Getting your workers’ compensation case settled can be a huge relief. But what would you do if after a few months your condition begins to get worse because of your original workplace injury? Different types of injuries have varying effects on individuals. Sometimes, certain short-term effects become worse over time and may significantly affect your well-being. If you are experiencing deteriorating symptoms after your workers’ compensation claim has been settled, you still have options.
Requirements for Reopening your Workers’ Compensation Claim
There are certain situations when you may be able to reopen your workers’ compensation claim. You will have to meet the following eligibility criteria:
Your Claim was not Resolved through a Full and Final Settlement
You have the option to reopen your workers’ compensation claim if you accepted the settlement without withdrawing your right to receive additional benefits or if it was settled through a hearing. However, most of the time, insurance providers convince workers to sign a full and final settlement. In this agreement, you agree to give up your right to additional benefits in exchange for a lump sum amount. In such a case, you will not be able to reopen your case.
Your Health has Considerably Worsened
You must be able to establish that your health has considerably declined since the settlement of your claim. It is essential for your worsened condition to be attributable to your original workplace injury. If it has gotten worse because of another cause, you will not be able to reopen your claim.
You File within Time Limits
Each state has imposed certain time limits before which you can file your application for reopening your workers’ compensation claim. This period starts from the date of your injury or when you received compensation. In Illinois, the time limit for filing a workers’ compensation claim reopening application is 30 months after the benefits were received.
How to Reopen your Workers’ Compensation Case
The first step for reopening your claim is to file a form with the workers’ compensation agency of your state. This is known as an application to reopen or petition. In some states, workers are required to send a written application to their insurance provider, requesting them to reopen their case voluntarily. However, insurance providers mostly deny this request. In such a situation, you will have to file a petition with your state’s workers’ compensation agency.
You will have to attach medical records with your application to support your claim. You will have to ask your doctor to fill out a form for this purpose or write a report, indicating:
- How exactly your health has worsened
- The connection of the worsening with your original injury
- The recommended treatments
If your application is accepted, your case will be set for a hearing before a judge. During the hearing, you will have to prove why your case should be reopened and what benefits you should receive. The judge will decide whether your case should be reopened and provide you the additional benefits.
Reopening a closed workers’ compensation case is quite difficult, but you can dramatically increase your odds by working with a reliable Lake County workers’ compensation attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. at (847) 395-2200 or online today to schedule your initial consultation.