The Workers’ Compensation Board recently decided a claim involving a request for attorney fees. Although this decision does not directly affect benefits for an injured worker, it is nonetheless important because it provides injured worker’s access to an attorney.
In this particular case, the injured worker, without the attorney’s help, made a "new medical condition claim." That claim was denied. The injured worker requested hearing, and then retained an attorney.
After the attorney was on board, the insurance company decided to accept the claim. However, it refused to pay the attorney for the work done on the case. The Workers’ Compensation Board ordered that an attorney fee be paid. It explained that the attorney began to prepare for the upcoming hearing, and that, as a result of the attorney’s involvement, the insurance company obtained a medical report that justified accepting the claim. Under these particular circumstances, the Board felt an attorney fee was appropriate.
Under the Workers’ Compensation statute, attorney fees are paid only if an attorney is “instrumental” in getting your claim denial overturned, or getting some other benefit for you that you did not have. All fees must be approved by the State of Oregon. So, if you have a workers’ compensation claim, and are not sure whether you are getting all the benefits you deserve, give us a call at 503-325-8600. We can review your claims file to make sure you know where you stand with your claim. We can also meet with you in our Astoria or Beaverton offices.