Settlements and Awards

Oregon Workers' compensation claims sometimes settle. A “settlement” is a compromise where you receive a lump sum in exchange for giving up forever your right to valuable benefits. You are giving up benefits or are receiving and the right to benefits you potentially could receive in exchange for money.

A “settlement” should not be confused with an “award.” An “award” is a benefit of your accepted claim. It is a dollar measure, according to a strict formula, of the permanent partial disability caused by your injury. You give nothing up to receive your award.

If you receive an “award” you will see it in the Notice of Closure, the document you receive when your claim is closed. When you receive a Notice of Closure containing an award or containing no award, call a lawyer right away. You may appeal the closure and the amount of the award. You have 60-days to appeal, from the date of the Notice of Closure. This time limit is strict. Contact me right away at 503 620.3171 or at for a free in-person consultation.

It is easy to confuse a settlement with an award. If you do not have a lawyer, this is the best way to know the difference: If the claims adjuster is asking or pressuring you to sign a paper to receive a lump sum, you are being asked to enter into a settlement. Do not do this without first talking to a lawyer, because you will be giving up forever the right to benefits you are currently receiving or may want to claim.

Oregon Workers’ Compensation settlements come in one of two varieties. One form is called a "Disputed Claim Settlement" (DCS). When the injured worker and employer enter into a DCS, they are agreeing that the facts can go either way, with each said facing a substantial risk of losing at hearing. To avoid the risk of losing, the injured worker and employer agree on a compromise that gives the injured worker a lump sum. The amount of the lump sum is based on the value of benefits the worker would receive if s/he won. These benefits include time loss payments, an award for permanent partial disability, medical services, and vocational retraining. After completing a DCS, the worker is on his/her own for all matters concerning the condition that was settled out, including medical expenses.

The second type of settlement is called a "Claims Disposition Agreement" (CDA). Here, the worker and the employer have compromised a claim that has already been determined compensable. The worker receives a lump sum in exchange for giving up the right to all benefits the worker is yet entitled to receive, except medical benefits that are reasonable and necessary.

If you receive a settlement offer, please contact me at 503 620-3171 or at for a free consultation to make sure you understand what you are signing away. You do not want to give up forever your right to valuable benefits unless the “settlement” makes sense and the settlement documents are written properly.

Poorly drafted settlement documents could affect your right to receive Social Security Disability. It is necessary to have specific life-time proration language in these documents so as to avoid a reduction in your Social Security Disability benefits. So, if you have a Social Security Disability claim going or think you might be filing such a claim, do not sign settlement documents without legal advice.


If I help you increase your award, my fee is ten (10) percent of the increase.

If I help you settle your claim, my fee is 25 percent of the first $17,500, and 10 percent of any amount above $17,500.

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Please Contact me at (503) 620-3171 or at for a free consultation. I return all calls and reply to all emails within 24 hours.