In this recent Oregon Workers' Compensation Board case, the injured worker gave notice of intent to resign, but then prior to leaving work, was injured. The injured worker worked for approximately two days after her injury, but then her doctors took her off work. The employer paid temporary total disability benefits until the injured worker was released to a light-duty job. After being released for light duty, the injured worker’s benefits stopped, and she requested a hearing.
Both parties agreed that the employer would normally have offered light duty jobs to employees who are injured on the work and that this work would a been offered to the Claimant had she not resigned. However, both parties also agreed that the injured worker planned to continue working part time while attending school, and that the injured worker would have accepted light duty work from the employer.
At the hearing, the ALJ found that because the injured worker had not withdrawn from the work force, or refused any employment offers of modified work, temporary total disability should be reinstated. The employer appealed.
The Oregon Workers’ Compensation Board explained that temporary total disability benefits (which is also called "time loss") are a wage replacement benefits, and because the injured worker did not refuse a job offer, or withdraw from the work force, she was entitled to temporary total disability. The Board explained that in this case, the injured worker was in the work force when her disability began, despite her intentions to resign. Also, the Board found that because the employer did not actually offer any light duty work, time loss benefits should continue. The employer argued that it should not be required to offer work to an employee that had resigned, but the Board relied upon the strict requirements in the statute, and disagreed.
Time loss benefits are often the life blood of an Oregon Workers' Compensation claim, and if your benefits have been stopped, or you have any questions about your claim, call us at 503-325-8600. With offices in Beaverton and Astoria, we are available to answer your questions.