Can I Reopen a Workers’ Comp Claim?

Can I Reopen a Workers’ Comp Claim?

When you first opened your workers’ compensation claim, it was likely because you suffered an on-the-job injury or illness that required medical treatment and time off.

As your situation evolves, you may need to reopen your claim to address new medical needs or changes in your condition. Can you reopen a workers’ comp claim?

Yes, in many cases, you can reopen a workers’ compensation claim.

Reopening a claim is possible under specific circumstances, such as if your medical condition worsens or new evidence becomes available. However, the complex requirements vary by state.

An experienced Indianapolis workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate these requirements effectively.

Need Legal Help? Let’s talk

Understanding the Basics of Reopening a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Reopening a workers’ compensation claim typically involves demonstrating that your medical condition has significantly changed since the original claim was settled or closed. This could mean your injury worsened, you developed new symptoms, or you need additional medical treatment that was not anticipated when your claim was initially resolved.

Time Limits for Reopening Claims

One critical factor in reopening a workers’ compensation claim is the time limit, also known as the statute of limitations. This period varies by state and can range from a few years to a decade or more. You must act promptly if you believe your condition has changed and you need to reopen your claim. Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. They will be familiar with the statutes of limitations that apply to your claim.

Grounds for Reopening a Claim

Work Injury Claim FormIn addition to your injury getting worse since your original settlement, other common grounds for reopening a claim include:

  • New Medical Evidence: If you have new medical evidence that supports a change in your condition or treatment needs, this can be a basis for reopening your claim.
  • Mistake or Fraud: If the original decision contained errors, you might have grounds to reopen your claim.

To illustrate the importance of reopening a claim, consider the following scenarios:

Scenario 1: An employee settles a workers’ compensation claim for a back injury. Two years later, the employee experiences severe pain and is diagnosed with a related spinal condition that requires surgery. With new medical evidence, the employee successfully reopens the claim to cover the additional medical costs.

Scenario 2: An employee’s initial claim for a knee injury is settled, but complications arise later, leading to mobility issues. New medical evidence supports reopening the claim for further treatment and benefits.

Scenario 3: An employee initially files a workers’ compensation claim for a wrist injury diagnosed as a minor sprain. However, persistent pain prompts a second medical opinion, revealing a severe ligament tear requiring surgery. In this scenario, reopening the workers’ compensation claim is essential to rectify the mistake made in the initial diagnosis and ensure the employee receives the appropriate compensation and support for their workplace injury.

Mental Health and Workers’ Compensation

Injuries sustained in the workplace aren’t always physical; they can also leave lasting scars on mental health. Mental health conditions resulting from workplace incidents, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression, are a critical aspect of workers’ compensation claims that often go unnoticed or overlooked.

Proving the connection between the workplace and the mental health condition can be challenging. Unlike physical injuries, mental health conditions may not manifest immediately and may require expert evaluation and documentation to support the claim.

In some cases, mental health conditions may not have been adequately addressed or included in the initial workers’ compensation claim due to stigma, lack of awareness, or other factors. Reopening the claim can provide an opportunity to rectify this oversight and seek appropriate compensation and support.

The Process to Reopen a Workers’ Comp Claim

The attorneys at Klezmer Maudlin serve clients in Indiana and Kentucky. The Workers’ Compensation Board oversees the process in Indiana. In Kentucky, it’s the Department of Workers’ Claims.

These agencies handle various aspects of workers’ compensation claims, including petitions for reopening claims.

The petition should include:

  • Medical documentation supporting the change in your condition.
  • A detailed explanation of why the claim should be reopened.
  • Any new evidence that supports your request.

Medical Evaluation

A new medical evaluation is often necessary to substantiate your claim. This evaluation should be conducted by a healthcare provider who can attest to the changes in your condition and the need for additional treatment or benefits.

The Role of an Attorney in Reopening a Claim

Workers' Compensation LawyerNavigating the process of reopening a workers’ compensation claim can be complex and challenging without legal assistance. With more than 100 years of combined experience, our workers’ comp attorneys have a successful track record of helping injured workers receive the compensation they deserve.

An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can provide invaluable support by:

  • Assessing Your Case: Evaluating whether you have a valid basis for reopening your claim.
  • Gathering Evidence: Collecting and organizing the necessary medical documentation and other evidence.
  • Filing the Petition: Ensuring all paperwork is correctly filed within the required time limits.
  • Representation: Representing you in hearings and negotiations to protect your rights.

Common Challenges in Reopening Claims

Reopening a workers’ compensation claim is not always straightforward and can present several challenges.

Some of the most common challenges include:

  • Demonstrating that your condition has significantly worsened since the original claim was closed can be difficult without thorough medical documentation.
  • Employers and their insurance companies also may contest the reopening of a claim, arguing that the original settlement was adequate.
  • The statute of limitations has passed. Missing the deadline to file for reopening can result in the court dismissing your request.

Contact Klezmer Maudlin to Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Can I Reopen a Workers’ Comp Claim?, Klezmer Maudlin PCReopening a workers’ compensation claim can be a lifeline for workers whose conditions have worsened or who have new evidence supporting their need for additional benefits. While the process can be challenging, you can navigate these complexities with the right legal support and secure the compensation you deserve. Trust Klezmer Maudlin to guide you through every step of reopening your claim.

At Klezmer Maudlin PC, workers’ comp is what we do. Our Indianapolis workers’ compensation lawyers provide free confidential case evaluations. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no up-front legal fees. If we do not recover any compensation for you, you owe nothing.

Call our Indianapolis office at (317) 569-9644 or contact us online for a free consultation.