Our experienced workers' compensation attorney in Portland can help you with your work comp benefits.
Oregon Workers' Compensation Benefits
The workers' compensation system was created to assist workers with on the job injuries by offering certain workers' compensation benefits designed to restore the worker to the position they were in before the on the on the job injury occurred. It is important to remember that Oregon has a "no-fault" liability system, which means that a worker cannot be blamed for their injury. In other words, an employer cannot refuse to file your claim because you violated a safety protocol and the insurance company cannot deny the claim because you made a mistake.
Oregon's workers' compensation system is regulated by the Oregon Workers' Compensation Division. The Oregon Workers' Compensation Division plays a critical role in the management of Oregon's workers' compensation system by promulgating rules outlining how benefits are administered to injured workers, as well as overseeing employer compliance with those rules and resolving disputes between injured workers and employers or insurers when they occur.
Oregon workers' compensation benefits fall within one of five categories consisting of medical treatment, time loss, permanent impairment, vocational retraining and death benefits. What workers' compensation benefits an injured worker receives following their on the job injury depends upon their post-injury medical needs, level of impairment and work restrictions. Available workers' compensation benefits are generally outlined below; however, it is important to note that this is an area of the law that is in a constant state of flux. All injured workers should speak with an experienced Oregon workers' compensation attorney about their rights and the current state of the law.
The first category of workers' compensation benefits is medical treatment. Oregon injured workers are entitled to medical treatment for their on the job injuries and work accidents. Medical treatment could include seeing a physician, physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, surgery, injections, prescription medications, durable medical equipment, such as walkers, canes, splints and prosthetics, or diagnostics like x-rays, arthrograms and MRIs. Many employers and insurers attempt to steer injured workers to certain clinics or physicians. All workers have the right to treat with a physician of their choice. If your claim was enrolled in a Managed Care Organization (MCO), you still have the right to treat with an MCO physician of your choice. You may also have the right to continue treating with a non-MCO physician in some circumstances. Do you have questions about your medical benefits? Perhaps the insurance company denied surgery or is forcing you to enroll in a MCO. Call Goin Law Group today to discuss your right to treat.
Time Loss Benefits
The second category of workers' compensation benefits is time loss. The insurer is generally responsible for paying an injured worker's "temporary disability benefits" when an on the job injury occurs and the worker received a restriction from their physician that prevents the injured worker from returning to the job at injury. "Temporary partial disability benefits" are paid when modified duty work restrictions are imposed and the worker has returned to a new position working fewer hours or earning a lower hourly wage. All temporary disability benefits are paid based upon the worker's "average weekly wage." Insurers frequently miscalculate the average weekly wage, which typically results in an underpayment of benefits. Late or non-existent time loss payments are also a common issue in many workers' compensation claims. If you believe your benefits have been underpaid, Goin Law Group recommends speaking with an experienced Oregon workers' compensation attorney.
Permanent impairment is our third benefit category. Sometimes an injured worker does not make a full recovery following their accident. Permanent impairment is typically awarded when the worker's attending physician performs a closing examination that documents objective findings in support of a permanent impairment award. Some surgical procedures, such as partial or full meniscectomies, complete knee and shoulder replacements, or spinal discectomies result in an automatic award of permanent impairment. Ultimately, this is a complex area of Oregon's workers' compensation law. Many insurance companies will work directly with the worker's attending physician in an effort to close the claim without awarding the worker permanent impairment. Goin Law Group highly recommends seeking legal assistance from a Portland workers' compensation attorney if you believe your attending physician has discharged you from care or plans to do so within the next three to six months.
The fourth benefit category is vocational retraining. Like permanent impairment, this is a complicated aspect of Oregon's workers' compensation law. Vocational assistance may be available when a worker has permanent impairment as a result of their work injury that also resulted in permanent work restrictions that prevent the injured worker from returning to their job at injury. Goin Law Group recommends consulting with an experienced Oregon workers' compensation attorney immediately if you believe you may have permanent impairment and permanent work restrictions.
Our final benefits category is only made available when the work injury or occupational disease results in a fatality. If this occurs, the worker's spouse and dependents are entitled to a lump sum payment for the final disposition and funeral expenses of the worker, in addition to monthly support. The amount due changes yearly. Spouses will continue to receive benefits until they remarry. Children receive benefits until they reach the age of 18 unless attending college, in which case benefits will continue until they are 23. In some instances individuals who were not a spouse or child of the deceased may also qualify for benefits as "other dependents." This area of the law is complex and benefits amounts change annually. Consultation with a Portland workers' comp attorney is highly recommended if a loved one sustained a work related fatality.
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Nathan Goin began his career as a claims examiner for one of the major workers' compensation insurers in Oregon. Through this experience, he learned firsthand how workers' compensation insurers view injured workers, manage their claims, value settlements and, ultimately, attempt to close claims while paying as little as possible. Nathan's legal career now focuses on fighting for the rights of injured workers to ensure that they receive the benefits they deserve.
We understand how difficult the workers' compensation process can be for an injured worker. Goin Law Group values every client and will work tirelessly to maximize your benefits. Schedule a free consultation with an experienced Oregon workers' compensation attorney today. Call now for assistance with your claim. You don't have to do this alone.