Oregon's Workers' Compensation Insurance Law

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Who needs workers’ comp insurance in Oregon?

If your small business has employees, you need to carry workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon.

Even if you believe that you hire people as independent contractors, you must be sure that they actually meet the legal description of who qualifies. The courts have looked at these, and other questions, to determine whether a person is an independent contractor:

  • Do you control or direct how the work is performed?
  • Is the worker paid hourly, commission-based, by the job, or otherwise?
  • Do you supply tools, supplies, or equipment that the person uses to complete the job?
  • Could you fire the worker without breaching a contract?

If you’re not sure that someone is an independent contractor, seek advice from a workers’ compensation consultant to answer your questions.

Every employee, whether full- or part-time must be covered under workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon.

Do you need workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon if you are self-employed?

Sole proprietors in Oregon are not required to have workers’ compensation insurance.

Corporate officers: Usually, a corporate officer is not required to have workers’ compensation coverage if they also serve on the board and own at least 10% of the stock in the company. A construction company can have no more than two exempt officers unless it’s a family-run business.

Limited liability company members: Generally, a member of an LLC is exempt from workers’ compensation requirements in Oregon. These people would follow the same rules and exemptions as corporate officers.

However, if individuals are working under contracts for a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or LLC, they must also be considered independent contractors to be exempt.

 

What are the penalties for not having workers’ comp insurance in Oregon?

Oregon workers’ compensation is regulated by the Workers’ Compensation Division (WCD). If it’s determined that you didn’t have the correct coverage, you’ll incur a penalty of twice the amount of the premium that you should have paid for insurance, at a $1,000 minimum. If noncompliance continues, you would incur additional penalties of $250 per day, without a limit.

In extreme cases, if you fail to carry coverage, you could face additional penalties, including jail time.

 

What is the average cost of workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon?

The average cost of workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon is $1.02 per $100 in wages.

 

Workers’ compensation death benefits in Oregon

Oregon workers’ compensation death benefits are available to survivors of an employee who dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness. To claim benefits, the survivor must have been wholly or partially dependent on the deceased worker for financial support.

The following survivors are eligible for death benefits:

  • Spouse
  • Child up to age 18
  • Child up to age 23 who is enrolled in higher education
  • Parent or stepparent who is financially dependent
  • Grandparent, grandchild, sibling, half-sibling, niece or nephew who is financially dependent

The surviving spouse can receive up to 66% of the worker’s average weekly wage at the time of the injury, multiplied by 4.35, each month. The maximum monthly benefit is $2,921.

Each child can receive 25% of the worker’s average weekly wage, multiplied by 4.35, up to the monthly maximum, which is $5,841 for a spouse and all children, combined.

Any other survivors can receive 50% of the average monthly support that the worker had provided in the months before the injury, but not more than $419 per month.

Workers’ compensation insurance also covers up to about $19,000 in funeral and burial costs.

 

Workers’ comp settlements in Oregon

An Oregon workers’ compensation settlement is different from an award. An award is the actual benefit that the employee receives. The settlement is a contract between the insurer and the employee that provides a lump sum to the injured worker in exchange for the worker relinquishing rights to bring further claims based on the injury.

Oregon allows two types of settlements:

Claim disposition agreement. A CDA occurs when the insurance company accepts and voluntarily pays a claim. It doesn’t terminate the worker’s rights to further medical treatment, but it does release claims for:

  • Time-loss benefits
  • Permanent disability benefits
  • Vocational assistance, including job retraining
  • Reopening of the claim if the condition becomes worse or aggravated

Disputed claims settlement. If the insurer denies a workers’ comp claim in Oregon, the employee can appeal to the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division.

Settlements are based on the following factors:

  • Severity of injuries
  • Cost of medical care
  • Pre-injury wages
  • Ability to return to work
  • Need for job retraining
  • Whether there is conflicting evidence

 

Workers’ compensation statute of limitations in Oregon

Oregon employees must inform their employer as soon as possible when an injury has occurred. For most injuries, the Oregon statute of limitations requires that a workers’ comp claim be filed within one year from when the worker first discovered the work-related injury.

The employer is required to notify the insurer within five days of an insurable incident.

 

Compare free workers’ comp quotes with Insureon

Start a free online application today to compare workers’ compensation insurance quotes from leading U.S. carriers for your small business. Insureon’s licensed agents specialize in insurance for a variety of Oregon businesses.

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Workers' compensation insurance: Further reading

See workers' comp laws where you live