Workers’ Compensation Insurance Policy & Law in Oregon

How Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance Defined in Oregon?

The state of Oregon defines workers’ compensation insurance as a system of insurance that pays for workers’ medical treatment and lost wages in regard to workplace injuries or illnesses. Employers must pay the premiums for workers’ comp for their employees. In exchange for providing coverage to workers, workers’ comp benefits employers by protecting them from liability lawsuits associated with workers’ injuries or illness. In Oregon, the Workers’ Compensation Division (WCD) administers and regulates the laws around the state’s workers’ comp system. 

What Are the Laws Regarding Workers’ Compensation Coverage in Oregon? 

According to Oregon state law, all employers who have one or more employees, including full- or part-time employees, must have workers’ comp insurance. Independent contractors, sole proprietors, corporate officers with at least 10% ownership of the company, and LLC members are not legally required to be covered. 

In addition to providing coverage, all employers in Oregon that are legally required to have workers’ comp coverage must also display a Notice of Compliance poster in an easily visible location on the business premises. 

What Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover in Oregon?

Workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon covers expenses related to on-the-job injuries or illnesses. The benefits of workers’ comp include compensation for: 

  • Medical bills and expenses, including reimbursement for prescription medications, transportation, meals, lodging, and other related expenses up to a maximum established rate
  • Temporary total or partial disability benefits
  • Permanent total or partial disability benefits
  • Vocational assistance
  • Death benefits

What Are the Penalties in Oregon for Not Having Workers’ Comp Insurance Coverage?

Oregon takes workers’ compensation seriously. This means that employers who are legally required to have coverage and are found to be noncompliant by the Workers’ Compensation Division may be subject to penalties such as: 

  • Financial penalty of twice the amount of the premium that they should have paid for coverage, with a minimum of $1,000
  • Additional penalties of $250 per day for continued noncompliance
  • Permanent court injunction
  • Jail time

In addition to these penalties, uninsured employers are required by Oregon law to be financially responsible for providing the same benefits to their workers as a policy would have provided. In the event of a workplace injury or illness, those can total upward of $100,000. By Oregon law, this debt cannot be reduced by bankruptcy. In addition, employees in Oregon can file lawsuits in relation to their claim, resulting in more costs for the employer.

Learn more about workers’ comp coverage requirements in other states here

What Types of Injuries Are Covered by Oregon Workers’ Comp?

Oregon state law outlines specifically which types of injuries are covered by workers’ comp insurance. However, there are general guidelines that can help employers understand what typically qualifies for a workers’ comp claim.

The types of injuries typically covered by workers’ comp are:

  • Injuries that are not the result of intentional self-harm or harm from drug use, alcohol use, or fighting
  • Injuries that fall within the general “course and scope” of the worker’s employment, such as long-term occupational injuries, including back strain from repetitive motion

For more information about the workers’ comp claim process, visit our learning center

What Are Workers’ Comp Death Benefits in Oregon?

If a worker passes away due to a workplace injury or illness, their surviving spouse, children, and other eligible beneficiaries may receive death benefits in Oregon. These benefits include monthly payments, funeral expenses, and continued disability benefits if the worker was receiving permanent total disability benefits at the time of their passing. Visit the Oregon state website for more information on benefit amounts. 

How Do Workers’ Comp Settlements Work in Oregon? 

Like with other states, workers’ comp settlements in Oregon are mutually beneficial agreements made between the injured worker, their employer, and the insurance company that close workers’ comp claims. Settlements result in the employee being paid an agreed-upon amount of compensation (via structured monthly payments or one lump sum.) In exchange, the worker agrees not to pursue additional benefits or civil litigation in relation to the claim in the future, and the claim is closed permanently. 

What Are the Statutes of Limitations Regarding Workers’ Comp in Oregon? 

In Oregon, employees must file their workers’ comp claim within one year from the date of the injury or discovery of the illness. In addition, the injured employee must inform their employer of the injury or illness as soon as possible. The employer is required to notify their insurer of any insurable conditions within five days of the date of injury or discovery of illness. 

How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost in Oregon?

As in other states, premiums (or cost) of workers’ comp insurance in Oregon will vary depending on a variety of circumstances. Private insurers are allowed to set their own rates, which are usually determined using several factors that are unique to each business. 

For Oregon business owners looking for an insurer, the best way to tell how much you’ll pay is to compare quotes from multiple companies. Every business’s premiums will be different depending on claims history and business categorization. For example, if your business is considered low-risk, like an office, your rates might be lower than those of businesses that are considered high-risk, like transportation. 

Many factors unique to your business will be utilized to determine your exact insurance premiums. 

Some of these factors include: 

  • The location of your business
  • The size of your business and the number of employees 
  • The industry in which your business operates

If you’d like to lower your insurance premiums, there are preventative steps, such as prioritizing risk mitigation techniques, that might be able to help. Insurance providers consider how seriously businesses take workplace safety when calculating workers’ comp premium rates. This means that taking simple steps such as enacting employee training sessions, following industry best practices, and creating safety protocols could potentially help lower your insurance premiums. 

How Do I Get Workers’ Comp for My Oregon Business?

Business owners seeking workers’ comp coverage in Oregon can purchase a policy through any private insurance company, agent, or broker that is licensed to operate in the state. In addition, Oregon businesses can apply to self-insure. Self-insurance means that the business is held financially responsible for the cost of all claims and related expenses and must pay out of pocket without the assistance of insurance. This is not an ideal choice for many businesses, as it can be extremely costly in the event of an incident. 

Where Can I Get Workers’ Compensation For My Oregon Business?

We offer workers’ compensation to businesses no matter where you are in Oregon. If you are located in Eastern Oregon, on the Oregon coast, or in the Cascade Range, we’ll help you protect your Oregon employees.

If you need workers’ comp coverage for your Oregon business, you can purchase a policy through any private insurance company, agent, or broker that is licensed to operate in the state. So even if you aren’t in any of the following cities, know that we can still help you:

  • Portland
  • Eugene
  • Salem
  • Medford
  • Bend

Luckily, getting workers’ comp coverage in Oregon can be easy with the right private insurance provider. Cerity created a faster, more affordable way to get workers’ comp. We help Oregon business owners like you get insurance premium quotes with ease — without phone calls or paperwork. With proprietary tools and modern technology, we provide business owners with quick quotes and instant policies. 

Visit our free online quote tool and see how easy it is to protect your Oregon business today.

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The information provided is intended to provide a general overview. This information is not legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Cerity® makes no warranties for the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of the information provided, and will not be responsible for any actions taken based on the information contained herein. If you have legal questions or need legal advice, please consult an attorney.