In certain situations, your workers’ comp case can be reopened. This is true, for example, even if you have settled your case (in limited circumstances) or a hearing officer has denied your petition for an award. Determining whether or when you can reopen your case, however, is not always a straightforward analysis.
Injured Florida workers whose workers’ comp cases have been closed and who have later received an updated diagnosis or new information about work-related injuries should promptly contact an experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyer, including any of the workers’ comp attorneys at the Berlin Law Firm, for an assessment of whether their workers’ comp cases can be reopened.
Under what circumstances should an injured worker seek to reopen a workers’ comp case?
If your petition for a workers’ comp award was denied or you have discovered new evidence that was not considered in evaluating your petition, your case may be ripe for reopening. Consider, for example:
- You are unrepresented and the Judge has not yet approved your settlement: This is by far the most common time when a settlement agreement can be reopened. If you are not represented and have negotiated settlement with the insurance company, IT MUST BE APPROVED BY THE JUDGE BEFORE BINDING. If it has not yet been approved at a hearing, we can reopen your claim.
- Changed circumstances: Your work-related injury is taking longer to heal than your doctor originally estimated, and you need additional medical treatment and will be away from work longer for a complete recovery.
- Inaccurate settlements/errors and mistakes: You discover an error in your award or you determine that the review panel made a mistake in its initial analysis, or you discover new information.
- New evidence has come to light: You discover new information regarding your accident, your employer, or other relevant information.
- Your claim was denied: You receive credible information that your employer or the workers’ comp insurance company fraudulently denied your claim.
- Worsening conditions: Your post-injury medical condition has deteriorated, and your wage-earning prospects have declined as a result.
You should never assume that a closed workers’ comp case is the final and ultimate conclusion of your petition. You may still be able to recover the full amount of benefits that you deserve. Do not hesitate to contact our workers’ compensation attorneys if these or any other similar situations apply to your case.
How is reopening a case different than an appeal?
Before your workers’ comp lawyer files a petition to reopen your case, he or she will review the record of your dispute to verify that the facts and evidence about your work-related injury were evaluated fairly and accurately and that the review panel followed all required legal protocols. If evidence was overlooked or the panel made a legal error, your lawyer will have grounds for an appeal.
There will be grounds to reopen the case when new information about your injury comes to light, particularly when that information was not available to you during the review of your original petition. Your lawyer will determine the appropriate alternative that gives you a better opportunity to increase your worker’s comp award.
What is the time limit to reopen a workers’ comp case?
All workers’ compensation claims in Florida are subject to strict filing deadlines. Your initial claim must be filed within two years after you first suffered a work-related injury. Then, your petition to reopen your case must be filed within one year after you last received a payment under your initial claim or within a year after you last received an authorized medical treatment for your injury.
Contact a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as you can to avoid missing these critical deadlines.
Get the full compensation you deserve. Call Berlin Law Firm.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at the Berlin Law Firm will analyze your case and any new evidence and information about your injury and original claim to determine whether and when it can be reopened. We offer complimentary, no-obligation consultations to all injured Florida workers.
Please call us at your earliest opportunity for your complimentary and confidential workers’ comp case review.