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    Danae Hammitt   

Claim Disposition Agreement

Under Oregon law, an injured worker may settle a workers' compensation claim except for medical benefits and eligibility for preferred worker status. Such a settlement is usually called a "compromise and release" or "claim disposition."

Effects of a claim disposition agreement

In return for an agreed upon amount of money, an injured worker may give up or "release" the right to such things as:

  • All rights under Chapter 656 other than those under ORS 656.245
  • Claim closure and disability rating
  • Vocational assistance benefits
  • An award for permanent partial disability
  • Monthly payments for permanent total disability
  • Future time-loss benefits
  • Aggravation rights to reopen claim
  • Survivor's benefits

In fact, the only things the worker is not allowed to release are rights to medical benefits and eligibility for preferred worker status. If the disposition states the claim is "closed" or the worker's condition is "medically stationary," further medical treatment will be strictly limited.

If a permanent partial disability award has not been fully paid, the injured worker could lose any unpaid award by signing a claim disposition agreement. To avoid this, payment of the award can be included in the terms of the disposition or the worker can ask the insurer for a "lump sum" payment of the award before submission of the disposition.

If a worker is disabled under Social Security, the amount of the claim disposition may offset social security payments. Social Security may not be paid until the offset is complete.

Money payable from a claim disposition may also be subject to an order to enforce child support obligations.


Requirements and restrictions

The disposition must identify accepted conditions and released benefits
The disposition must note the accepted medical conditions it is based on and exactly what benefits related to those conditions are being released. This helps the worker compare the benefits normally paid for those conditions with the dollar amount being offered.

The worker must be informed about the meaning of a disposition
The Workers' Compensation Board must send an enclosure to accompany the proposed agreement to explain the basic meaning of the claim disposition.

If the worker does not have an attorney, he or she has the right to personally meet and discuss the proposed agreement with the Workers' Compensation Board. The worker may also consult the Ombudsman for Injured Workers, whose job it is to help injured workers. There are no fees or charges for these services.

The worker has the right to an attorney
The attorney may charge a fee if the disposition is approved by the Workers' Compensation Board. The fee will be subtracted from the settlement. The worker also may have to pay the attorney for money actually spent while working on the disposition, even if no agreement is reached.

30-day "cooling off" period

After the worker signs the claim disposition agreement, it is sent to the Workers' Compensation Board. Once the board has accepted it, the board holds it for 30 days. Unless the disposition states otherwise, no benefits will be paid during this 30-day "cooling off" period.

Within the 30-day period, the worker may write the board and ask it to disapprove the disposition. If the disposition is not approved, the insurer must resume paying benefits if they are due.

Otherwise, the board will approve the disposition in 30 days, unless the board finds the disposition to be unreasonable or the result of misrepresentation. When approved, it becomes final. The disposition cannot be appealed to any agency or court.

Payment of claims disposition agreement

Payment of the disposition must be made no later than the 14th day after the board mails the agreement to the parties, unless otherwise stated in the agreement. If payment is not made, the Benefit Consultation Team or the Ombudsman for Injured Workers will help the injured worker obtain payment. The board cannot help the worker obtain payment of the disposition.
For more information contact:
Benefit Consultation Team: 503-947-7585 or 800-452-0288 (toll-free)
Ombudsman for Injured Workers: 503-378-3351 or 800-927-1271 (toll-free)
Workers' Compensation Board Claims Disposition Agreement Unit: 503-378-3308

If you have questions about this webpage, please contact Danae Hammitt, 503-947-7018.