July 18, 2014

How Much is My Workers' Compensation Claim Worth?

Wondering How Much You Could Settle Your Workers' Compensation Claim For?

This is a difficult question and the answer definitely is different for every case.  But, there are a few ways that the value of a case can be broken down.

First, it is important to remember that no one (not the injured worker or the insurance company) has to settle.  It is always an option but never a right.

Second, a settlement has to have value for both parties.  In other words, it is worth it to both the injured worker and the insurance company.  It is usually worth it to the insurance company because they get to close a file (stop processing the claim), pay a finite amount and not risk any further litigation.  It is worth it to the injured worker because they get a lump sum dollar amount, the amount is guaranteed, and there is no risk of losing the claim completely with litigation.  Keep in mind these are general scenarios and each case has different factors that come into play.

Finally, the value of a settlement is generally less than the insurer's exposure (i.e., how much they might have to pay over the lifetime of the workers' comp claim).  The value is also usually a little more than the injured worker would receive in terms of a dollar amount.  For example, an injured worker with an accepted claim would get time loss, but they would not receive the dollar amount for the medical payments,etc.  Whereas, if the injured worker settled, the lump sum would include those amounts.

Here is more info on the types of workers' compensation settlements: Oregon Workers' Compensation Settlements

Do I Need a Lawyer to Settle My Workers' Compensation Case?

Yes, If you wish to try to settle your workers' compensation case, you will want a workers' compensation lawyer to help you.

If you have any questions or want to talk to a lawyer about settling your workers' compensation case, feel free to call anytime for a free consultation.  (503) 975-5535

July 16, 2014

I Filed a Workers' Compensation Claim - What Happens Next?

I Filed a Workers' Compensation Claim - What Happens Next?

So, you have filed a workers' compensation claim using an 801 or 827 Form and are wondering what happens next...

The first thing to remember is that the workers' compensation insurer now has 60 days to accept or deny your workers' compensation claim.  I recommend marking 60 days on your calendar immediately.

While your claim is being investigated and processed, you should receive medical benefits and time loss.  If your claim is accepted, these benefits will continue.  If it is denied, they will end unless you successfully appeal your denial with a workers' compensation attorney.  You should expect to provide an recorded interview about your injury and go to an exam set up with a doctor working for the workers' comp insurer.  These are standard procedures for investigations of workers' compensation claims.

There are three scenarios that may come next:

Claim Accepted

First, your claim may be accepted.  This is the best-case scenario.  If this happens you should receive all your benefits including time loss and medical care.  However, you do want to make sure your claim is properly accepted.  The Initial Notice of Acceptance will state what conditions that claim is accepted for (i.e., low back strain, etc).  If the condition(s) is incorrect or does not include all your injuries, you will want to contact a workers' compensation attorney for assistance.

Claim Denied

Second, your claim may be denied.  If this happens you will receive a letter stating it is a "denial."  If you receive a denial, you will want to immediately contact a workers' compensation lawyer to help you appeal the denial.

Unfortunately, it is pretty common for workers' compensation claims to be denied.  If this happens, don't worry, but do call a lawyer.

You Hearing Nothing

Third, you may hear nothing about your claim after you file it.  This happens sometimes when claims get lost or the employer fails to comply properly with the law.  If it has been 60 days and your claim has not been accepted or denied, your claim becomes "de facto denied."  This basically means that the insurer - by doing nothing - has denied your claim.

In this scenario, you will definitely need a workers' compensation lawyer to help you appeal the "de facto denial."

As always, feel free to call for a free consultation with a workers' compensation attorney: (503) 975-5535

How to File a Workers' Compensation Claim in Oregon

How to File a Workers' Compensation Claim in Oregon

There are essentially three ways to file a workers' compensation claim in Oregon:

1.  Through the Employer

The most common way to file a workers' compensation claim is through your employer.  This generally involves filling out and signing an 801 Form which the employer then sends to their workers' comp insurer for investigation.

Your employer must have 801 Forms on hand for when an injury is reported.  They should give you one immediately upon reporting your injury. If they do not, I recommend seeking medical attention as soon as possible and using an 827 Form at the doctor office to file your claim.

2.  Through the Doctor

Another common way to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits in Oregon is through your doctor's office.  Most doctors will ask you if your injury is work related.  If you answer yes, they will complete an 827 Form which you will also sign.  This form gets sent directly to the workers' comp insurer by the doctor's office.  Filling out an 827 Form at your doctor office counts as officially filing a claim.

3.  Through the Workers' Compensation Board

A final way to file a claim is directly through the Workers' Compensation Board of Oregon.  This is a "last resort" place to file a claim and usually only is needed when your employer refuses to acknowledge your claim or does not have workers' compensation insurer.  (It is illegal for an employer to not carry workers' compensation coverage for its employees.)

If you are in this situation, I recommend contacting a workers' compensation attorney or the Oregon Ombudsman for Injured Workers.

My phone number if (503) 975-5535 if you have any questions or need assistance with a claim.