Reopen Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you received an award for work-related injuries, you may be of the impression that you have exhausted all remedies available to you. Not true. If your condition has deteriorated and you require further medical treatment, you may be eligible to reopen your workers’ compensation claim. Learn some important details involved in this process.
Like everything else in the law, there are time limitations that govern reopener claims in workers’ compensation court. According to NJSA 34:15-27, dates of payments made to the injured party are the determining factor. A workers’ compensation claim may be reopened if the claimant files a formal claim within two years of the last time they received payment. It is therefore important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Exception to Reopening a Claim
Not every workers’ compensation claim can be reopened. It is crucial to determine the manner in which your case was initially concluded. Was your claim disputed by the workers’ compensation carrier? Certain contested workers’ compensation cases are settled using a section of the law that completely finalizes the claim. This type of settlement is called a “Section 20”, which refers to the statute allowing its use. You may not recall if the final dissolution of your case fell under this section of the law. We will be able to easily determine if your claim was marked final when reviewing court documents.
Qualifications for a Reopener Claim
Even if your case did not end in a Section 20 settlement, you must have justification to reopen your workers’ compensation case. Here are some accepted reasons for reopening your comp claim:
- Medical Treatment: At the time your case initially concluded, you may have heard the term reached maximum medical improvement “MMI”. In short, this means that your condition would not be improved by further medical treatment. At that time, it was determined that you would not benefit from more physical therapy or other types of treatment. However, if something changes arising from the same work-related injuries, the workers’ compensation carrier may be required to provide additional treatment.
- Permanent Disability: Your condition may have deteriorated substantially more than anticipated at the initial court hearing. If you were found less than one hundred percent totally disabled, you may be able to reopen your case. (Obviously, you cannot expect the court to award more than one hundred percent permanent total disability.)
Workers’ compensation claims are unique as far as personal injury cases. It is important to retain experienced counsel that understands the intricacies of the law. At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have decades of experience handling all types of injury cases. Contact us to set up an appointment to discuss your claim.