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Injured at Work

Oregon Workers' Compensation Terms
(compiled from various sources)

Terms do become obsolete and definitions change (and vary state-to-state) so always check another source before relying on the definitions below.

The State of Oregon Workers' Compensation Act can be found at Oregon Revised Statutes, Chapter 656. The law covers almost all workers employed publicly or privately in the State of Oregon. There are several Federal Workers' Compensation Acts that cover a wide variety of federally and privately employed employees. Some examples of the Federal Acts are the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Acts (LHWCA), the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA), the Federal Employees Liability Act (FELA), the Jones Act and the Black Lung Act.

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Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
The legal representative employed by the Workers’ Compensation Board who reviews appealed administrative orders, holds impartial hearings, and issues legal opinions. Formerly called a hearings referee.

A claim for aggravation is a worker's request for additional disability compensation stemming from a worsening of previously accepted conditions. ORS 656.273

American Medical Association Guides
The most widely used methods of rating functional impairment. They are a system of rating anatomical impairments for injured workers.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA is a federal civil rights law enacted in 1990 to protect individuals with disabilities from all types of discrimination, including that which is related to employment: recruiting, the hiring process, terms and conditions of employment, promotions and training procedures.

Ancillary Care
Care such as physical or occupational therapy provided by a medical service provider other than the attending physician.

Appeal Rights
Legal rights that any party may exercise when not satisfied with an insurer’s decision, action, WCB order, or WCD’s determination. ORS 656.283, 656.289, 656.298

Refers to the permanent disability benefits from part of the disability resulting from one injury and part from another, which may or may not have been work related. Causation is not apportioned and the cost of medical and temporary disability usually is not apportioned.

Attending Physician
A physician primarily responsible for the treatment of an injured worker. ORS 656.005(12)

Average weekly wage (AWW)
The Oregon average weekly wage of workers in covered employment, as determined by the Employment Department. ORS 656.211. The AWW is used to figure the rate of benefits in cases involving death by injury or death during permanent total disability. ORS 656.208. In cases involving temporary total disability or temporary partial disability benefits, the AWW rate used is the rate of the last quarter of the calendar year preceding the fiscal year in which compensation is paid. ORS 656.210, 656.212

Award Payments
Monthly payments made to a worker or a worker’s beneficiaries until the full amount of the award has been paid. ORS 656.216, 656.218


Board Certified
This is different than being licensed. In addition to licensing, some physicians may be board certified in their specialty after typically completing a period of training ("residency") in a particular specialty and passing an examination given by the board of that specialty. [link]


Chemically Induced Asthma
This asthma is caused by exposure to Isocyanates, a component of polyurethane, a 2-component paint. Exposures to sufficient levels of isocyanates will cause some people (generally 5 to 20 percent of an exposed population) to develop various acute reactions, including shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. There is also evidence to show that neurological problems may develop. [link]

Chronic Pain Syndrome
A subconscious psychological stress state prolonging pain through operate conditioning and pain behavior.

A written request for compensation from a subject worker or someone on the worker’s behalf, or any compensable injury of which a subject employer has notice or knowledge. ORS 656.005(6)

Claims Adjuster
Insurer representative who processes a claim filed by an injured worker. Also referred to as a claims examiner.

Compensable injury
An accidental injury, or accidental injury to prosthetic appliances, arising out of and in the course of employment requiring medical services or resulting in disability or death; an injury is accidental if the result is an accident, whether or not due to accidental means, if it is established by medical evidence supported by objective findings. ORS 656.005(7)(a) Subject to limitations, see ORS 656.005(7)(A-C).

All benefits, including medical services, provided for a compensable injury to a subject worker or the worker’s beneficiaries by an insurer or self-insured employer pursuant to this chapter. ORS 656.005(8)

Cumulative Trauma
The concept that repeated minor stresses either of a small or inconsequential nature over a period of time result in an injury or disability.


Sometimes confused with impairment. Disability represents how an impairment combined with the person's age, educational background, vocational background and other factors affect an injured workers' ability to return to work. Impairment is one part of assigning an overall disability.

