August 8, 2014

Non-Disabling vs. Disabling Workers' Compensation Claims

What is the Difference Between Non-Disabling and Disabling Workers' Compensation Claims in Oregon?

I get this question a lot...and the good news is that the answer is pretty straightforward:

Why the Non-Disabling or Disabling Classification?

The insurer classifies the claim as either non-disabling or disabling because only disabling workers' compensation claims must be formally closed.  Non-disabling claims just kind of peter out when the treatment is concluded - there is no need for a formal closure of the claim.

Non-Disabling Workers' Compensation Claims

A claim is non-disabling if the injured worker is not entitled to time loss (i.e., they are not missing work for the injury) and the injured worker is not expected to have permanent impairment from the injury.

So, if you have a relatively minor strain, do light duty for a week or two, but do not miss work and then get better, your claim would be classified as non-disabling.  You would be entitled to have all your medical treatment covered.

Disabling Workers' Compensation Claims

A claim is disabling if the injured worker is entitled to time loss (misses work for the injury) or they are expected to have permanent impairment from the injury.

So, if you sustained a disc herniation and missed work while it was healing, the claim would be disabling.  Also, if you did not miss work but had a surgery, the claim would be disabling because you would be expected to have some permanent impairment.  Your would be entitled to time loss and permanent impairment, as well as medical treatment.

Reclassification of Workers' Compensation Claim from Non-Disabling to Disabling

It is pretty common that a claim is classified as non-disabling when it should be disabling.  When this happens, you will need to request reclassification.  (Sometimes the insurer will reclassify the claim automatically, but sometimes they do not.)

If your claim needs to be reclassified, you will likely need a workers' compensation attorney to assist you.  The process of requesting reclassification is pretty simple, but the results (i.e., your claim becoming disabling) is significant in terms of your workers' compensation benefits.  If your claim needs to be reclassified, you should contact an attorney right away so you do not miss out on any of these benefits.

Please call us for a free consultation at (503) 975-5535 if you have any questions or need help reclassifying your workers' compensation claim.



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