Workers’ compensation programs were developed as a way to ensure that employees with work-related injuries or illnesses had access to medical care and cash benefits without resorting to lawsuits against their employers. Only nine states enacted laws establishing workers’ compensation systems in 1911, but today, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have created some form of workers’ compensation system to pay benefits to workers.
The scope of the benefits available to a worker who is injured or sick because of a workplace accident or incident varies from one state to another. Here’s a look at the workers’ compensation system in Oregon in order to provide a general idea of the types of benefits available following an occupational injury or illness.
Benefits for medical treatment and care
Making it possible for workers to have prompt access to medical care for injuries and illnesses related to their jobs has always been a core principle of workers’ compensation systems. Oregon accomplishes this through medical benefits paying for the following services:
- Office visits
- Treatment and care provided at emergency departments
- Costs related to hospitalization
- Surgical care
- Prescription medications
- Specialized medical equipment
- Physical and occupational therapy
Unlike some states that allow employers or their workers’ compensation insurance companies to limit workers to specific healthcare providers for services, Oregon gives workers the right to make their own choice of physician or another healthcare provider for the services that they need, unless their employer or workers’ compensation insurer enrolls them in a managed care organization (MCO).
After you notify them of a workers’ comp claim, your employer or insurer may enroll you in an MCO. Once enrolled, you must use the MCO for medical care related to your injury or illness. If you have a physician whom you would prefer to use instead of the MCO, you may only do so if your doctor obtains approval from the MCO to treat you. Ask your Bend workers’ compensation lawyer for assistance regarding your medical care.
Wage replacement benefits
When an occupational injury or illness prevents you from continuing to work either during treatment and recovery or due to a disability, workers’ compensation provides the following disability benefits to replace lost earnings:
- Time-loss benefits: If the physician treating you determines that you cannot work while recovering, you are entitled to receive the equivalent of two-thirds of your average weekly wages. There is a three-day waiting period before time-loss benefits begin, but the waiting period does not apply if you are hospitalized or cannot return to work for at least 14 days. A partial benefit may be available if your physician clears you to return to a light or modified work assignment. The benefits cover two-thirds of the difference in pay.
- Permanent partial disability benefits: When the insurance carrier handling your claim determines that you have reached maximum recovery, it may close it. However, if you have a permanent impairment that limits your hours or the type of work that you can do, you may be entitled to a permanent partial disability benefit. The amount that you receive is based on several factors, including the percentage of impairment.
- Permanent total disability benefits: A permanent impairment that prevents you from engaging in any type of gainful employment entitles you to a disability award based on an impairment rating that takes into account your age, education, and work experience.
You have the right to appeal any determination made by the insurance company handling your workers’ compensation claim, including decisions to close your case because your condition has become medically stationary. A consultation with a Bend workers’ compensation attorney can help you know your rights and provide options for exercising them.
When a work-related medical condition prevents you from returning to work, you may be entitled to vocational assistance paid for by the insurer handling your workers’ compensation claim. The services available to you include the following:
- Professional assistance with development of a training plan.
- Vocational counseling and guidance.
- Job-placement services.
Vocational benefits may include payment of tuition, specialized equipment, and disability benefits while attending vocational training.
Eligible dependents, including the spouse and children, of a worker who dies due to an occupational illness or injury may receive monthly payments. The following are the amounts of monthly payments to dependents for death benefits in 2022:
- Surviving spouse or domestic partner: $3,843.39.
- Each child who is younger than 19 years of age with a surviving parent: $1,441.20.
- Each child younger than 19 years of age without a surviving parent: $3,843.39.
The insurer must pay up to $26,504.80 in 2022 toward the cost of the funeral and disposition of the body of the deceased worker.
Learn more about workers’ compensation benefits available to you
A Bend workers’ compensation attorney is a reliable source for accurate information about the benefits available to you and your loved ones when you sustain an injury or illness through an accident or conditions related to your employment. Contact an attorney today for a free consultation.