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FAQs

What are my rights as an injured worker?

  • You have the right to file a workers' compensation claim for injuries or occupational illnesses occurring on the job.
  • You have the right to seek medical treatment, this may be by your own doctor or a doctor of a managed care organization (MCO), depending on your employer's workers' compensation insurance policy. You may still treat with your own doctor rather than a doctor of a MCO if your doctor agrees to the terms of the MCO contract, and has been approved by the MCO.
  • You have the right to return to work if you are released for work by your doctor.
  • If you are partially or totally disabled due to your injury, you have the right to disability (time-loss) pay.
  • If you do not agree with the insurer's decision about your claim, you have the right to appeal the decision.
  • You have the right to be represented by an attorney at no cost for attorney's fees.

1. I was injured on the job. How do I file a claim?

If you were injured in an accident, Oregon law provides that you must file a claim in writing within 30 days of the accident. While it may be acceptable to simply inform your employer that you were injured, the most effective way to file a claim is in writing. Often your employer will provide an "801" form for you to fill out. Keep a copy of your written notice of a claim.

If you were injured over a period of time, a claim must be filed within one year of the date a doctor informed you that your injury was caused by your work activities. This type of claim is known as an "occupational disease" claim.

2. I filed a claim and it was denied. What should I do?

Any time a claim is denied, it is important to contact a lawyer who is experienced in handling Oregon Workers' Compensation claims. The denial must be appealed within 60 days of the date it was issued. While there is a provision that a denial may be appealed within 180 days of issue if the worker can show "good cause" for not filing it within 60 days, proving that you had "good cause" is difficult.

3. I filed a claim and it was accepted. Should I still seek legal representation?

Often, the workers' compensation insurance carrier will accept a condition which is not serious in comparison with more serious injury conditions resulting from a workplace accident. A common example is an accident in which the worker suffers a herniated disc in his or her back. The insurance company may accept a back strain while ignoring the more serious herniated disc in an attempt to make the worker believe he or she is fully covered. This is a good reason to seek representation from a lawyer who specializes in Oregon Workers' Compensation law. The lawyer can obtain your file from the insurance company and review it at no charge to you.

4. I have to be off work due to my injury. How will I be paid?

If your claim is accepted, you will get "time-loss" payments from the insurer if your doctor authorizes time off work or modified work (also called "light duty") that results in lost wages. Time-loss payments usually begin two weeks after you report the claim to your employer, but only if the doctor provides written authorization to the insurer soon after you are injured. Otherwise, your first check will be mailed within two weeks from the date the insurer receives authorization from your doctor.

During each appointment, ask your doctor to send appropriate time-loss authorization to the insurer. If time-loss authorization expired before your appointment, your doctor can approve time-loss payments only for the previous two weeks. You may also help to ensure timely payment by contacting the insurer as soon as you begin to miss work.

Time-loss benefits, sometimes called temporary total disability (TTD) or temporary partial disability (TPD), are based on your weekly wage when you were injured. Generally, you will receive 66 percent of your wage at injury.

5. I am unable to understand what is going on with my claim; all of the paperwork sent to me by the insurance company is confusing. Can you explain this to me? What do you charge for handling my case?

We can often answer your questions by phone and give you tips how to navigate the paperwork. There is no charge to give information or review your claim file. Oregon workers' compensation is a very complex law and insurance companies can take advantage of unrepresented injured workers. If you have been hurt at work and have questions about your claim, please don't hesitate to call us at 503-446-4025.

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John M. Hoadley
4085 SW 109th Avenue, Suite 100
Beaverton, OR 97005
Phone: 503-446-4025
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