Can I have my claim re-evaluated after a settlement?

Maybe. Whether or not you can get additional benefits depends on whether, at the time of settlement, you "closed out" your claim completely. If you left open your future medical care benefits, at least you should be able to get the treatment you need.

If you closed out the claim completely, you probably will not be able to re-open it. In some states, however, you can re-open your claim within a certain number of years from the date of the original injury. To do this you will have to file additional documents with the workers’ compensation court. You would then be re-evaluated by doctors and, if your level of permanent disability has increased since the date of your settlement, you may receive additional compensation and medical treatment.

If your condition has become worse due to employment at a different job than the one you were doing when you were originally injured, you may be able to pursue a new claim against your new employer. For example, if you hurt your back lifting a crate at your last job and your back injury has become worse because of something that happened at your current job, you can file a workers’ compensation claim against your current employer.

In many cases, though, a complete settlement of your claim will prevent you from receiving additional benefits. That is why it is best to make certain that you know what you are giving up in exchange for a settlement of your claim.



(Reviewed 9-08)