Lake Oswego Workers Compensation Attorneys
With each passing year, safety becomes more of a growing concern. Being safe with our Planet’s resources, being safe while we are out driving, and being safe in various social situations are all more top of mind now than they used to be. One area of safety in particular that has grown significant attention over the years is safety at work.
In fact, it is now Oregon state law that all employers carry worker’s compensation insurance for each of their employees. This law is applicable across the board whether your business is inherently dangerous, or not.
For instance, an employer that runs a marketing agency must carry worker’s compensation insurance the same as an employer that runs a sawmill. The priority is the safety and protection of all employes.
This law stipulates that if you are injured while you are at work, and you are unable to come back to work right away, the worker’s compensation benefits will provide coverage for your medical expenses as well as up to two-thirds of your lost income, until you are well enough to return to work.
While this law is great new for injured employees, the unfortunate truth is that applying for and receiving your worker’s compensation benefits is not an easy process. These policies are held by insurance companies who are motivated to pay the least amount possible.
In other words, you could be left injured, unable to work, and without benefits. To avoid this scenario, it is important to take the proper steps from the very start. If you are injured at work, you must get medical treatment for your injuries and report the incident to your employer immediately.
This step is non-negotiable as it establishes proof that the accident occurred at work, and documents exactly what your injuries were and their severity. The state of Oregon has very strict deadlines for Worker’s Compensation cases, and there is no flexibility.
As soon as you have reported your injuries to your employer and received medical attention, contact our office within a few days so that we can schedule your complimentary consultation and meet you in-person. From there, we can begin gathering the various reports and medical records necessary to file your claim for benefits. Our team has been working with these types of cases for more than four decades and we know the system in and out. Some of the benefits that we can help you to secure include:
- Medical care for the injury or illness
- Compensation for permanent injuries
- Replacement income
- Benefits to survivors of workers who are killed on the job
- Vocational or retraining costs
Each of these benefits is one that you are entitled to as an injured worker. It is important to understand that your claim is not against your employer – they will not be paying these benefits out-of-pocket.
They have been paying a monthly premium each month to maintain a worker’s compensation insurance policy to cover these types of situations – your claim is with the insurance company. This doesn’t only mean that your employer doesn’t have to pay these benefits themselves, it also means they have no control or influence over how you are treated by the insurance company or whether or not your claim is approved.
You need someone in your corner who knows the language and knows how to get your benefits approved as soon as possible, so that you can recover from your injuries and get your life back. The Lake Oswego team at Shlesinger & deVilleneuve is committed to doing this for injured Oregonians on a daily basis.
Filing a Claim
Strict time limits control this process. A claim should be filed immediately with your employer for whom you were injured. Injured workers in Oregon experience some of the toughest hurdles. When you know you have been hurt on the job, tell your employer promptly. Get medical attention promptly. It is also critical that you give the medical provider accurate and complete information as to the where, time and how the incident occurred. Make sure you review this information with the provider before leaving his/her office. Many cases are won or lost depending on the contemporaneous history given to the medical provider who treats you for your injuries. Do not allow anyone to pressure you into failing to promptly report your injury EXACTLY as it happened! -immediately. Contact us promptly if you need assistance with filing your claim.
Strict time limits control this process. If your claim is denied, the notice should contain a strict time limit to appeal. If you receive a denial letter or notice of closure, you only have 60 days to reply. If you miss this deadline, you probably will be barred from appealing. Contact us promptly to avoid being stopped from appealing a good case. Contact us promptly if you have received a denial on your claim.
Notice of Closure
When your claim is closed, you may receive a notice awarding permanent partial disability benefits. This notice should also contain a strict time limit to appeal. If you receive a denial notice or notice of closure, you only have 60 days to reply. Again, you must act within this time limit to avoid losing the opportunity to increase an insufficient award. If you have received a Notice of Closure, do not trust the insurance company to award you the right amount of money. It takes an experienced attorney to navigate through this process and fight for everything you are entitled to. Contact us promptly if you have received a Notice of Closure.
Medical Service and Vocational Retraining Disputes
Under the current trends of Oregon Workers’ Compensation, it is not uncommon for an injured worker to be denied necessary medical services or vocational retraining. The Insurance companies are often reluctant to pay for necessary surgeries and treatment. Again, notices denying any of these types of benefits are accompanied by strict time frames. If you receive a notice that your medical treatment is being refused or you do not qualify for vocational retraining benefits, please contact us promptly so we can advocate for your rights.
Occasionally, an injured worker is hurt at a job site controlled by someone other than his/her employer or by an individual not associated with the worker’s employer. When this occurs, the worker may have what is called a third-party claim which is very similar to a personal injury claim. A third-party claim provides, potentially, an additional source of recovery to an injured worker. These claims also contain strict time limits that an injured worker is often completely unaware of. Contact us promptly if you have been involved in such a work injury.
Settlement of your Workers’ Compensation claim is often a viable option. If you are interested in pursuing settlement of your Oregon Workers’ Compensation claim, this requires an experienced attorney. The insurance company will not be looking after your interest when it comes to potential settlement of your claim. If you receive any form of a settlement offer, call us right away, since you may be signing away valuable rights and agreeing to an amount far less than what you are entitled to.
Attorney fees in Oregon Workers’ Compensation cases are set by state statute. The manner of how a fee is paid depends on how your claim is resolved. Attorney fees are strictly contingent. This means if you do not receive a recovery or increase in benefits, you do not owe your attorney a fee.
Sometimes it is necessary for your attorney to incur out-of-pocket costs to develop your case. This is often true if there is a denial on your case and we are preparing your case for hearing and/or possible settlement. These are not attorney fees, but are fees for such things as medical record duplicating charges, attorney-doctor conferences, treating doctor medical reports, forensic investigation, expert witness fees, filing fees, court reporting fees, arbitration/trial court fees, and so on.