Occupational Disease Claims in Oregon Workers' Compensation
In general, an occupational disease is something that develops over time. The most common examples are carpal tunnel syndrome and hearing loss. Stress claims are also considered occupational diseases, even when related to a single event.
The burden of proof for an occupational disease claim falls on the injured worker and their attorney. The injured worker must prove their work is major contributing cause of the diagnosed condition. This means the injured worker must prove that his or her overall employment (from their whole life) is the major contributing cause (greater than 50 percent) of the occupational disease. For example, if a truck driver developed hearing loss, it would be their burden to prove that their employment over their lifetime is the greater than 50 percent cause of the hearing loss. This burden can be difficult to prove and it is generally harder to prevail on an occupational disease claim than an injury claim.
The good news is that all employment can be counted toward the claim. This includes any military service and self-employment.
Deadline for Filing of Occupational Disease Claims in Oregon Workers' Compensation
The statute of limitations for an occupational disease claim is one year from when a doctor first informs the worker their condition is related to their employment. This does not mean that getting hearing aids from Costco triggers this deadline for a hearing loss case. But, if an ear, nose and throat doctor told an injured worker five years ago that their hearing loss was work-related, the deadline to file the claim would be passed.