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By Jodie Anne Phillips Polich, P.C.

In Workers' Compensation

If you suffer an injury on the job or come down with an illness or other medical condition due to your work, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits through your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer.

However, you may not be aware of the benefits you are entitled to under Oregon workers’ compensation laws. Generally speaking, workers’ compensation provides four different categories of benefits to workers who suffer a work-related injury or occupational illness.

Different Types of Workers’ Compensation in Portland

If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or occupational illness, contact the Law Office of Jodie Anne Phillips Polich, P.C. today to speak to a Portland workers’ compensation attorney. The consultation is free and confidential. Don’t hesitate to learn more about the different types of workers’ compensation that you might receive for your workplace injury or occupational illness.

Medical Benefits

Most importantly, workers’ compensation pays for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment and rehabilitation for an employee’s work injury or occupational illness. This includes:

  • Doctors’ office visits
  • Hospital stays
  • Surgeries
  • Medications
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Medical equipment like crutches or braces

Except for emergency care, your treating medical providers will usually be required to obtain authorization from your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer before rendering treatment that will be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer may also require you to obtain covered treatment from a provider authorized by your employer or the insurer.

You may be assigned a specific authorized provider, or you may be allowed to select a provider from a list of authorized professionals or facilities. However, depending on your employer’s workers’ compensation policy, you may also be allowed to obtain covered treatment from your own doctors.

Disability Benefits

Disability benefits under workers’ compensation are intended to provide a partial replacement for wages or income that you lose out on because your injury or illness interferes with your ability to work. Disability benefits come in four different types:

  • Temporary total disability benefits –If due to a work injury or occupational illness, your treating physician authorizes time off from work, you may receive partial wage replacement equal to two-thirds of your pre-injury/illness gross average weekly wage, up to a maximum (as of 2021) of $1,454.24 per week. You will not receive benefits for the first three days of missed work until you have missed at least 14 days of work due to a work injury or occupational illness. Temporary total disability benefits end once you are cleared by your doctor to return to full duty or when your doctor determines your disability has reached maximum medical improvement.
  • Temporary partial disability benefits – These benefits are paid if you can return to light or modified duty, but as a result of such light or modified duty, suffer a reduction in your earnings. You may receive benefits equal to two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury/illness average weekly wage and the reduced weekly wage you are now earning.
  • Permanent partial disability benefits – If you suffer a permanent impairment to a body part or bodily function but can still perform work in some capacity, you could receive a financial award for your disability. The exact amount of the award is based on the body part or bodily function that is affected and the extent, or rating, of your disability, as determined by medical examination.
  • Permanent total disability benefits – If your work injury or occupational illness leaves you permanently unable to perform any gainful work, you may receive permanent total disability benefits, equal to two-thirds of your pre-injury/illness average weekly wage. Benefits may be no less than 33 percent and no more than 133 percent of the state average weekly wage of $1,093.43 (as of July 2020). Permanent total disability benefits may be paid for the rest of your life, or until you are determined to be no longer totally disabled. Your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer may, from time to time, request you submit to a medical exam to confirm that you remain totally disabled from working.

Rehabilitation Benefits for Career Support

The Oregon workers’ compensation system also provides rehabilitation benefits to help you get back to work. These benefits include financial resources for your employer to help you transition back to work, especially when your work injury or illness prevents you from returning to full duty.

Rehabilitation benefits also include vocational assistance for workers who suffer permanent limitations due to their work injury or illness that prevents the worker from returning to their pre-injury/illness job or from working in another job within their physical limitations and education/training/skill that pays at least 80 percent of their pre-injury/illness wages. This vocational assistance can include both training in new types of work as well as job-placement services.

Death Benefits

If a worker dies due to a workplace injury or occupational illness, the Oregon workers’ compensation system requires certain benefits to be paid to the surviving spouse, children, and other eligible dependents of the deceased worker. Death benefits under workers’ compensation may include (as of July 1, 2020):

  • Funeral and burial expense reimbursement of up to $21,868.20 (unpaid balance paid to the worker’s estate)
  • Payments to a surviving spouse of $3,171.05 per month
  • Payments to surviving children of $1,189.08 per month for children up to age 19 (or up to age 26 if attending GED or higher education courses), with a combined maximum of $6341.62 per month for all children
  • Payments to surviving dependents (named relatives who received at least 50 percent of their average monthly support from the deceased worker over the prior 12 months) of up to $475.63 per month

Children of deceased workers may also be eligible for scholarships for post-secondary or trade school education.

Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Portland

After you’ve been injured in a workplace accident or have come down with an occupational illness due to your job, contact the Law Office of Jodie Anne Phillips Polich, P.C. for a free consultation with a Portland workers’ compensation lawyer. We’ll discuss what workers’ compensation benefits you might receive and how our attorney can help you with your workers’ comp claim.

Jodie Anne Phillips Polich has been serving the needs of injured workers since 1993 and has developed a statewide reputation for the quality of her work.