Remedy for an Unfair Law
When Can You Sue Your Oregon Employer?
Normally, you cannot sue an employer, supervisor or co-worker. However, in certain circumstances, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against your company if your workers' compensation claim has been denied.
The Law Offices of Hansen Malagon in Portland is fighting these cases for clients across western Oregon. Contact us today to discuss all legal avenues to secure your medical coverage, lost wages and other benefits.
A Broken Agreement
Oregon's workers' compensation statute sets an unreasonable standard for proving that work duties caused a temporary or permanent disability. In many cases the law requires proof that a workplace injury or occupational disease is the major contributing cause (51 percent) of your condition in many cases.
There is no basis in common law for this extreme rule. No other state requires injured workers to meet this high threshold.
In a landmark case, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the major contributing cause standard breaks the bargain of workers' compensation — workers gave up their right to sue the employer in exchange for benefits regardless of fault the major cause standard denies workers the right to workers' compensation and they are left with no remedy for their injuries which was ruled to be unconstitutional.
The court says that (a) if the employer is at fault and (b) the employee cannot prove the major cause standard, a lawsuit for damages may be filed in state court. In "real court" the employee only has to prove that a work injury was one of the contributing factors.
Example: An employee with a pre-existing lung condition is negligently exposed to chemical fumes at work, develops chronic breathing problems and files an occupational disease claim for medical and disability benefits. The Workers' Compensation Board determines that the toxic exposure is not the major contributing cause, but was a contributing cause and rejects the claim. We could then file suit in state court for negligence.
If your work-related injury claim was unfairly denied, call us at 503-821-7934 or 866-661-8679 to discuss your legal remedies. We have offices in Portland, Gresham/Clackamas, Salem or Eugene/Springfield, or we can come to your hospital or home.