Reopening a Workers’ Compensation Claim for a Worsening of ConditionOctober 2, 2019
When an employee is injured at work, they may need to miss several days, weeks, or more of work to fully recover from the injury. Fortunately, Workers’ Compensation benefits cover the costs of medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses associated with the injury. The employee will continue to receive these benefits until they have recovered from the injury. In some cases, however, the worker’s condition may unexpectedly take a turn for the worse, or the condition may be more serious than doctors initially thought. If this is the case, the injured worker may be eligible to receive additional compensation. An experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help injured workers navigate the claims process and ensure that they receive the benefits they deserve.
What to Expect When Reopening a Workers’ Compensation Claim
There are two common scenarios that often arise in Workers’ Compensation cases involving a worsening condition. First, certain treatments can make a worker’s injury worse. For example, physical therapy or injections can aggravate a condition to the point that the worker will require additional or more aggressive treatment. In some cases, the worker may need surgery to correct the new injury. If this is the case, the worker may file a claim to reopen the Workers’ Compensation case. It is important that the injured worker see a doctor immediately if symptoms return, or the condition gets worse after the worker has completed treatment for the initial injury. A failure to receive prompt medical attention can have a negative impact on the outcome of the claim.
Second, Maryland Workers’ Compensation procedural law states that if an injured worker is discharged by a doctor at maximum medical improvement, the worker may recover compensation if there are any remaining physical or health issues. This is known as a permanency award. The injured worker may apply for a modification of the previous award and request that the case be reopened. However, if the percentage of impairment issued on the award is below 10 percent, the worker is less likely to be able to reopen the case. If the award is over 10 percent, the worker may have a successful reopening.
In Maryland, an injured worker who wishes to reopen a Workers’ Compensation claim must do so within five years of the date of the last benefit payment. In addition, there must be sufficient evidence that the worker’s condition has worsened. An injured worker should not assume that just because the claim for the original case has been settled that they may not reopen the claim if the condition worsened. It is highly recommended that workers who wish to reopen an original claim consult a skilled Workers’ Compensation lawyer.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Assist Clients with Reopening Claims
If you wish to reopen a Workers’ Compensation claim due to a condition that has worsened, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will walk you through every step of the claims process and address all your questions and concerns. Our dedicated team will ensure that you receive the full financial benefits you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.