Can You Reopen a Closed Workers’ Comp Case in Pennsylvania?
May 17, 2023
Under Pennsylvania law, workers' compensation benefits, including medical and wage-loss benefits – are available to employees who suffer job-related injuries or occupational diseases. Generally, your workers' comp case will close once you reach a settlement agreement and you have received your deserved benefits. However, under certain circumstances, you can be eligible to reopen your closed workers' compensation claims if you're experiencing unexpected or new medical symptoms.
At H. Rosen Law, P.C., we have the resources to advise and guide clients through the complexities involved in reopening their workers' compensation cases. Our experienced Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorney can investigate the surrounding circumstances of your personal situation, review your eligibility to reopen the claims, and help you pursue any additional compensation you're entitled to. We proudly serve clients across Philadelphia and throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg and Scranton.
Qualifying Reasons to Reopen a Case
Furthermore, reopening a closed workers' compensation case permits an injured or ill employee to recover additional medical, wage loss, or disability benefits for their work-related injury or occupational disease. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you may be entitled to reopen your closed workers' compensation claims if:
Your medical condition has worsened and needs additional benefits.
Your deteriorating health condition is associated with your initial job-related injury or occupational disease.
It is less than 500 weeks (10 years) since receiving your final payment through the workers' compensation claim.
Other Reasons: Some other qualifying reasons to reopen your case include the following:
The insurer acted fraudulently or negotiated using bad faith.
There was a legal or factual error in the original judgment.
There is new evidence indicating that the settlement award was unfair.
There was a clerical or administrative error in the final award.
However, reopening a closed workers' comp case often depends on the kind of settlement you signed. A knowledgeable attorney can inform you about your available legal options and help determine the best course of action.
How Settlement Types Can Affect Your Rights to Reopen a Case
Additionally, the type of settlement you signed may affect your eligibility to reopen the closed workers' comp case. In Pennsylvania, employees who suffer work-related injuries or occupational diseases have two options for settling workers' compensation claims. These include:
Compromise and Release Agreement
In a compromise and release agreement, the workers' compensation insurer will offer you a lump-sum settlement for your workplace injuries. However, the lump-sum settlement is the total amount you can receive, and you will lose your right to pursue future medical or financial benefits for your injuries. Unfortunately, a compromise and release settlement is final, and you may be unable to reopen your workers' compensation case.
Conversely, a structured settlement allows an injured employee to receive their benefits over a specified period instead of a single lump-sum payment. Employees who agree on structured settlements may be eligible to recover additional benefits for future medical treatments. Thus, the judge will approve your request to reopen your workers' compensation case if you meet the specified requirement.
According to Pennsylvania law, employees have up to 500 weeks (10 years) after collecting their last workers' compensation benefit or payment to file to reopen the case. A seasoned lawyer can enlighten you about the legal process to reopen your workers' compensation case and ensure that you file your claims within the required time limit.
The Claims Process
Here are the steps involved in reopening a workers' compensation case:
Hire an experienced attorney for proper guidance and to help file your claims.
File a form with the state workers' compensation board.
Send a copy of the form to the insurance provider or your employer.
Attach evidence and documentation to support your claims.
Include medical records to prove the existence of a worsening health condition or further disability.
The board will schedule a hearing to determine whether you're entitled to receive additional benefits.
A trusted Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorney can help file your claims, represent you diligently at the hearing, and improve your prospects of a favorable outcome.
Understand Your Workers' Compensation Options
As an injured employee, you can settle your workers' compensation claims with the presumption that your health condition will remain the same or keep improving. However, if your condition has deteriorated since you settled and you need additional medical treatments, you may be eligible to reopen your closed workers' comp case. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can determine your legal options and help you make challenging decisions.
At H. Rosen Law, P.C., we are here to assist and represent clients in their workers' compensation claims. Our trusted attorney can assess all of the facts of your case, uncover if you have valid reasons to reopen your case, and walk you through the legal procedures involved.
Contact us at H. Rosen Law, P.C. today for a case evaluation with a practiced workers' compensation lawyer. Our attorney can guide you through the complicated procedures involved in reopening your workers' compensation case and receiving a settlement. We proudly serve clients across Philadelphia and throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg and Scranton.