Oregon Employee Injured While Working from Home? Best Practices to Determine Compensability

With the onset of COVID-19 and statewide stay-at-home orders, a high percentage of today’s workforce is operating from home, or in some variation of remote setup. Even as employees begin to return to a more traditional work setting, it is reasonable to anticipate that the pandemic-related response will have long-term effects on where and how some employers allow their employees to work. So, with the rise in remote workers will likely come a rise in remote workplace injuries. How do you respond? In Oregon the general rule is injuries occurring “in the course of” and “arising out of” employment are compensable. That remains the case for injuries occurring remotely, if the worker is within the course and scope of his… Continue reading

Active Preexisting Conditions or Passive Predispositions – How Do I Tell the Difference?

Anderson, Kevin_webA few months ago, we discussed a new Court of Appeals case addressing preexisting conditions. Dennis L. Corkum v. Bi-Mart Corp., 271 Or App 411 (2015). Our main concern was another court-made layer of analysis, specifically distinguishing “active” preexisting conditions and “passive” predispositions. A copy of that article can be found here. The Board has issued two recent opinions attempting to clarify the Corkum decision. Steven Prince treated for a left sided hernia in 1998, a right sided hernia from an off-work injury in 2013, and an alleged work related hernia in 2014. Steven Prince, 67 Van Natta 1325 (2015). The Board put in a footnote that the worker’s 2013 hernia surgery hernia surgery for… Continue reading

SBH Prevails before Court of Appeals on Case Addressing Occupational Disease Analysis

Vaniman-Megan_160-x-222In Luton v. Willamette Valley Rehabilitation Center, 432 Or App 487 (2015), claimant filed a claim for right wrist pain. He testified that on April 5, 2010 he was doing a job requiring him to wrap sticks with a band when he felt a tearing in his cartilage. He experienced more pain the following week. An MRI eventually showed a TFC tear. No doctor could definitively state when the tear occurred, although one felt it likely occurred with wear and tear over time. The ALJ determined the TFC tear should be analyzed as an injury and found it compensable. The Board reversed, concluding the evidence showed the TFC tear occurred over time even though claimant testified… 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

Corkum Adds Another Layer to Combined Condition Analysis

Whalen, Sam_167x222In the past year and a half, the Oregon Court of Appeals has done much to change the landscape of how combined condition claims are processed and litigated. While Brown v. SAIF is currently pending before the Supreme Court of Oregon, the Court of Appeals has published a new opinion that again challenges what we thought we knew about combined conditions. In Corkum v. Bi-Mart Corp., 271 Or App 411, the Court addressed the distinction between a claimant’s predisposition to an injury and the “cause” of an injury. In doing so, the Court distinguished between “active” and “passive” causes of an injury, and the impact each designation will have on the compensability of a combined condition. … Continue reading