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    Reopening a Closed Workers’ Compensation Case In Pennsylvania: What You Need to Know

    Many of our clients worry about what happens after their workers’ comp case has been closed. Is that it? Is the settlement final? At Vanasse Law, LLC, we are dedicated to assisting our clients in their fight to regain what they have lost financially. If your workers’ comp claim has been closed, but you want to know if it is possible to reopen your claim, contact our firm to speak with a Lancaster work injury lawyer. We understand workers’ compensation law and when and how to reopen a closed workers’ comp case. 

    Why Workers’ Compensation Cases Are Closed

    In most cases, a workers’ comp claim is considered closed when you have accepted a lump sum settlement from the insurer. In these cases, it can be extremely difficult to re-open the case as part of your settlement generally includes a signed agreement wherein you agree to accept the lump sum payment as full and final payment and state that you will not seek any further benefits as a result of this injury. In these types of cases, a Lancaster worker injury lawyer may be able to assist you in having your case reopened if there is an error of some type. For example, if your benefits were incorrectly calculated or if you received the wrong diagnosis originally.  

    The death of the claimant is a reason why worker’s compensation benefits cases are closed. The family generally has no recourse unless the death was directly caused by the workers’ comp injury.

    Other types of “closed” workers’ compensation cases are generally not as difficult to reopen as those that were caused by death or the lump sum payment in exchange for closing the case. These other types of closures include having a doctor decide that you have reached maximum medical improvement as well as receiving the maximum disability amount allowed under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act

    The workers’ compensation system is designed to resolve matters and insurers rely upon final agreements to be just that, final. However, a Lancaster work injury lawyer from Vanasse Law, LLC, can explain to you whether or not your claim for workers’ compensation benefits can be reopened. Every case is different, and it can take a trained legal professional to determine your ability to reopen a case and receive additional benefits. 

    A Lancaster Work Injury Lawyer Explains the Reasons Why a Workers’ Compensation Claim Can Be Reopened

    In a perfect world, once you receive your benefits for your at-work injury, you would continue to heal and all would go according to plan. Unfortunately, this is sometimes not the case and you find yourself in a position where you need additional care and assistance beyond what you have been previously awarded. 

    To be considered for reopening of your closed workers’ comp case, you will need to meet certain criteria. First of all, your medical condition must have become worse and the worsening must be a result of the original at-work injury. If it is not, you will not be able to recover additional benefits. For example, let’s say you hurt your wrist at work to the extent you cannot work anymore, and after months of therapy, you return to work only to have the original injury flare back up and cause you to have to stop working again. In this situation, you may be able to have your case reopened. Speaking with a Lancaster work injury lawyer will help you decide if it is in your best interest to seek additional benefits under your previous workers’ compensation case. 

    How To Reopen A Closed Workers’ Comp Case

    Meeting with a Lancaster work injury lawyer at Vanasse Law, LLC, can help you determine whether or not you have the option to reopen your workers’ compensation case. If you do, they will also be able to assist you with the entire process which usually begins with filing a petition. In your petition, you must show the extenuating circumstances that justify the reopening of your case. Without this proof, it is likely that your petition to reopen will be denied.  

    The Importance of Medical Records In Proving A Case Should Be Reopened

    Medical documentation is essential to having your workers’ comp case reopened. This documentation will need to support the claims made in the petition. For example, if the claim is that the original injury never healed properly, there will need to be medical proof. Even with this documentation, however, the court may ask for additional support, such as expert testimony. The burden of proof that rests on you, the claimant, to have your claim reopened is very high. A Lancaster work injury lawyer from Vanasse Law, LLC, can provide you with the support you need to meet this burden. 

    In most cases, you have 500 weeks from the date you last received workers’ compensation benefits for the injury to file the petition to reopen the case. After the 500 weeks have passed, it is not likely that your case will be reopened. 

    Benefits Available In a Reopened Workers’ Compensation Case

    The types of benefits that you may receive in a reopened workers’ comp case will vary depending on the unique circumstances of your particular claim. Possible benefits can include temporary total disability (TTD) or temporary partial disability (TPD). Even if you do not receive TTD or TPD, you may have the costs related to your necessary medical treatment covered. 

    Depending on the severity of the worsened condition, it may be possible to receive permanent disability benefits. 

    Consult with a Lancaster Work Injury Lawyer at Vanasse Law, LLC About Reopening Your Workers’ Comp Case

    If you or a loved one is considering reopening your workers’ compensation case, you need to speak with an experienced Lancaster work injury lawyer at our firm. We focus our practice exclusively on assisting injured workers in recovering the compensation they are owed and we can advise you on the process of reopening your case. We may be reached via our contact page.