Camacho v. SAIF

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Workers Compensation
  • Date Filed: 06-18-2014
  • Case #: A152079
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, J. for the Court; DeVore, P.J.; and Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A claimant's statements in medical reports constitute prima facie evidence under ORS 656.310(2) if those statements were for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment; otherwise, a claimant's statements in medical reports are hearsay to which the board may afford whatever weight it deems appropriate under the circumstances. Additionally, the agency shall seek the services of an interpreter whenever one is necessary to perform an adjudicative function.

Claimant sought judicial review of an order of the Workers' Compensation Board (board); the order affirmed an administrative law judge's (ALJ) order upholding SAIF Corporation's denial of his injury claim for low-back and thoracic strains incurred while moving loaded pallets using a manual pallet jack. The board found that claimant had not demonstrated his injuries constituted "compensable injur[ies]" under ORS 656.005(7). The board did not allow statements made by the claimant to his doctors for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment the weight required under ORS 656.310(2). Additionally, the board found claimant's statements inconsistent without considering the evidence in the record primarily because the evidence was not translated from Spanish to English. Because of the board's misapplication of ORS 656.310(2), the Court could not determine whether the board's finding was supported by substantial evidence in the light of claimant's untranslated statement, and because the board did not have the discretion to disregard otherwise probative evidence that had been admitted into the record simply because it was in Spanish, the Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. Reversed and remanded.

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