Oregon Court Finds Worker Was Doing Her Job When Injured

Posted on Oct 01, 2014

When an injured worker makes a claim for an on-the-job injury and Oregon, the injured worker must prove two things:

  1. That the injury occurred in the course and scope of his or her work;
  2. That the injury arose out of work activity.

These requirements can be pretty straightforward. “In the course and scope of” refers to whether the injured worker was on the clock, or at work when the injury happened. The “arose out of” requirement deals with what the injured worker was doing at the time the injury occurred.

The Workers’ Compensation Board and the Courts do not look at these two requirements separately, but instead consider them factors in determining overall whether not there was sufficient connection to work activity when the injury occurred.

In this particular case, the Board was dealing with a home health-care worker who is involved in a motor vehicle collision while driving a client to breakfast. The employer argued that the injury did not occur within the course and scope of employment because the home Health Care worker was not performing a task that was included on her “task list” maintained with the Oregon Department of Human Services. The Court of Appeals did not buy this argument, explaining that if the Legislature wanted to limit coverage for on-the-job injuries to the those things arising from activities associate it with a “task list,” it would have made special provision in the workers’ compensation statute, like it does for other special classes of workers. Basically, the Court found that the employer was trying to rewrite the Worker’s Compensation statute in making these arguments.

This case illustrates the complexity of “course and scope” denials. There are many varieties of employment relationships, and as a result, these cases are often unique, and require significant investigation.

We have experience handling these types of denied workers’ compensation claims, and can help you know where you stand with your claim. If you have questions, call us at 503-325-8600. We can look at the facts of your case, and tell you where you stand.