If you become injured or sick at work in Oregon, workers compensation insurance can protect your financial security and allow you to make a recovery. Every employer is required to either purchase insurance or be self-insured; the important part is that you understand what that means for you. How does the system protect you? What do you need to do if you’re injured?
What Are Your Rights?
As a worker, the state of Oregon gives you essential rights that ensure legal and financial support in the event of an injury; these rights can’t be taken away by any authority, including your employer. Workers’ rights include the right to:
- file a workers compensation claim;
- seek medical treatment, paid for by workers comp insurance;
- receive disability benefits equal to two-thirds of your normal wages;
- return to your job when released for work by your doctor;
- make an appeal if your claim is denied; and
- be represented by an attorney at no cost for attorney’s fees.
What You Need to Do
To receive workers compensation, you will need to keep track of any forms, appointments and deadlines given to you. Filing your claim as soon as possible both guarantees that it will be received and improves the outcome of your recovery. Afterward, you should keep records given to you regarding the insurer’s decisions, the doctor’s diagnosis and orders and any forms and letters you receive or send. This paper trail is vital if your claim is disputed in some way.
If an insurer challenges your claim or the benefits provided aren’t enough to cover expenses, you can make an appeal or file a lawsuit. As with any legal matters, this can be a complex undertaking; before you make any major decisions, consult with an experienced Portland workers comp attorney; this gives you a representative during negotiations or in court, as well as a source of information and advice about legal options.