Oregon Workers Compensation

When is a worker a “subject worker?”

Anderson, Kevin_webThe vast majority of workers in Oregon will be subject to the workers compensation system, with some exceptions. It is important to consider whether an injured worker is a subject worker when investigating the claim. Two recent cases address this important question. Carpenter hired to remodel apartment on a couple’s farm not a subject worker when the work was unrelated to the day-to-day activities of the farm. Randall Royer v. Touch of Grey Ranch, 276 Or App 909 (2016). Employer bought, boarded, trained, and sold polo horses. The couple who owned the business hired a carpenter to convert a hay barn into two apartment units. Claimant helped finish the interior of the apartments in exchange for being allowed… Continue reading

Attorney Fees for Claimant Statements/Depositions

Anderson, Kevin_webAs of January 1, 2016, worker’s attorneys have been entitled to a new hourly attorney fee for “actual time spent during the personal or telephonic interview or deposition.” ORS 656.262(14)(a). These statements are taken as a part of the injured worker’s duty to cooperate with the investigation of a claim. The attorney fee only applies to statements or depositions by the worker, not medical experts. The worker must be represented at the time of the statement for the attorney to be entitled to a fee. The WCB has issued new administrative rules to clarify the procedure for requesting and paying these new fees. See OAR 438-015-0033. Generally these procedures were designed to mirror a cost bill at hearing. A reasonable… Continue reading

Oregon Legislature begins Short Session

Anderson, Kevin_webThe Oregon Legislature met on February 1, 2016 beginning a 35-day “Short Session.” In 2010, Oregon approved these sessions in even numbered years to allow the legislature to make corrections in its two year budgets. These sessions have increasingly been used to make new policy changes though. Here are a few of the new legislative concepts which might be addressed by the legislature in the next month. Legislative Concept 103 (LC 103) Would remove “sick leave pay” from the Workers’ Compensation definition for payroll. Legislative Concept 254 (LC 254) If passed, this would change the term limits for members of the Management-Labor Advisory Committee. The committee is made up of 10 members, five representing organized labor interests (including the Oregon… Continue reading

Reminder-CDA Requirements

Vaniman-Megan_160-x-222A Claims Disposition Agreement—better known as a CDA—is a great tool to settle accepted claims. Once a claim is accepted, the claimant retains rights to medical services for the compensable injury. A CDA does not release a claimant’s right to these services. Over the summer, we saw the Board clarify interpretation of CDAs that contain “full releases,” aggravation and Own Motion rights. The Board examined several CDAs and determined the CDAs could not release the carrier’s obligation to process Own Motion claims for worsened or new/omitted condition or aggravation rights. The Board approved these CDAs, but interpreted them to mean that claimant retained rights to medical service related benefits. As of September 1st, the Board decided to no… Continue reading