Attorneys Brian Perko and Rebecca Watkins recently secured a decision from the Oregon Court of Appeals upholding a denial based on the defense that the worker intentionally caused himself injury. If an injury occurs from the deliberate intention of the worker to produce such injury, it is not compensable and no benefits are payable. Employers/insurers have the burden to prove intentional self-injury, and it is a difficult defense to establish. In Wilson v. Labor Ready, SBH and its client successfully proved that the worker intentionally caused his own injury. Surveillance video, witness testimony, and a shifting story from the worker all convinced the hearing judge, Workers’ Compensation Board, and the Court of Appeals that this arm injury was caused by the deliberate intention of the worker. Although these cases are rare, this decision confirms that a successful defense can be built when the evidence shows an injury was self-inflicted.
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