Can My Workers’ Comp Case Be Reopened in South Carolina?
If your workers’ compensation benefits expire soon, you may be asking yourself what will happen if your injuries have left you unable to return to work. It may be time to open a new case when you need more benefits and compensation for your injuries than your current benefits cover.
Reopening an old workers’ compensation case may feel daunting, and for a good reason: it’s complicated and requires expert knowledge of the legal process. The good news, however, is that an attorney can easily help you navigate the process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Let’s go over some of the common circumstances in which you may be eligible to open your workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina.
When Are You Unable to Reopen a Workers’ Comp Claim?
South Carolina law enables injured employees to reopen old workers’ compensation claims if their injuries worsen over time. For instance, you may have suffered a back injury that seemed to be improving but actually turned into a slipped disc injury that caused you to require more medical treatment than expected, making you eligible to reopen your claim.
In South Carolina, as long as you do not sign a clincher agreement, you should be able to reopen your workers’ comp case. A clincher agreement is sometimes referred to as a final release, and it relieves employers and insurance companies from paying for future benefits once signed. This means that if your injury worsens over time, the insurance company and your employer do not have to compensate you, nor will you be able to reopen your claim.
When Can You Reopen a Workers’ Compensation Case?
Assuming you did not sign a clincher agreement, you may be able to reopen your claim over various circumstances, such as the following:
Changes in Your Medical Condition
If your medical condition worsens or new complications arise due to your work-related injury or illness, you may be eligible to reopen your workers’ compensation case. It’s crucial to provide medical evidence that clearly demonstrates the deterioration or change in your condition since the initial settlement or decision. This can include the worsening of an injury or changes in other areas of the body that your doctor suspects are correlated to the work incident.
Worsening of Your Existing Work Injury
If a previous injury or ailment linked to your occupation deteriorates due to work-related duties or a new occurrence at work, it may be possible to reopen the case for your workers’ compensation benefits. You must provide medical evidence demonstrating a direct correlation between your job causing your injury to worsen in order to accomplish this.
Discovery of an Undiagnosed Injury
In some instances, you may discover an additional work-related injury or illness that was undiagnosed at the time of the initial settlement or decision. If you and your doctor can provide compelling evidence linking the new ailment to your work activities, reopening your workers’ compensation case may be possible. So, for instance, if you initially injured your hip but discover that the pain is related to a slipped disc in your back due to work-related activities, you may be able to pursue a claim.
Mistake, Fraud, or Misrepresentation
If there was a mistake, fraud, or misrepresentation involved in the initial settlement or decision, it’s possible to reopen your claim. This could include any examples where crucial information was withheld or where the employer or insurance company misrepresented facts that influenced the outcome of your case.
It’s important to understand that reopening a workers’ compensation case can be a complex legal process, which is why it’s of the utmost importance to seek the guidance of a skilled workers’ compensation attorney. By analyzing your situation, an attorney can assess the viability of reopening your case and provide the legal support you need to navigate the necessary procedures.
If you believe your workers’ compensation case in South Carolina may qualify for reopening, it’s time to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can review your situation in detail. An experience workers’ compensation attorney will help you gather the appropriate evidence, navigate the legal complexities, and advocate for your rights in seeking the reopening of your case.