Workers’ compensation claims sometimes need to go through a reopening stage after originally closed because of reoccurring injuries, worse bodily harm suffered or an industrial disease or condition that becomes even worse. With the help of a lawyer, this employee can request that the insurer reopen the claim for additional medical treatment or assistance. workers-compensation-injury
After the Claim Closes
Depending on the nature of the event, the injured party can reopen a claim that already closed. Usually, this is because of specific issues. Complications, worsening conditions and different problems related to the initial injury often are the result of reopening the claim. This may require the assistance of a lawyer depending on the severity of the condition. If the individual is not conscious, he or she may have hired a lawyer previously that will take up the case and contact the necessary authorities over the matter. There may exist a waiting period while these officers review the relevant details.
The Conditions Worsening
Job-related medical conditions usually will affect each employee differently based on physiology. It is when the condition worsens that the claim needs to reopen. Generally, this applies for hospitalization, the need for therapy and when the person is unable to work because of the condition. The worsening signs and symptoms may also keep the employee from working such as repetitive motion sickness, illness from inhalants or chemicals and psychological problems based on the equipment or materials used at the company. When the initial medical condition becomes worse, the individual may need continued workers’ compensation assistance.
To reopen a closed workers’ compensation claim, the individual will need certain materials. This process requires a job-related medical condition that suffered a worsening change since the close of the case. To proceed the person will need the attending doctor’s written statement of the express need, a request to the claimant’s representative to reopen the claim done in writing and any other relevant details. The adjuster will need the doctor’s letter and the individual should keep the originals. The letter from the physician should include the condition and how it worsened, the needed treatment, a description of the treatment and the relationship between the condition and the original injury
The Connection between Injury and Worsened Condition
The reopening of the claim necessitates a connection between the original injury or illness and the worsened condition. The doctor’s letter usually explains this through the symptoms and treatment necessary for assistance. However, there is a direct relationship between the two issues. Generally, the illness a person suffers will become worse if it has various specific complications. This is more easily observed in conditions such as mesothelioma where the asbestos fibers cause further distortion of the DNA a person has inside his or her body. The worsening happens over time and can lead to a fatal injury.
Other Effects on Reopening the Claim
There are some employees that proceed through either voluntary or forced retirement that will need to reopen a compensation claim because of a worsening illness or condition. If the individual either retired or voluntarily left the workforce in Arizona acquiring lost wages and other benefits will depend on the injury. If the injury has a direct connection to the company, the person can receive the same benefits as prior to the closing of the workers’ compensation claim. However, if the illness or condition has no connection to the initial or original problem, the person may only get medical benefits without any lost wages.
Once the claim is no longer open, the individual usually must wait up to one year before reopening it. However, there are unusual circumstances that can bypass this waiting period. If there was no lost time, no permanent partial or temporary disability, the individual can reopen the claim within the one year. However, if the claim closed because medical treatment costs were less than $300 in the first year, the person usually cannot reopen the claim. For entitlements to partial permanent disability benefits, the person can reopen a case when the insurer did not grant these before it closed.
Legal Support to Reopen the Workers’ Compensation Claim in Arizona
The employee that has a worsened condition and needs to reopen the workers’ compensation claim may need to hire a lawyer to assist with this process. Some individuals will need the experience of the lawyer to understand this process while others need the lawyer to perform the necessary actions while they recover from the worsening illness. If you’ve been injured as a result of a work related injury please contact the law offices of the Arizona Hometown Law Firm at 602-495-1005.