SAIF Corporation v. Camarena

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Workers Compensation
  • Date Filed: 07-23-2014
  • Case #: A152627
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A physician does not need to explicitly state that a course of treatment is curative in order for that treatment to be compensable as long as a reasonable person can determine the curative purpose, and the treatment is supported by substantial evidence.

SAIF Corporation (SAIF), a worker's compensation insurer, appealed a Workers' Compensation Board (board) decision to award temporary disability benefits and attorney's fees to claimant. SAIF contends that claimant's physician's recommendation of temporary total disability is not "curative treatment" supported by substantial evidence, as required by statute. Claimant suffered a back injury as a result of a workplace accident. In addition to diagnostic procedures and physical therapy, claimant's physician authorized temporary disability with full release from work with a treatment plan of "pain-pills, muscle relaxers, ice, and heat," but did not fill out the "palliative care/ justification" section of the worker's compensation claim form. The Court held that although claimant's physician did not expressly state that the authorization of temporary disability was for curative treatment, that the substantial evidence supports the board's finding that temporary disability was for curative treatment. SAIF contends that it should not have to pay claimant's attorney's fees because ORS 656.382 does not award attorney's fees for own-motion decisions. The Court held that although claimant was not entitled to attorney's fees at the time the board awarded them, they are entitled to attorney's fees in order to respond to SAIF's request for reconsideration.

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