My Condition Got Worse AFTER I Settled A Workers’ Comp Claim, Is There Any Way To Reopen My Case?

BY: Koszdin | Friday, September 21, 2018.

You may be surprised how many injured and disabled workers in California ask this question when calling our lawyers here at the Koszdin, Fields & Sherry law firm.

The situation is pretty much the same in each of these cases. A worker is injured in the workplace or suffers a work-related illness. He or she files a workers’ comp claim and settles his/her case to pay for the medical treatment and rehabilitation, and that’s it. But after a while, the worker may notice that his or her condition has gotten worse since he or she settled the workers’ comp case.

And so the question is: “Is there any way to reopen a workers’ comp case and seek compensation for additional medical expenses if your workplace injury gets worse AFTER you have already settled your workers’ comp claim?”

We brought our workers’ compensation attorney from the Los Angeles law firm to answer this question and explain in which situations you may be entitled to get paid for further medical treatment and other workers’ comp benefits if your injury gets worse.

What may prevent you from seeking additional compensation

In short, whether or not you will be able to seek compensation for additional medical expenses if your condition gets worse after you have already settled your case depends on the nature of your workers’ comp settlement. It also depends on whether this is an old injury that got worse or a new work-related injury or illness (in most cases, it is rather difficult to distinguish between the two).

Our experienced Los Angeles workers comp attorney from the Koszdin, Fields & Sherry law firm says that you may be able to get compensated for the cost of your additional medical treatment, rehabilitation, surgery, and other necessary expenses depending on the exact wording and terms of your existing workers’ comp settlement.

More often than not, when an injured worker agrees to a workers’ comp settlement, there is a condition that he or she will not be able to reopen his/her case later on to obtain new workers’ comp benefits for this specific injury or illness.

It may still be possible to get compensated if your work-related injury gets worse
However, in some cases, employers and their insurance companies are more employee-friendly in that regard, and specify in the settlement that even though the worker is getting reimbursed for the past and ongoing medical expenses associated with his/her work-related injury, he or she would also be compensated for future medical expenses, if necessary.

Generally, if you are entitled to seek compensation for future medical expenses, all you have to do is submit your bill for medical treatment or rehabilitation to the employer and his/her insurance company for reimbursement. In case you want to obtain an expanded list of workers’ comp benefits such as temporary or permanent disability benefits, you will be required to reopen your workers’ comp case, which is not always possible in situations when your existing work-related medical condition got worse.

A full and final release of all claims: what does it mean?

But here’s some bad news. More often than not, in order to settle a workers’ comp claim in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, workers are required to sign a full and final release of all claims. Meaning: you will not be able to reopen your workers’ comp claims or seek reimbursement for future medical expenses associated with your existing workplace injury or illness.

Despite this, you might still be able to seek compensation for medical costs if you have evidence to prove that you have a “new” injury, which was caused or aggravated by your work conditions. More often than not, this requires you to prove that there has been some type of incident or some working conditions that caused the new injury.

Speak to our Los Angeles workers’ comp attorney from the Koszdin, Fields & Sherry law firm to speak about your particular situation. You may still be able to reopen your workers’ comp case. Get a free consultation by calling our offices at 818-812-5639 or  800-747-3447.

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