Most states provide the option of reopening workers’ compensation claims, provided that medical evidence proves that injuries have not healed and only worsened. While a valid and legal alternative, challenges still exist in establishing that a workers comp judge would accept.
Minnesota, in particular, mandates that the change in medical conditions did not exist when the case closed and no reason at the time to reopen the worker’s comp claim.
Signing the original settlement agreement can present severe obstacles once you consider reopening the case. For example, an original pact that provided for installment payments could open the door to secure additional compensation if health situations change.
Putting pen to paper on signing what is considered a full and final release of all claims that include a lump-sum payment is the final say, a strong reason why insurance companies prefer this arrangement. Signing your name means that future injury claims are no longer an option.
Those still seeking additional compensation need to focus on the agreement terms where the devil is in the details.
Revisiting the original claim
Reopening the case requires filing a form with their respective state’s agency. Medical evidence should be in a report, preferably written by a doctor. Medical evidence is of paramount importance, with attention to all the details. That all-important data should include the specific changes in the injury and detailed information on the necessary treatment.
The process is akin to a “redo,” with similar steps that include a hearing before a judge where proof is paramount on the reasons surrounding reopening the case and the potential benefits you are entitled to. Should the judge rule to reopen the claim for additional benefits, you have achieved a necessary first, but not the final step, in securing more compensation.