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The A-Z guide to Oregon Workers' Comp

Oregon Workers’ Comp Laws

Under Oregon workers’ comp laws, insurance is required for businesses that employ one or more workers, both full-time and part-time. Workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon provides medical and wage protection for workers that get injured or sick on the job.

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Anyone who makes less than $1,000 a month doesn't have to be covered.

Anyone self-employed without workers is not required to have workers’ comp insurance.

Is workers’ comp insurance required in Oregon? 

Yes, workers’ compensation insurance is required in Oregon for businesses who employ one or more full-time or part-time workers. Workers’ compensation insurance covers employees that get injured or sick on the job. 

Who is exempt from Oregon’s workers’ comp requirements?

In Oregon, there is an exemption related to a minimum payroll threshold. As of 2022, according to Oregon’s workers’ comp laws, monthly labor costs of less than $1,000 are considered casual labor and are not covered under workers’ compensation insurance laws in Oregon.

Do you need workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon if you’re self-employed? 

Anyone self-employed (without full-time or part-time workers) is not required to have workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon . According to Oregon workers’ compensation laws, self-employed workers need to be covered by a company’s workers’ comp plan if they are hired for a project for the duration of the project. 

How much is workers’ comp coverage in Oregon?

Your Oregon workers’ comp rate will depend on the following factors:

  • The type of business you have
  • The size of your payroll
  • Your safety record
  • Claim history
workers comp policy cost

How can Oregon small business owners save money on workers' comp?

Workers’ comp policies can be expensive, however, there are things you can do to save some money.

How does workers’ comp work in OR?

If you need workers’ comp insurance for your business, you'll start by getting an insurance quote from a few different agents based on your estimated annual payroll

Then you need to pick the one you like best and finalize the policy. The policy will last for 12 months. 

You will get to pick a payment plan, choose one that works with your cash flow. Common options include monthly, quarterly or pay-as-you-go.

At the end of the policy, the insurance company will do an audit to see if your estimated payroll matches the actual payroll costs. If you underestimated, you’ll get a bill. If you overestimated, you’ll get a refund.

Coverage includes medical treatment, lost wages, and in dire cases, funeral and death benefits.

What does workers’ comp cover in Oregon?

Workers who file a workers' comp claim in Oregon can receive benefits for the following:

workers comp covers medical bills

Medical bills

workers comp covers lost wages

Lost Wages

Workers' comp coverage also protects employers from legal action. This means that if an employee sues your business because of a workplace injury, the insurance will cover the legal costs of the case.

How to get workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon

You can get insurance from any insurance company that operates in Oregon. Most agents will ask for your estimated annual payroll numbers and what your employees do to get started.

If you are in a very risky industry or have a few bad claims, it will be harder to find an insurance company that is willing to take the risk to insure your company. In that case, you may have to use the state fund. This is usually more expensive and is the last resort.

Businesses that are really big have the option to self-insure. This means that they formally take the risk of managing and paying claims in-house and don’t have typical insurance.

You can reach out to the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division for more information on insurance to protect yourself and your employees. 

What can happen if I don’t have workers’ comp insurance in  OR?

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to have a workers’ compensation insurance policy for your employees. 

Here’s what can happen if you don't have one:

  • The first offense for non-compliance is met with twice the amount of the premium that you should have paid for insurance, which is a minimum of $1,000. 
  • Subsequent offenses are met with fine increases of up to $250 per day per employee for every day of additional non-compliance since the first offense. 
  • If a worker is injured and not under workers’ compensation insurance, the employer is required to pay for lost wages and medical expenses. There will also be processing fees that could add up to hundreds of thousands in penalties. 
  • If non-compliance persists, employees can file lawsuits against their employers to recover what should have been paid in insurance expenses. 

To avoid legal repercussions, it’s crucial for employers to comply with Oregon laws on workers’ compensation insurance. Non-compliance with Oregon workers’ comp laws could rack up significant debts in penalties and legal fees, which may result in a shutdown of your business. 

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What are workers’ comp death benefits in OR?

Oregon law requires worker’s compensation insurance to pay out in monthly payments to a deceased worker’s beneficiaries, which can include a spouse, children, and other dependents or cohabitants. 

Insurance covers funeral expenses, as well as monthly wages for everyday expenses.

For those who wish to claim death benefits in accordance with Oregon workers’ comp laws, proof of on-the-job negligence, exposure, or accident is required. 

How do workers’ comp settlements work in OR?

In Oregon, workers’ compensation settlements operate on CDAs, which are claim disposition agreements. Employees and employers agree upon a lump sum amount as a settlement, allowing a business to avoid legal repercussions and get immediate money for medical expenses and everyday financial needs. 

When signing a CDA in Oregon, employees give up the following benefits: 

  • Present and future wage replacements
  • Permanent partial disability benefits
  • Permanent total disability benefits 
  • Job retraining, placement, and other vocational benefits

There are several factors that influence settlement amounts, such as the total value of the settlement to include time-loss benefits and permanent impairment.

What are the statutes of limitation on workers’ comp claims in OR?

Filing a Workers’ compensation insurance claim in Oregon has to be within the following timelines: 

  • Unlawful employment practice claims have to be filed within one year after the practice occurred. 
  • Discrimination that resulted in injury or illness claims must be filed within five years after the event. 
  • Filing a claim or reopening an old claim must be done within five years of work-related injury. 

How do I get a workers’ comp insurance policy with Kickstand Insurance?

Start by filling out a short online form about your business. We’ll use that info to get you an estimated quote. Then, one of our experienced agents will contact you to review the quote and make sure you are getting the absolutely lowest rate possible for your business. Once the quote is finalized, you’re ready to buy the policy - often with coverage starting that day!

Learn more about Workers' Comp in Oregon

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