In 1995 there were 288 requests for court review of Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) decisions, fewer than any year since 1989. See Figure 1. The number of board orders on review was the lowest in six years, while the appeal rate of those orders (about 21 percent) was the lowest in five years.
[a Graph]
The number of court decisions, 172, was also the lowest since 1989. This count excludes three reconsiderations by the court, four orders on remand from the Oregon Supreme Court, one case where the issue was non-complying employer, one review of a contested case decision by the Department of Consumer and Business Services (see last paragraph), and 26 remands to the Board. The most frequent reasons for remanding: recent changes in the law (14 cases), the board needs to address or determine a fact or issue (six cases), and the board's order did not fully explain its actions or conclusions (two cases).


The number and relative frequency of each issue are given in the table. Cases without one of the issues specified in the table are categorized as "other-issue" cases. The percentage of extent of disability and other-issue cases were the second-lowest of the past eight years, while the percentage of cases with compensability issues, 53.5 percent, was the highest of that period. The most frequent other issues (including those in cases with a specified issue) were penalty (27 cases), claimant attorney fees (19 cases), responsibility (14 cases), medical services (eight cases), and jurisdiction (seven cases).
[heading for table][a table][a table]


Court issue dispositions and WCB affirmation rates are also given in the table. The court reversed the board in two extent of permanent disability cases, three claim denial cases, two aggravation denial cases, and one partial denial case. Of the six compensability reversals, four were for claims denied by the board. The WCB affirmation rate for extent of permanent disability was over 91 percent, but it was still the lowest of the past five years. The rate for other issues and the overall rate (80.0 and 89.0 percent, respectively) were the highest of the past four years. See Figure 2.
[a graph]


The median time lag from request for court review to the date of the court order was 299 days (9.8 months). See Figure 3. The claimant was the petitioner in a typical 60.6 percent of the cases. SAIF was the insurer in 43.4 percent of the cases (includes multiple-insurer and non-complying employer cases), compared to last year's 31.9 percent. In three cases the claimant wanted permanent total disability (PTD) status, and one case was about the suspension of PTD benefits, in the only PTD-issue case with PTD granted at any level, the court affirmed the board's rescission of that award.
[a graph]


The above discussions concern court review of WCB decisions; however, decisions by the DCBS director on workers' compensation "contested cases" are also appealable to the court. In the only court case in 1995, the court reversed the director's order. The director had affirmed the Appellate Review Unit's denial of claimants request for reconsideration of a determination order after the insurer-requested reconsideration was completed.
| DCBS Public Home Page | IMD Home Page | Site Search Engine |

If you have questions about the information contained in this document please contact by e-mail or phone:
Russell Reed, Research Analyst, Research & Analysis Section, Information Management Division (503) 947-7343

This document was originally published in May 1996.
Document URL: http://www.cbs.state.or.us/external/imd/rasums/appeal95.htm

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this publication is available in alternative formats by calling (503) 378-8254 (V/TTY).
The information in IMD publications is in the public domain and may be reprinted without permission.