2017 ORS 655.510¹
Benefits for injuries in authorized employment
  • establishing injury claim
  • exclusive remedy

(1) Every inmate shall receive benefits as provided in ORS 655.505 (Definitions for ORS 655.505 to 655.555) to 655.555 (Rules for administration of fund for inmate injuries) for injury sustained in an authorized work or occupational training assignment if the injury:

(a) Is proximately caused by or received in the course of the authorized work or occupational training assignment, with or without negligence of the inmate;

(b) Is not intentionally self-inflicted;

(c) Is not a result of a willful violation of work rules or rules regulating inmate conduct or premises security; and

(d) Does not occur to an active participant in an assault or combat that is not connected to the job assignment and that constitutes a deviation from customary duties.

(2) An injury must be established by medical evidence supported by objective findings. The medical evidence must be substantiated by verifiable pathological indication of injury that includes, but is not limited to, range of motion, atrophy, muscle strength, palpable muscle spasm and diagnostic evidence substantiated by clinical findings. Objective findings do not include physical findings or subjective responses to physical examinations that are not consistently reproducible, measurable or observable, or do not fit an anatomical pattern and that cannot be demonstrated after reasonable medical evaluation. A claimant’s statement to a physician or other party does not constitute objective medical evidence sufficient to substantiate an injury.

(3) The following circumstances do not constitute a basis for establishing an injury:

(a) Compulsion to participate in employment or training;

(b) Disciplinary action taken by the Department of Corrections or the Oregon Youth Authority;

(c) Action taken by the Department of Corrections or the Oregon Youth Authority, to protect the safety of persons or to maintain order; or

(d) Actions of other inmates or youth offenders as defined in ORS 419A.004 (Definitions).

(4) The filing of claims for benefits under ORS 655.505 (Definitions for ORS 655.505 to 655.555) to 655.555 (Rules for administration of fund for inmate injuries) is the exclusive remedy of an inmate or beneficiary of the inmate for injuries compensable under ORS 655.505 (Definitions for ORS 655.505 to 655.555) to 655.555 (Rules for administration of fund for inmate injuries) against the state or its political subdivisions or any person or entity that contracts with the Department of Corrections or the Oregon Youth Authority for the services of inmate labor, any person or entity that employs an inmate in a work release program established under ORS 144.420 (Department of Corrections to administer work release program) or 420.240 (Work release program) or any owner or manager of premises where authorized work or occupational training assignments occur, regardless of negligence. This section applies to any work-related injury to, or conditions of, an inmate whether or not the injury or conditions are determined to be compensable under ORS 655.505 (Definitions for ORS 655.505 to 655.555) to 655.555 (Rules for administration of fund for inmate injuries). [1963 c.527 §§2,4; 1995 c.384 §19; 2013 c.229 §14]

Notes of Decisions

Test for compensability set forth in this sec­tion, and not test de­scribed under ORS 656.005 (Definitions), is applicable to inmate injuries. Dept. of Justice v. Spear, 94 Or App 677, 767 P2d 928 (1989), aff’d on other grounds, 308 Or 594, 783 P2d 998 (1989)

Notes of Decisions

Where there was evidence that inmate had residual physical limita­tions from compensable back injury but no evidence to show that they affected his ability to obtain and hold employ­ment, there was no basis to make award for permanent partial disability. Meyers v. SAIF, 38 Or App 389, 590 P2d 285 (1979)

Inmate Injury Act, ORS 655.505 (Definitions for ORS 655.505 to 655.555) to 655.550 (Assessment of Oregon Department of Administrative Services for costs of Workers’ Compensation Board), incorporates attorney fees pro­vi­sions of Workers’ Compensa­tion Law, ORS chapter 656. Dept. of Justice v. Spear, 308 Or 594, 783 P2d 998 (1989)

Chapter 655

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Benefit availability for inmates engaged in prison work programs, (1996) Vol 48, p 134

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 655—Benefits for Injured Trainees and Inmates, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors655.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 655, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano655.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.