Filing to Reopen a Closed Workers’ Compensation Claim in Washington State

Employment Law

Workers’ compensation is reserved for workers who sustain injuries on the job. Although it is paid for by an employer, the benefits come from an insurer. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not generous in terms of giving benefits to claimants. In fact, they will try to avoid paying for benefits if possible. Because of this, a lot of initial compensation applications are denied. 

Usually, doctors and state officials don’t try to understand or even show interest in your situation. If you had this experience, it is best to seek help from an Albrecht Law attorney. You need an attorney who will ensure your rights are protected. 

What Happens if the State Closes Your Claim?

If you sustained an injury at work or have contracted an illness because of the kind of work you do, you have probably received workers’ comp benefits. If you have a temporary injury, your claim may be closed by the Department of Labor and Industry. But, what if you have ongoing or worsening losses after your claim was closed? 

Thankfully, you can reopen your claim. If you think your claim has been closed prematurely, you can file to reopen it. However, keep in mind the Department may deny your application if they believe you don’t have a further basis for compensation. 

What to Know Before You Reopen Your Injury Claim

You can reopen your workers’ compensation claim if you think your claim was closed even if your job-related injury hasn’t healed. You should file an appeal to the claim’s closure within 60 days from the time it was closed. Another basis for reopening a workers’ comp claim is when your condition worsens. You can file for reopening at any time in this circumstance. But, you must support your claim with a medical opinion. You should be able to show that your condition is related to a work-related injury or illness. But, it doesn’t have to be the same injury or illness. For instance, if you originally sustained a hip injury in a work-related accident, and this injury later resulted in back issues, you may file to reopen your workers’ comp claim based on your current back injury.

What If the State Denies Your Application?

Your application to reopen your workers’ comp claim can still be denied. But, you can protest or appeal the ruling of the Department of Labor and Industry. An experienced attorney can get your claim reopened based on your appeal, as well as the appeal of your employer and doctor.