Can I Reopen My Arizona Workers' Compensation Case?
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Jun 08, 2018 in Workers' Compensation
There are times when you can reopen a workers’ compensation case even though it has already been settled. For example, your condition may change and the effects of your workplace injury or illness may worsen over time.
If you wish to reopen your workers’ compensation case, contact the Phoenix workers’ compensation attorneys of the Phillips Law Group for assistance. We can determine if you can reopen your case and guide you through every step of the process as we pursue the compensation you deserve.
Reasons Why a Workers’ Compensation Claim Can Be Reopened
Workers’ compensation claims may be reopened for the following reasons:
- Your condition has gotten significantly worse - You must be able to prove that your condition has greatly declined since your claim was settled. The worsened conditions must be linked to your original workplace injury or illness, and not due to some other cause, such as a new injury or aging. However, if your workers’ compensation settlement included the right to future medical care, you do not need to reopen your case. Treatment will be covered the same way it was covered before the settlement was finalized.
- Your previous award was inaccurate - If new evidence proves your workers’ compensation award was not correct, your case may be reopened to resolve this error.
- Law errors or mistakes, or clerical errors, caused your award to be inaccurate - Your case may be reopened to correct this error.
You will have a very difficult time reopening your case if you signed a full and final release settlement. With a full and final release settlement, you give up your right to pursue future claims in exchange for your original settlement.
There are rare cases when you may be able to reopen your claim after signing a full and final release. For example, you may be able to reopen the case if you can prove the insurance company committed fraud when getting you to sign such an agreement.
Evidence You Will Need
You will need to support your request to reopen your claim with medical evidence. Your doctor must write a report or complete designated forms explaining the following:
- How your original condition has worsened
- What medical treatments are needed
- Your current worsened condition is caused by your original workplace illness or injury
Filing a New Claim
Depending on the symptoms you experience, it may be in your best interest to open a new workers’ compensation case instead of reopening the existing claim. If your disability has worsened, your situation may be a cumulative claim, which is usually treated as a new claim.
Cumulative trauma claims often concern repetitive injuries or progressive illnesses, but could also cover specific traumas that cause chronic pain or new repetitive injuries. These cases can be difficult as every person’s illness or injury affects them differently.
Your attorney can review your situation to determine if you should reopen your case or file a new one.
Is There a Time Limit to Reopen a Claim in Arizona?
In some states, you must file to reopen your workers’ compensation claim within a certain period of time known as the statute of limitations. This is a deadline for filing a claim and if you do not file a claim before the deadline passes, you lose the right to do so.
However, in Arizona there is no statute of limitations that applies to reopening a workers’ compensation case. You may file to reopen your case at any time by filing a Petition to Reopen.
Contact an Attorney for Help
If you wish to reopen your workers’ compensation case, the skilled Phoenix workers’ compensation attorneys of Phillips Law Group are available to assist you. We will review your case and inform you of the options available for recovering the compensation you deserve.
Request a free, no obligation consultation now with our legal team. There are no upfront fees when working with our law firm and you only owe legal fees if we recover compensation in your case.