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Reopening a Workers Compensation Claim

Reopening a Workers Compensation Claim

Knowledgeable Washington State Attorney for Reopening a Workers’ Comp Claim Helps Clients Pursue Additional Benefits for Old and New Work Injuries in King County, Lewis County, Pierce County, Thurston County, and Throughout WA

Workers’ compensation claims are typically closed once a worker’s treating doctor certifies that the worker’s workplace injury or occupational disease has stabilized and no further treatment is likely to improve the worker’s condition. However, in some cases, a worker whose claim has been closed later discovers that they require additional medical treatment and may be temporarily disabled from work due to an aggravation of their work injury or occupational disease. In this situation, a worker may seek to reopen their workers’ comp claim to pursue medical benefits or other financial compensation. Because reopening a closed workers’ comp claim is not always guaranteed, workers should turn to a Washington state attorney for reopening a workers compensation claim for help

If you need to reopen your workers’ compensation claim after it has been closed by L&I, reach out to Smith Duran Law for assistance in applying to reopen the claim. Speak with a Washington state attorney for reopening a workers’ compensation claim from our firm in a free initial case evaluation to learn more about the process of reopening your claim. 

Can a Workers Compensation Claim Be Reopened?

If your treating doctor determines that your work injury or occupational disease has stabilized, which means that no further treatment is likely to improve the condition of your injury or disease, the Department of Labor & Industries will likely close your workers’ compensation. However, if your work injury or occupational disease aggravates or worsens after your workers’ comp claim has been closed, you will need to petition to reopen the claim to obtain medical benefits, wage loss replacement, or other workers’ compensation benefits. 

An application to reopen a workers’ comp claim can be made solely to seek medical benefits, or you can open a claim to recover both medical benefits and wage loss replacement. However, an application to reopen a claim for both medical benefits and wage loss replacement must be filed within a certain time after your workers’ comp claim has been closed; otherwise, any additional benefits beyond medical benefits can only be granted at the discretion of the L&I director.

The process of reopening a workers’ compensation claim will depend on how long it has been since your claim was closed. If you are seeking to reopen a claim within 60 days of L&I having closed the claim, you and your doctor can file a protest of L&I’s decision to close the claim. If more than 60 days have passed since your claim was closed, you and your doctor will need to file an application to reopen your claim. 

To successfully reopen a closed workers’ compensation claim, you will need to present objective medical evidence showing that, since your claim was closed, your work injury or occupational illness has worsened and requires additional medical treatment. This objective may take the form of diagnostic scans or tests along with medical opinion testimony from your treating doctor. However, if your doctor is not a part of L&I’s network of medical providers, they should join the network before submitting your application to reopen your claim; alternatively, you can choose to work with a doctor in L&I’s network for your application.

How to Reopen a Workers Comp Claim

If you require additional medical treatment or other workers’ compensation benefits after your claim has already been closed, it is not always easy to get benefits. You need to formally reopen your workers’ comp claim, which can only happen by showing through medical evidence that your original work injury or occupational disease has worsened since your workers’ comp claim was closed. Let a Washington state attorney for reopening a workers compensation claim at Smith Duran Law help you get the additional workers’ comp benefits you need from a closed claim by:

  • Going over your legal options with you, including what benefits you may still be eligible to claim depending on how much time has passed since your claim was closed
  • Collaborating with your treating doctors to build a case that persuasively shows how your work injury or occupational disease has worsened
  • Filing a protest if your claim recently closed, or filing an application to reopen your claim 
  • Protesting or appealing a denial of an application to reopen, if necessary

Contact Our Firm for a Free Case Review to Discuss Your Legal Options

When you need to claim further benefits on a closed workers’ compensation claim, experienced legal help can make the process much easier. Contact Smith Duran Law today for a free, no-obligation consultation to get a better understanding of what is required to reopen a workers’ compensation claim and to learn how our firm can help you in your case. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Reopening a Workers Compensation Claim in Washington State

How long do I have to reopen a workers’ compensation claim?

If you are reopening a workers’ compensation claim to obtain additional medical benefits, you may apply to reopen your claim at any time after it has been closed. However, if you are seeking wage loss replacement benefits and medical benefits, you must apply to reopen your claim within seven years of the date that your claim was closed (or within 10 years if your claim involves a work injury or occupational disease of your eye or eyes). After that date, only the L&I director can approve other workers’ comp benefits such as wage loss replacement, disability, or pension benefits.

What if my doctor is not part of the L&I network?

To apply for a reopening of your workers’ compensation claim, your treating doctor will need to offer objective medical evidence demonstrating that your original work injury or occupational illness requires additional medical treatment. However, your treating provider will need to be registered on the L&I. They can apply to become part of the network, or alternatively you can seek treatment from a registered provider who will also opine that you require further medical treatment.

  • Workers’ Compensation

    The Department of Labor and Industries manages claims for injuries at work. You are entitled to money for lost wages, medical treatment, vocational retraining, loss of body function, and in some cases a pension

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  • Personal Injury

    If your injury was caused by someone other than a co‑worker, an auto accident, or defective equipment, you may be entitled to additional compensation. Our attorney will evaluate your case.

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