Unlike a general personal injury claim, a workers’ compensation claim may be reopened after it has been closed, and after the applicant has already been paid for their damages. Both the insurer and the worker have a right to reopen a claim that has already been closed, whether to request additional benefits, or to dispute compensation that has already been paid. While most state laws vary greatly on the topic of reopening a workers’ compensation claim, almost all of them allow for a case to be reopened if there has been a substantial change in the worker’s condition which could not have been anticipated at the time the original claim was filed.
However, in order to reopen an old claim, you need not to have signed a “full and final” release. If you did, the only real chance you have of reopening your claim is to prove that your insurance company committed fraud in order to get you to sign the settlement agreement.
According to A.R.S. 23-1061(H), “…An employee may reopen [an accepted] claim to secure an increase or rearrangement of compensation or additional benefits by filing with the commission a petition requesting the reopening of the employee’s claim upon the basis of a new, additional or previously undiscovered temporary or permanent condition, which petition shall be accompanied by a statement from a physician setting forth the physical condition of the employee relating to the claim.”
Or, in other words, a petition to reopen a claim may be filed if the claimant can prove that there has been a significant change in his or her condition since the closing of the original claim.
Some common reasons to reopen a workers’ compensation claim in Arizona include:
In order to reopen a workers’ compensation claim in Arizona, you must file a petition to reopen and provide supporting medical evidence with the Arizona workers’ compensation agency. Supporting medical evidence may include a statement from your doctor, medical records, or some other material proof of a worsened condition.
It can be extremely difficult to reopen an old workers’ compensation claim in Arizona, as insurance companies are likely to deny your request unless you can provide compelling evidence to reopen your claim. In order to avoid a long, drawn-out battle with the insurance company regarding reopening your case, get in touch with Snow, Carpio & Weekley, PLC. Our workers’ compensation benefits attorneys can help you reopen your claim and submit the evidence necessary to convince them that additional benefits are required to complete your recovery. To schedule a free consultation with our workers’ compensation lawyers, contact us at 877-370-5788 today.