Workers need more protection/ Oregon Live

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Posted by Advocate on November 19, 1999 at 08:38:39:

This was found by a fellow injured worker..
In the letters to the editor...

Copyright 1999
Oregon Live
Workers need more protection
Wednesday, November 17, 1999

I have read about Terry Smothers' case before the Oregon Supreme Court, on the denial of his claim through workers' compensation (Nov. 8, Nov. 9). I'm glad someone finally had the courage to pursue this important issue, and I hope he wins.

Workers have traded off the ability to sue employers for huge sums of money for the guarantee that, if injured on the job, they would receive compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages. What I don't understand is why anyone would believe that these same workers would forgo their right to sue if that guarantee was substantially modified.

A negligent employer (or its insurer) should not get off the hook because an employee may have a condition that is aggravated by the work environment or the employer's negligence. Such appears to be Smothers' situation.

The only fair question to ask is "could the person adequately perform the work before the injury claim, and did something occurring at work limit or eliminate that person's ability to continue performing the work?"

If the answer is "yes," then the employee should (in most cases) receive compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.

DON A. JONES Southeast Portland



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