Can a Workers' Compensation Claim be Reopened?


When a workers’ compensation claim is resolved, the intention is that the provided benefits will provide adequate financial support so the injury victim can pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. This purpose is not achieved in every case, and a victim may find, for one reason or another, that their workers’ compensation benefits are not sufficient. In these cases, the injured person may want to reopen their claim. It is possible to reopen a workers’ compensation claim, but certain conditions must be met for an attempt to be successful.

Reasons to Reopen a Workers’ Compensation Claim

The base reason for reopening a workers’ compensation claim is often that the agreed-upon amount of benefits is not enough, and the injury victim requires further coverage.

A workers’ compensation claim may be reopened because:

  • The original benefit agreement does not fully cover expenses
  • A type of treatment is needed that was not anticipated during original negotiations
  • The victim’s condition worsens
  • Disability status changes

Settlement Agreements

Typical workers’ compensation agreements result in the injury victim receiving periodic (usually weekly) payments that account for the expenses that the hurt employee may encounter because of their injury: Medical bills, transportations costs, and everyday expenses the individual cannot afford when they are out of work.

To settle a workers’ compensation case, the involved parties sometimes decide on a lump sum payment instead of the traditional payment model. Called a “full and final” or a “compromise and release” settlement, the payment of a lump sum amount often involves a condition which requires the injured employee to waive their right to reopen the claim.

Opening a New Case and Other Options

Reopening a workers’ compensation case is not always an option, but that doesn’t mean there are no options if more benefits are needed. If reopening the claim is not possible, an injured worker may be able to open a new claim that is separate from the original, closed claim.

For a condition to qualify as a reason to open a new case, it will need to meet certain parameters to classify as a “new” injury. Even if it is technically a progression of the initial injury, the victim may have to prove that a new incident caused the development. For example, if repeated motions at work cause an employee to need prolonged treatment for their injury, that could be a qualifying reason to open a new case.

If you were injured on the job, you need the assistance of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys. Schedule a free consultation with the Law Offices of Wax & Wax by calling 818-946-0608 or using our contact form.

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