Refers to the Workers' Compensation Division (WCD) of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. (DCBS)


A term which defines or is used to express whether or not a person is employable in certain fields or in the general labor market.

Employer at Injury
An employer in whose employ the worker sustained the compensable injury, or occupational disease.

Employer-at-Injury Program (EAIP)
Designed to encourage early return-to-work by helping employers use transitional work assignments for injured workers who are recovering from their injury. [details]

A temporary flare up of something related to a pre-existing condition, usually after an injury but recedes to its former level within a reasonable period of time.

Expedited claim service
If you disagree with actions taken in your claim, and your claim qualifies, you may receive an expedited hearing by the Hearings Division of the Workers’ Compensation Board within 30 days of your request for hearing. For information contact the Ombudsman for Injured Workers at 800-927-1271.


Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
The number assigned to a business by the Internal Revenue Service. This number is the primary identifier for employers in electronic data interchange (EDI) reporting.

Form 801 — First Report of Injury
The worker’s and employer’s report of occupational injury or disease.

Form 827 – Workers’ and Physician’s Report for Workers’ Compensation Claims
Includes first report of injury, report of aggravation, notice of change of attending physician, progress report, closing report, and palliative care request.

Form 1502 — Insurer Report
Form used by insurers to make status reports to WCD or to report new developments on active claims.

Form 1644 — Notice of Closure (NOC)
A document sent by the insurer to the injured worker that closes the claim, ends time-loss benefits, and states the extent of disability. ORS 656.268(5), OAR 436-030-0005(7). n

Functional Capacity Evaluation
Testing of a person's specific physical activities, of lifting, bending, pushing, pulling, etc., and the relationship to the ability to perform the demands of various jobs.


Governing Body
The members of any public body which consists of two or more members, with the authority to make decisions for or recommendations to a public body on policy or administration. ORS 192.610(3). "Public body" means the state, any regional council, county, city or district, or any municipal or public corporation, or any board, department, commission, council, bureau, committee or subcommittee or advisory group or any other agency thereof. ORS 192.610(4).

Guaranty Contract
A contract between the insurer and the department guaranteeing workers’ compensation insurance coverage for an employer.


A medical term which is sometimes confused with disability. Impairment is what is anatomically or physically wrong with an individual and is a means where the medical care provider assigns a numerical rating for whatever type of bodily function has been lost.

Impairment Findings
A permanent loss of use or function of a body part or system as measured by a physician. OAR 436-035-0005(7).

Insurer Medical Exam (IME) [formerly stood for Impartial Medical Exam]
An examination of an injured worker by a physician other than the worker’s attending physician upon the request of the insurer. [more]


Lost wages
Consists of temporary payments made when injuries are severe enough to prevent the injured from working. The terms "temporary total disability", "lost wages", and "workers' comp payments" generally mean the same thing. Most systems provide for payment of two-thirds of the workers gross wages up to a pre-determined limit. These benefits are generally paid every two weeks, and are not taxable.


Managed care organization (MCO)
An organization with which an insurer may contract to provide medical services. OAR 436-015, ORS 656.260.

Medical care
Medical Care is generally provided on workers' compensation benefits without any "deductible". Generally, the claimant can choose his or her physician. However, due to the advent of Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) the injured workers ability to choose a doctor has been somewhat limited.

Medically stationary
No further material improvement would reasonably be expected from medical treatment, or the passage of time. ORS 656.005(17).

Medical mileage
Payment to the injured worker for mileage to and from the doctors office exists in most workers' compensation systems. "Medical mileage" is generally considered to be a medical benefit.

Modified work
When the physical or durational demands of employment duties must be altered to accommodate a patient's impairment, that worker is said to require "modified work."


Notice of Closure (NOC) — Form 1644
A document sent by the insurer to the injured worker that closes the claim, ends time-loss benefits, and states the extent of disability. ORS 656.268(5), OAR 436-030-0005(7). n


Obtained employment purchases (OEP)
Items required by an employer, such as tools, equipment, clothing, and tuition, that can be purchased through the Preferred Worker Program.

Ombudsman for Injured Workers
The Office of the Ombudsman for Injured Workers was established as an independent advocate for Oregon's injured workers. It helps injured workers dealing with the workers' compensation system at no cost. [details]

Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR)
Rules and regulations from DCBS, filed with the secretary of state, used to administer workers’ compensation laws in Oregon.

Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS)
Statutes published by the Legislative Counsel Committee that include ORS 656, the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Law, and ORS 654, the Oregon Safe Employment Act.


Palliative care
Medical service rendered to reduce or moderate temporarily the intensity of an otherwise stable medical condition, but does not include those medical services rendered to diagnose, heal or permanently alleviate or eliminate a medical condition. ORS 656.005(20).

Permanent Disability
If the injured worker suffers permanent disability as a result of his or her injury, he or she will often be able to recover a permanent disability payment. Generally, a determination of "permanent" disability will not be made until the injured worker is considered to be "medically stationary" or "medically stable". Depending on the nature of the injury, a permanent disability award will either be "scheduled" or "unscheduled".

Permanent Impairment
The loss of use or function of a body part due to a compensable injury.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
The permanent loss of use or function of any portion of the body as defined by ORS 656.214.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
The loss of use or function of any portion of the body in combination with any preexisting disability that permanently prevents the worker from regularly performing gainful and suitable work. ORS 656.206

Preferred Worker Program (PWP)
The Preferred Worker Program encourages the reemployment of Oregon workers whose on-the-job injuries have resulted in permanent disability. Preferred Workers can't return to the jobs they were doing at the time of injury because of their disabilities and haven't refused appropriate work with their employers-at-injury. [details]

Private Rehabilitation Organization (PRO)
A private rehabilitation organization is a business that contracts with insurers to provide or manage vocational counseling and return-to-work services to injured workers.

Pure premium rate
The average rate employers pay to their insurance company for workers’ compensation coverage.


Reconsideration is a review of your claim closure, at your request, by an appellate reviewer in the Workers’ Compensation Division (WCD). A worker liaison (see below) is available to help you through the process. [details]

Regular work
The job the worker held at the time of injury or a substantially similar job.


Scheduled disability
A term used to rate impairment type (see unscheduled). It includes the complete or partial loss of use or function of an arm, hand, finger, leg, foot, toe, or other extremity of the body or the loss of visual or hearing ability. These body parts are on a schedule listing dollar amounts applied per body part so that all Oregon injured workers receive the same payments for the same disability, regardless of what job they performed at the time of injury. ORS 656.214.


Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
"Generally" means that the injured workers is only able to do some type of limited work for a short period of time and that further recovery is expected.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
"Generally" means that a person is unable to do any type of work for a temporary period of time. Workers' compensation payments are usually paid while the injured worker is out of work.

Time-loss payments
Compensation paid to an injured worker who loses time or wages as a result of compensable injury.


Unscheduled disability
A term used to rate impairment type (see scheduled). It applies to impairment of those body parts not listed as scheduled. Most often this includes body parts such as cervical, upper and mid-back, shoulder, and low back and hip areas. It includes injury or disease affecting the following body systems: lung, heart, stomach, bladder/bowel, brain and nervous, blood, hormone, skin, tear, and immune. It also includes psychological conditions. The amount of benefits paid depends on how the disability affects the worker’s ability to earn a wage by considering age, education, and ability to perform work. ORS 656.214(6).


Vocational Rehabilitation
If an injured worker cannot return to his or her job at injury, and they have a permanent disability, they may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation assistance. The level of this assistance varies greatly between jurisdictions. The level of assistance ranges from simple help with the drafting of a resumé all the way through full payment of time loss while the person gets two years of training. There is a set maximum amount paid toward schooling costs.


Worker Liaison
Helps workers understand the reconsideration process. Explains options, answers questions, and helps you complete a Request for Reconsideration. Assistance is free. However, the liaison is not an advocate and cannot provide legal advice. To ask for a worker liaison, contact the Appellate Review Unit, (503) 947-7816 or toll-free, (800) 452-0288.

Workers’ Benefit Fund
A special fund created by 1995 legislation for financial management of cents-per-hour assessment revenues and expenses. A number of programs are supported through this fund, such as Handicapped Workers Program, Reemployment Assistance Program, Reopened Claims Program, and Retroactive Program.

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