Can My Case Be Reopened?
October 23, 2019
Typically, when a worker settles their workers’ compensation case, it is closed, and the worker no longer receives benefits. However, there are certain circumstances that warrant reopening a case in Pennsylvania. The laws on reopening a workers’ compensation case or requesting a modification vary by state, therefore workers are advised to contact a workers’ comp lawyer to discuss their legal options.
Reasons Why Workers’ Compensation Cases Close
A workers’ compensation case may come to an end when a worker has received disability payments for the maximum amount of time listed under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. A worker’s ongoing wage loss payments may also terminate if the worker agrees to a one-time lump sum settlement, otherwise called a compromise and release agreement.
Once the judge approves a settlement, the case is typically closed, and the worker is barred from reopening the case to request additional benefits. This is because insurance companies often urge workers to agree to full and final settlements, which grants them lump-sum payments in exchange for giving up their right to file future claims for their injuries.
Reopening a Workers’ Compensation Case in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, there are certain circumstances in which a worker may reopen their case, even after having returned to work. A final decision does not necessarily mean the case is closed forever. Sometimes, injuries are worsened because workers resume their pre-injury job duties. In those cases, workers may be able to reopen their case if their injury worsened.
Those who return to work and experience worsening injuries may be able to have their cases reopened and benefits reinstated. A worker must have medical proof to substantiate their claim that the condition was worsened due to the original injury itself, and not the natural aging process or another unrelated cause. Pennsylvania workers are also entitled to receive benefits for pre-existing conditions if they can prove that their work activities or environment worsened their pre-existing condition.
Workers who have been out of work for more than four months due to their work-related injuries may agree to a lump sum settlement. Once a worker agrees to a lump sum full and final settlement, the insurance company is typically no longer obligated to pay the worker benefits. When coming to an agreement with the insurance company on a lump sum amount, the worker releases them from having to pay any additional compensation for future claims. Rarely, however, certain circumstances may warrant the reopening of a settled case, such as a medical mistake or error in diagnosis, or a mistake in the calculation of benefits.
Philadelphia Workers’ Comp Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Reopen Their Cases and Receive Additional Benefits
If your work injury has worsened since the closing of your case, contact a Philadelphia workers’ comp lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. You may be eligible to have your case reopened and potentially receive additional benefits. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.
Located in Philadelphia, Bensalem, Lansdowne, and Reading, we represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.