February 3, 2015

What is Work Disability?

Work Disability in Oregon Workers' Compensation Law

Work disability refers to a type of disability that sometimes comes from a workers' compensation injury.  It also refers to the related financial award.

There are two main types of disability from a workers' compensation injury.  The first is "permanent impairment" which is impairment related to physical disabilities such as range of motion, sensation loss, or an amputation.

The second is "work disability" which is impairment of your ability to work.  Work disability essentially means your limitations that keep you from being able to return to regular work.  If you have some limitations but you are still able to return to the job at injury, you do not have work disability.  But, if you have permanent work restrictions that do keep you from returning to your job at injury, you have work disability.

For example, if you were a lawyer and had a lifting restriction, you would still be able to work as a lawyer so you would not have work disability.  If you were a UPS driver and you had a 30 pound lifting restriction, you would not be able to return to work and would have work disability.

Work disability is calculated when an injured worker becomes medically stationary.  The attending physician determines whether the injured worker can return to regular work and, if not, what the permanent work restrictions are.  The insurance company uses the permanent restrictions from the attending physician to calculate the work disability award which is included in the Notice of Closure.

This is one of the more complicated areas of workers' compensation law and can be pretty confusing.  If you have any questions about a work disability award, or your Notice of Closure, it is a good idea to ask a workers' compensation lawyer.

You can call us at 503-975-5535 any time for a free consultation.