The people of Portland expect that their employers will provide them with a safe place to work. Should they wind up getting hurt at work, it is therefore quite understandable that Portlanders and other Oregonians will first look to their employers to make things right, even when, strictly speaking, the injury wasn’t the employer’s legal responsibility. There is still the expectation that employers in Oregon take care of their employees.
Like other states, Oregon has a workers’ compensation system. As this blog has discussed previously, an employee who gets hurt on the job can request benefit through workers’ compensation that will cover their medical bills and lost wages while they recover. The system also allows for benefits in the case of a workplace fatality or in the case of an injury that leaves a worker permanently disabled.
However, these benefits do not cover all of a victim’s losses, and specifically don’t cover items like pain and suffering. Moreover, there is a trade off in the workers’ compensation system in the sense that, in exchange for getting benefits on a no-fault basis, a worker gives up his or her right to sue the employer.
Fortunately, a victim may in the right circumstances be able to pursue a claim on a theory of third party liability. Generally, such claims are available when an accident was caused by someone or some business other than the employer, as in the case of an automobile accident or an accident involving a defective tool.
Workers who get hurt while on the job should of course avail themselves of workers’ compensation benefits through their employer, but they also may be able to get additional compensation by suing other responsible parties.