Oregon workers’ compensation law requires coverage for every employee, whether full- or part-time. Workers’ compensation provides medical benefits and partial lost wages for a person who’s been injured on the job.
Every business with employees needs to carry workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon.
Independent contractors do not need coverage, but Oregon employers who hire independent contractors need to make sure that they meet the legal description. The courts have looked at these, and other questions, to determine whether a person is an independent contractor or an employee:
If you’re not sure that someone is an independent contractor, seek advice from a workers’ compensation consultant to answer your questions.
Sole proprietors in Oregon are not required to have workers’ compensation insurance, though they can choose to purchase it. It's always a good idea to carry workers' comp, as health insurance plans can deny claims for injuries related to work.
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.
The National Council on Compensation Insurance sets premium rates for different job classifications, based on their amount of risk. The rates are subject to approval by the Oregon Commissioner of Insurance.
Under the NCCI system, an employee in a high-risk industry, such as landscaping, would have a higher workers' comp rate than a software developer or other worker with a desk job. This rate is used in an equation that takes into account other variables, such as the employer's claims history.
In some cases, small business owners can choose to buy pay-as-you-go workers' compensation. This type of workers' comp policy has a low upfront premium, and lets you make payments based on your actual payroll instead of estimated payroll. It's useful for businesses that hire seasonal help or have fluctuating numbers of employees.
Finally, a documented safety program can help lower workers' comp costs. A safer workplace means fewer accidents, which helps keep your premium low.
The Oregon workers' compensation system ensures coverage of medical expenses for workplace injuries and occupational diseases. It also provides temporary disability benefits while workers are recovering, usually two-thirds of the worker's average weekly wage.
Workers' comp policies usually include employer's liability insurance, which covers legal expenses if an employee blames their employer for an injury. The exclusive remedy provision in most workers' comp policies prohibits an employee from suing their employer once they accept workers' comp benefits.
Workers' compensation benefits in Oregon include:
For details, visit the Oregon Workers' Compensation Division's page for injured workers.
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, business owners who fail to carry coverage could face additional penalties, including jail time.
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:
Workers’ compensation insurance also covers up to about $20,000 in funeral and burial costs. For details, visit the Workers' Compensation Division's page on death benefits.
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.
The State of 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:
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:
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’ compensation 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.
Start a free online application today to compare workers’ compensation quotes from leading U.S. insurance carriers for your small business. Insureon’s licensed agents specialize in insurance for a variety of Oregon businesses.