Many Oregon Workers' Compensation claims are accepted and processed without much problem. However, even with an accepted and open claim, there are a few things to consider in deciding whether you should talk to an attorney.
First, take a look at the Notice of Acceptance. This is a letter from the insurance company explaining what medical conditions have been accepted. You will want to make sure that the insurance company is accepting all of the medical conditions that resulted from your on-the-job injury. Otherwise, you may not be receiving all the benefits you deserve. The statute allows you to make a written request to the insurance company asking it to include additional medical conditions as part of the Notice of Acceptance. If the request is denied, you can seek review with the Oregon Workers' Compensation Board.
Another part of the Notice of Acceptance involves the "classification" of your claim. In Oregon, claims are classified as either "disabling" or "non-disabling." If you have missed work as result of your injury, or if your doctor expects that you will have a permanent impairment even after you have completed your medical care, then your claim should be classified as "disabling." You have one year from the date of the notice of acceptance to ask your insurance company to reclassify the claim. If the insurance company refuses to do so, you can seek review with the State of Oregon Workers' Compensation Division.
If you do have a disabling claim, you will receive a Notice of Closure. The Notice of Closure explains, among other things, whether you are entitled to a permanent partial disability benefit, and if so, how the benefit was calculated. You may want to have an attorney review the claims file to ensure that the permanent partial disability benefit was correctly calculated. If you disagree with the amount of permanent partial disability, you can seek review by filing a Request for Reconsideration with the Oregon Workers' Compensation division.
If you are in the middle of an Oregon Workers' Compensation claim, and have questions, call us at 503-325-8600, or order our free book. You can order the electronic version, or call and we will rush out a hard copy.