Hurt On The Job: Common Mistakes (Part 1)
Getting hurt on the job is an unwelcomed event in a person’s life and is full of pitfalls and traps if not maneuvered correctly. This blog post will be the first of a series of posts that deal with common mistakes made when an injured worker is hurt on the job in Oregon.
One of the first mistakes made when an injured worker is hurt on the job, is to not inform a supervisor and/or owner immediately. Most employee handbooks and/or work rules require that an employee notify their supervisor as soon as a work injury occurs. A failure to do this will often lead to doubts as to the validity of a claim and can also result in suspension and/or termination of the employee for failure to do so. Termination of an employee for failure to report an on-the-job injury can lead to all kinds of unintended consequences as it pertains to an ongoing workers’ compensation claim in Oregon. Some of those consequences will be discussed in this post below and in other posts as part of this series.
As mentioned above, a failure to report a claim immediately to a supervisor can also cast doubt as to the validity of a claim; this is especially true, if there were no witnesses to the event. For example, a person slips and falls at work, but no other employees were there to witness the event. After this occurs, the injured worker does not think much of it at first, but as the days and weeks go by, their body begins to hurt more and more, which eventually requires treatment. A lot can happen during this time. A person gets terminated, the bruising and/or any physical evidence of the accident can now be gone. Any of these scenarios can cause the insurer, the employer and even doctors to doubt the validity of the claim that was not immediately reported and/or filed with the employer. ALWAYS REPORT AN ON-THE-JOB INJURY IMMEDIATELY TO A SUPERVISOR OR OWNER OF THE COMPANY.
A second common mistake that occurs often with on-the-job injuries is to wait more than 90 days to actually file a claim. Please do not be confused about hat we just discussed above. There is a big difference in reporting an injury to a supervisor or owner VERSUS filing a valid workers’ compensation claim in Oregon.
The best way to initiate an Oregon Workers’ Compensation claim is to not only report the incident immediately, but to also fill out an 801 FORM with your employer. Filling out this form with ones employer is the triggering event that allows an insurance company to start processing your claim for benefits. If the claim is not processed, there will be no medical benefits or time loss benefits provided to the injured worker. There is some confusion in Oregon as to whether the visit with the doctor will actually trigger the claim with the insurance company. The answer is YES, if an 827 form was filled out with the doctor, that form should be enough to trigger the claim with the insured. However, that should be considered a fall back provision rather than the proper way to file the claim. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, FILL OUT AN 801 FORM WHEN HURT ON THE JOB. This should happen immediately and should be as concise and accurate as possible.
A third mistake as alluded to above, is the failure for an injured worker to seek prompt immediate medical attention. In Oregon, for a claim to be compensable, the injuries sustained must be supported by “objective” evidence. The best objective evidence is the evidence found early on while visiting the doctor. For instance, if you fall down at work and land on your knee, any bruising or red marks seen could satisfy the “objective” evidence requirement. The case becomes problematic when the bruising and red marks vanish and the injured worker is left with ongoing symptoms in (lets says the knee) with little or no objective support to substantiate the ongoing complaints.
If the injured worker sought prompt medical attention and the bruising and/or red marks were observed by a medical provider, that would at least be enough to get the claim started. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, SEEK PROMPT MEDICAL ATTENTION WHEN HURT ON THE JOB. In part two of this series, we will talk about what type of medical doctor one should go to and other common mistakesassociated with Oregon Workers’ Compensation Claims.
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2.
The above information is NOT a substitute for legal advice and should not be interpreted as the dissemination of legal advice. It is only meant as general guidance on various issues which may be applicable to your situation. It is critical that you
consult with an experienced attorney before taking any legal action or have specific questions addressing your particular case answered.