Can You Reopen A Workers’ Compensation Case in New Jersey?
If you live in New Jersey and are injured in the workplace, you are most likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for your medical treatments and lost wages. There is a possibility that you may receive a cash settlement after you recover from your injuries. After your final payment is made, your case is considered closed.
But after some time has passed, the pain from your injuries return or your medical condition deteriorates. You are worse off than you were before but without the benefit of workers’ compensation to aid your medical bills. What do you do?
Types of Workers’ Comp Settlements
There are two different types of workers’ compensation settlements in New Jersey — either a Section 20 settlement or a Section 22 settlement. Whichever type of settlement you have goes a long way in determining whether you can reopen your workers’ comp case.
In a Section 20 settlement, an injured worker receives a lump sum payment rather than receiving payments over time. Once this type of settlement is agreed upon, it is considered a final order and cannot be reopened unless a special circumstance arises.
Section 22 settlements are different. These settlements are typically the most common way worker’s comp cases are resolved in New Jersey. The benefits associated with these settlements are based on apportioning a percentage of disability of the injured body part. If a worker’s injury or medical condition worsens, they will be able to reopen their case.
Reopening Your Case
You or your employer both have the right to reopen a workers’ compensation case in the Garden State. Your employer has this right if he or she suspects that your claim is fraudulent or believes the amount of benefits was too excessive.
Workers reopen or try to reopen their case because their injury or condition got worse after their case had closed. The process begins when an injured worker signs a petition to reopen the case. Sometimes, workers who file their medical report with the petition automatically assume their worker’s comp case will be reopened. That is untrue. A worker needs to prove that their injury was caused by the original injury and that their condition entitles them to extra benefits.
An injured worker who is trying to reopen their case must additionally prove that their problem is not solely an economic one but also a medical and/or mental problem. If the injury was aggravated outside of the workplace, there is also a chance that the case is not reopened.
Deadlines for Reopening Your Case
In New Jersey, there are laws that set a timeline for reopening a workers’ compensation case. If you miss the deadlines, you will not be able to reopen the case and pursue benefits. To reopen a claim and receive additional benefits, an injured worker must file their petition within two years from the time of injury or when they received their last payment as part of the original benefits.
Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone
Did your workplace injury get worse after your workers’ compensation benefits ended? Did your job cause you to reaggravate your injury? If so, the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone is here to help you. We have experience handling multiple types of workers’ comp cases throughout New Jersey, and we are here to help you. Contact our offices today to set up a free consultation.