[fusion_dropcap boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”” class=”” id=”” color=””]I[/fusion_dropcap]n virtually every compensation scheme, there are, what lawyers refer to as, statute of limitation. The statute of limitations sets out the time limits under which claims can be filed. It is presumed that people know their rights and obligations (even when it is usually not true).
Oregon’s Workers’ Compensation Act is no different. If you suffer an industrial injury, statute provides that “notice of an accident resulting in an injury or death shall be given immediately by the worker or beneficiary of the worker to the employer, but not later than 90 days after the accident.” ORS 656.265(1)(a).
The statute also provides that the notice must be in writing, but case law has changed that. If the employer is made aware of the injury within that 90 days by any means (including observation) then that is timely. The notice must provide the employer enough information that the employer is aware that he or she should have conducted an investigation.
Generally speaking, the worker should file the claim within a year, although again case law has changed the claim filing so that as long as notice was provided within 90 days, it is irrelevant when the claim is actually filed.
Despite these loop holes in the law, it is much better to provide notice immediately in writing and to file the claim immediately in writing so that the carrier is obligated to process it. When notice and claim filing take too long, they create unnecessary delays in claim processing that benefit no one and, quite frankly, injure the employee. It is also best to remember that regardless of what the injured worker thinks should happen, it is always best to simply file the claim promptly and let the chips fall where they may.
This link goes to a case that was tried by my office, and it discusses a lot of this very complicated law. It also demonstrates the potential large delay in getting benefits.