76 File Workers’ Comp Appeals in Oregon

July 1, 2011

There were 76 Workers’ Compensation Board decisions appeals to the Oregon Court of Appeals in 2010 — one more than in 2009 — according to the state Department of Consumer and Business Services.

The rate at which board-review orders were appealed to the court was 14 percent for orders on review (the lowest rate since at least 1983), and 12 percent for all orders, DCBS’ report said. The worker was the petitioner in 67 percent of all the cases with a 2010 court decision or remand.

There were 48 court decisions on WCB orders in 2010 (based on the date of the slip opinion), 10 more than 2009’s record-low count. These court decisions were affirmations or reversals of WCB on workers’ compensation cases. The count excludes:

  • Court dismissals (26 cases). The reasons for court dismissal were as follows: petitioner motion, 38 percent settlement, 35 percent; petitioner in default, 12 percent; want of prosecution, 12 percent; and timeliness, 4 percent.
  • Court remands to the board (three cases). An order is classified as a “remand” when the court does not rule on the primary issue, nor directs a specific resolution by the board. The reasons for remanding (one case each): the board didn’t have the benefit of a recent court decision, the court disagreed with the board’s interpretation of a statute, and for the board to determine something.
  • WCD contested cases (three cases). The director found that two workers were ineligible for vocational service benefits, and another was not entitled to interim medical benefits. The court affirmed the director’s order in each case.

The relative frequency of the compensability issues (64.6 percent) was down from the 2007-2009 values of more than 70 percent, while the relative frequency of cases about extent of permanent or temporary disability (16.7 percent) was the highest since 2005.

The most frequent other issues, including those in cases with a specified issue, were insurer penalty, five cases; attorney fees, four cases; timeliness, three cases; and evidence, three cases.

The court set aside denials in 12 or 31 cases (38.7 percent), and ruled that denials should be set aside in 11 of the 31 cases. The court affirmed the board in all cases except one whole-claim denial case and one other jurisdiction case. The overall affirmation rate was 95.8 percent.

To view the full report, visit http://www.cbs.state.or.us/imd/rasums/2340/web10/10_2340.pdf.

Source: DCBS

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