Reopening a Closed Workers’ Compensation Claim: Is it Possible in New Jersey?

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After your workers’ compensation claim has been closed, you can reopen it but you must observe the time limit. To know if you qualify to reopen your case, work with one of the most respected New Jersey employment lawyers. Your lawyer will also help you start the process to ensure you have enough time to get it done. 

Reopening a workers’ comp case means asking the court to determine your entitlement for more disability benefits because of a material worsening of your compensable condition. But, you need to prove this and show to the court that this worsening is still because of your original work-related injury.

When a Workers’ Comp Claim in New Jersey Can be Reopened?

If you have been awarded permanent disability benefits, then you can reopen your workers’ comp claim. But, this is not possible if you received a lump-sum payment under Section 20 of the Workers’ Compensation Law since this kind of settlement indicates that your claim has been fully dismissed. 

Factors to Take into Account when Reopening a Workers’ Comp Claim

If you are considering reopening your workers’ comp claim, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Your medical treatment needs. To successfully reopen your claim, you must demonstrate a worsening of your condition using objective medical records like MRI studies, X-rays, operative reports, CT scans, and other documentation. An experienced attorney can help you navigate questions you may have in mind regarding further medical treatment. 
  • The effect of the worsening condition on your income abilities. If your condition has seriously worsened and changed your ability to seek employment, they may have grounds to reopen your claim. Your lawyer will reopen your claim to explore getting lifetime disability benefits.
  • How the condition has worsened. If you returned to work and aggravated your condition because of a new injury, you won’t be able to successfully reopen your claim. This same is true when your condition worsened after sustaining a new injury outside of work.

Time Limits to Observe

In the state of New Jersey, you have a couple of years from the last benefit received related to your original award of compensation to reopen a workers’ comp claim. The state allows this two-year window to run from medical benefits obtained following a permanent disability award is entered. Your lawyer can help you navigate these issues, to make sure you can reopen your claim before the two-year window closes.