Good Cause for Untimely Injury Claim

Juan Estrada, 65 Van Natta 613 (March 21, 2013).* Claimant, on April 27, 2011, claimant loaded heavy equipment at work and noticed a “weird pull” in his groin. He did not experience this pain before. He did not report the incident because he thought it was just soreness from extra work and was not aware that he was injured. He kept working. Between April 27, 2011 and September 2011, he noticed increased pain and soreness with certain movements such as lifting or pushing heavier items. He noticed some swelling in the groin by the end of July or early August 2011 and finally sought treatment. Claimant first reported the injury to the employer in October 2011, which was beyond the 90-day limit in ORS 656.265(1).

The carrier denied claimant’s hernia claim based on untimely filing of injury claim and based on insufficient medical evidence. The ALJ upheld the denial finding that claimant did not establish “good cause” for the late filing under ORS 656.265(4)(c). The Board reversed and set aside the claim denial.

First, the Board held claimant had “good cause” for not reporting the injury within 90 days. The Board reasoned that claimant’s lack of knowledge that he had incurred a work-related injury provided him with good cause for his failure to provide the employer with notice of an accident within the applicable 90-day period. Since the Board held the claim was not time-barred, it turned to the merits of the claim. The Board went on to find that claimant was a credible witness and that the medical evidence supported the conclusion that the April 27, 2011 incident was a material contributing cause of the hernia condition.

*Appealed to Court of Appeals.