Lauren Oda

Annual Adjustment of Attorney Fees in Workers’ Compensation Claims in Oregon

The Oregon Workers’ Compensation Board recently issued a revised Bulletin No. 1 addressing the maximum attorney fee under several statutes. The attorney fees affected by the revised bulletin are provided in ORS 656.262(11)(a) (unreasonable delay or refusal to pay compensation or accept or deny), ORS 656.262(14)(a) (claimant attorney participation in claimant’s statement or deposition), and ORS 656.308(2)(d) (responsibility denial). The maximum attorney fee amount is adjusted annually on July 1 by the same percentage increase, if any, as made to the state’s average weekly wage (SAWW) under ORS 656.211. The reasonable hourly rate for an attorney’s time spent during a claimant’s interview or deposition pursuant to ORS 656.262(14)(a) is also adjusted by the same percentage on July 1. Effective July… Continue reading

Worker’s Compensation Division Addresses House Bill 2338 Regarding Benefits to Surviving Children

The Workers’ Compensation Division issued an Addendum to Bulletin No. 377 on December 8, 2017. The Division issued the addendum to address House Bill 2338, which changed the computation of fatal benefits to children of deceased workers or “surviving children.” The addendum does not change the monthly benefit amounts for: Surviving children receiving benefits at 25 percent of the base or average weekly wage (whichever applies) before January 1, 2018; or Surviving children or dependents with no surviving parents who are completing secondary education, a GED, or a program of higher education. The addendum does change all monthly benefits being paid at the 10 percent level before January 1, 2018. Those benefits must be increased to 25 percent for benefits… Continue reading

Join SBH Attorney Lauren Oda at WSIA Region Meetings

Lauren Oda will be presenting with orthopaedic surgeon Scott Kitchel, M.D. at four WSIA Region Meetings in April. Lauren and Dr. Kitchel will discuss common orthopaedic injuries of the spine and various mechanisms of injuries. The presentation will also discuss strategies for writing clear and concise IME cover letters to obtain persuasive IME reports. Information on the meetings is below. Tuesday, April 4, 2017 8:00 AM- 9:45 AM WSIA Office • 828 7th Avenue Southeast • Olympia, WA 98501 Tuesday, April 4, 2017 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM Valley Medical Center • Medical Arts Center MAC A • 400 S. 43rd Street Renton, Washington 98055 Tuesday, April 25, 2017 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM US Bancorp Tower • Training Room… Continue reading

Court of Appeals issues decision on U.S. Bank v. Diane Pohrman

Oda, Lauren_160x222The Oregon Court of Appeals issued a decision yesterday addressing the “social or recreational activity” exclusion in ORS 656.005(7)(b)(B). In U.S. Bank v. Diane Pohrman, the worker was on a paid break when she slipped and fell in the lobby of a building where her employer leased space on the sixth floor. The worker was walking across the lobby toward a coffee shop and was talking with a friend with whom she planned to socialize during the break. The employer denied the claim under the “social or recreational activity” exclusion and an ALJ upheld the denial. The Board reversed and concluded the socializing with a friend on break was not the kind of “social or recreational… Continue reading

Large Increase in Oregon Average Weekly Wage

Schmidt-Dipaola, Lauren_160x222By: Lauren Oda The Workers’ Compensation Division issued the revised Bulletin 111 May 18, 2015. According to the Bulletin, Oregon’s State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) increased 3.8% in the last year from $888.38 to $922.39. The increased Average Weekly Wage is effective July 1, 2015. The TTD rate on open claims will increase according to the new SAWW, subject to the maximum statutory rate ($1,226.78). The large increase in the SAWW will likely have an effect on premium rates next year. The complete Bulletin 111 is available for review at If you have any questions regarding the revised bulletin, please contact me at  

Learn What MLAC Can Do For You

lauren odaEmployers, HR Managers, and claims examiners – the Professionals in Workers’ Compensation organization is hosting their final educational breakfast event of the 2012-2013 season. Please join us for a great breakfast May 16, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Lloyd Center to learn about the importance of MLAC. What is MLAC? Why do we have it? What is it doing for us? Tami Cockeram, an MLAC committee member and City of Hillsboro Risk Manager will be presenting on the history and current activities of MLAC. MLAC is the Management-Labor Advisory Committee. MLAC was created in 1990 as an advisory committee to assist with workers’ compensation reform. MLAC provides a forum for business… Continue reading

Board’s Interpretation of a Medical Opinion Must Be Reasonable

lauren odaIn a recent decision, Armenta v. PCC Structural, Inc. (A141790), the Oregon Court of Appeals issued an unfavorable opinion regarding the Board’s ability to disregard an expert’s medical opinion when it does not address the subject in dispute. Claimant sought review of the Board’s Order upholding the employer’s denial of occupational disease claims for cervical radiculopathy and lumbar radiculopathy. Claimant offered Dr. Gritzka’s report as rebuttal evidence. Claimant alleged the Board erred in disregarding Dr. Gritzka’s opinion as to causation of cervical and lumbar radiculopathy. The Board determined that Dr. Gritzka’s report did not address the conditions at issue, cervical and lumbar radiculopathy, and therefore did not consider it in making their compensability decision. The Court… Continue reading