Can I Reopen a Workers’ Compensation Claim in New Jersey?
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on July 11, 2018 in Workers' Compensation News
If you were receiving workers’ compensation benefits for a claim that ended, it may be possible to reopen your claim under certain circumstances.
If you believe you require additional medical treatment or compensation for lost income after suffering a workplace injury, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in New Jersey. We will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your claim and determine if you can receive additional compensation.
In New Jersey, an injured employee can have his or her workers’ compensation claim reevaluated based on several factors detailed below.
Reasons for Reopening a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Reopening a workers’ compensation claim is usually only possible in certain situations. This may occur when:
- The employee’s heath worsens due to a work-related injury or illness
- The employee’s wage-earning capacity decreases
- The employee discovers new information about his or her medical condition
- A legal or factual mistake occurred when the employee’s claim was being processed that denied him or her compensation
- The employer’s workers’ compensation insurer acted fraudulently during the claims process.
Which Settlement Type Did You Accept?
The type of workers’ compensation settlement you received can also impact whether or not you can reopen the claim.
Section 20 Settlement
A Section 20 settlement is offered when the insurance company initially denied the workers’ compensation claim and a final settlement is offered in a lump sum.
As a condition of accepting this settlement type, you may be required to waive all rights to any future workers’ compensation benefits for the same claim. This means you cannot reopen your workers’ compensation claim if you require additional future medical treatment.
Section 22 Settlement
In a Section 22 settlement, you and the insurance company agree to a specific permanent disability rating that reflects your work-related injury. The insurance company will then pay you increments of benefits based on this rating.
This type of settlement can be used for any type of workers’ compensation claim and does not require you to give up future rights to medical care.
If your condition does worsen after accepting a Section 22 settlement, you may be able to reopen the claim and request additional workers’ compensation benefits.
What You Need to Reopen Your Claim
To reopen a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey, you will need to follow a very specific process.
First, you must file a petition to re-open your case with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Additionally, you must provide medical documentation that proves the following:
- Your worsening medical condition was caused by the original workplace injury
- Your worsening medical condition entitles you to additional workers’ compensation benefits
- You are suffering from a continuing medical or mental health issue, not a financial issue
- Your worsening medical condition is related to a workplace accident
You may also need to provide extensive evidence that shows your condition has worsened and is related to your original workplace accident. You can prove this by providing copies of your medical records, a detailed report from your employer’s doctor, and your testimony at your original workers’ compensation hearing.
An experienced attorney will be able to compile any records or documents that may be required to reopen your claim. He or she will work to help you prove your worsened condition is work-related and entitles you to additional workers’ compensation benefits.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a New Claim?
In New Jersey, you have two years from the date you received your final workers’ compensation benefits payment to reopen your claim.
Additionally, if you are attempting to obtain medical benefits for work-related injury, you must file your petition to re-open within two years of your original injury or when you received the last payment of medical benefits.
However, if you allow these deadlines to pass without taking action, your employer’s insurer may close your case regardless of your health. For this reason, it is imperative that you contact a knowledgeable attorney to help you file your claim.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Re-opening a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey can be difficult and often requires the help of a skilled attorney who understands the state’s legal processes and statute of limitations.
Lynch Law Firm’s New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to help you determine if you can re-open your workers’ compensation claim. We will help you understand where your claim lies within the statute of limitations and which documents you need to re-open your claim.
All of our services are provided on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge clients upfront fees to represent their claim. You only have to pay us if your receive benefits for your claim.
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