outside of the workers’ compensation system for a work injury or occupational disease. However, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against a third-party involved in the accident. For this reason it is vital that you discuss your legal options with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
It is common for workers’ compensation insurance companies to deny a worker’s claim for benefits. After your claim is denied, any benefits will be cut off and your employer may expect you to return to work. There are numerous reasons that a claim may be denied, including that the claim was not filed in a timely manner or that the injury did not occur in the course and scope of your employment. It is also possible for a claim to be denied because a doctor determines that you have a pre-existing medical condition and that the pre-existing condition is more at fault than the work injury. When this occurs it is important to get a second opinion from a different doctor as early as possible because not all doctors will agree about your medical condition.
If your claim has been denied, you may also need the help of an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer who knows how to face the challenges of these denials. There are legal deadlines for appealing a denied workers’ compensation claim so it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Our law firm can file an appeal on your behalf, gather evidence to support your claim, discourage unlawful termination or retaliation and otherwise protect your rights.
Permanent Partial Disability
If your workers’ compensation claim has been classified as disabling then you may be eligible for a permanent partial disability (PPD) award. A PPD award is designed to compensate you for your permanent disability. The amount of any PPD award depends on many factors, including which body part was injured and the extent of the permanent injury. The calculation of a PPD award is very technical and insurance companies often calculate the PPD award incorrectly. If you received a PPD award, it is possible that it may have been calculated incorrectly. Consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to review the PPD award and appeal it if appropriate. There are legal deadlines for appealing a PPD award so it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Workers’ compensation claims resulting in a PPD award are common, but this benefit is not available on many claims. Examples of injuries that may result in a PPD award include:
- Severe back or neck injuries
- Severe shoulder injuries
- Severe knee injuries
- Loss of vision
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