Oregon workers’ compensation insurance gives benefits to sick or injured workers. These benefits can help your employees recover from their work-related injuries or illnesses. It can also help them return to work faster. If disputes come up, the workers’ compensation
system can help resolve them.
Do You Need Workers’ Compensation Coverage in Oregon?
Oregon law requires most businesses to have workers’ compensation insurance.2 If you have employees, you likely need coverage.
Be aware that there are nearly 30 workers’ compensation exemptions
to the law.3
Some types of employees that don’t need workers’ comp coverage in Oregon include:4
- Domestic servants, or people working in a private home doing a domestic service, like home health workers.
- Employees hired by a homeowner to do gardening, maintenance, repair or remodeling work.
- Casual employees whose work isn’t part of a trade or profession of the employer.
- Employees earning less than $500 a year.
What Does Oregon Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Oregon’s workers’ comp system gives benefits to employees who get sick or hurt because of their job. It can also help provide payments to an employee’s beneficiaries if a work-related injury or illness causes them to lose their life.
Oregon workers’ compensation can help cover:
- Illnesses caused by exposure to harmful substances or allergens at work.
- Accident or injury caused from an employee’s work.
- Repetitive strain injuries, or repetitive stress injuries, that can develop over time.
Oregon Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Oregon workers’ compensation insurance from The Hartford can provide different benefits to help your employees with a work-related injury or illness. These benefits can help:
- Recover missed wages by providing an average weekly wage while your workers in Oregon are out of work recovering from their injury.
- Pay for ongoing care costs if your employee needs additional treatment for their work-related illness or injury, such as physical therapy.
- Provide disability payments if a work-related injury or illness leaves an employee temporarily or permanently disabled.
- Cover funeral expenses if an employee loses their life in a work-related incident.
- Pay for medical expenses related to an employee’s work-related injury or illness.
How Does Workman’s Comp Work in Oregon?
Your employee has to notify you if they get hurt or sick from their job. After that, you’ll have five days to report the injury to your insurance company.5
This starts the claims process. If your employee didn’t need medical treatment or only receives first aid, you don’t have to notify your insurer.6
Once you report the incident, your insurer will process the claim. It’s important you give them any information or documents they ask for, like details about your employee’s wages. This ensures your employee gets workers’ comp benefits in a timely manner.
Oregon Workers’ Compensation Laws
If you’re an employer in Oregon, you probably need workers’ compensation coverage. If you don’t have workers’ compensation insurance when you should, the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division (WCD) will send you an order.7 The order tells you how long you haven’t had coverage and the amount of your fine.
The penalty for your first offense is double the cost of your workers’ comp coverage. The minimum penalty is $1,000. After that, you can get charged $250 a day until you get coverage. If you receive a third order, WCD requests a court injunction to force you into compliance. Ignoring the third order means you’ll be in contempt of court and subject to other sanctions.8
Without workers’ comp coverage, you’ll end up paying more than just the penalties if an employee gets hurt or sick from their job. According to Oregon state law, an employer without insurance is financially responsible for the same benefits that insured employees get.
That means you’ll be responsible for paying for your employee’s medical costs and wage loss benefits if you don’t have coverage. The law also states a certified claims agent processes the claim. The business owner pays the processing fee and benefits.9
What Is the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Board?
The Oregon Workers’ Compensation Board oversees claims disputes, disagreements and workers' comp settlements
The Board aims to provide timely and impartial resolutions to disputes.
According to the Board, employees settle a workers’ comp claim through a claim disposition agreement (CDA). This means they’ll receive an agreed-upon amount of money, but give up their right to reopen the claim and:11
- Present and future time-loss benefits
- Present and future partial disability awards
- Permanent total disability awards
- Vocational benefits
If you disagree with your insurer about the validity of a workers’ comp claim, you can pursue a disputed claim settlement. You’ll receive a cash settlement, the claim will get denied and you’ll give up all rights to future benefits for the denied claim.
Be aware that your business will have to pay any future medical expenses for the employee if it’s related to their work-related injury or illness.12
Is Oregon a Monopolistic State for Workers’ Compensation?
Oregon is not a monopolistic state. You can get workers’ compensation insurance through a private insurance carrier or a state-run fund.
Oregon Workers’ Compensation Rates
Oregon workers’ compensation rates are some of the lowest in the country.13 Rates will drop for the eighth-straight year in 2021.14 Lower medical costs and less severe claims were factors in driving premiums down.15
In 2021, Oregon employers will pay an average of $1.00 per $100 of payroll for workers’ compensation.16
Workers’ comp rates will vary between insurance companies. Rates are set by individual class code or industry and advised by the NCCI, a national rate-making organization.17
Your final cost for workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon depends on different factors, including:
- How many years your company has been in business
- Your business’ claims history
- The type of work your workers do
How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Oregon?
You can also learn more about Oregon workers’ compensation and explore the Top 10 workman’s comp questions
frequently asked by small business owners and employees.
This article provides general information, and should not be construed as specific legal, HR, financial, insurance, tax or accounting advice. As with all matters of a legal or human resources nature, you should consult with your own legal counsel and human resources professionals. The Hartford shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, punitive or exemplary damages in connection with the use by you or anyone of the information provided herein.
17 NCCI, “NCCI State Map”