Your workers’ comp case is closed, but you are still in pain. If you are facing this situation, it is important to have a full understanding of your legal rights.
When you file a workers’ compensation claim in Nebraska, you generally only get one chance to collect the benefits you deserve. If you wait too long, if you make mistakes, or if you settle your workers’ comp claim too soon, you can lose your right to seek benefits (or additional benefits) under Nebraska’s workers’ compensation law.
That said, it may still be possible to reopen a workers’ compensation claim in some circumstances. If your claim has been closed and you still need help managing the financial costs of a job-related injury, you should not make any assumptions. Before you give up on your claim, you should ensure that you are making informed decisions by seeking advice from an experienced local attorney.
If you are still in pain after your workers’ comp case is closed, call Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop at (402) 241-5020 today for a FREE case review. Our attorneys serve clients in Omaha, Sarpy County, and all of Nebraska, as well as neighboring Iowa.
When Can a Workers’ Comp Claim Be Reopened?
Specific criteria must be met to reopen a previously resolved workers’ compensation claim. Here are four scenarios in which it might be possible to continue fighting for benefits:
1. You Still Have Time to Correct a Mistake
If you have been denied workers’ compensation benefits because you made a mistake when filing your claim, you may be able to correct your mistake. For example, if you failed to include all of the necessary information in your accident report, you may be able to supplement the report as long as the deadline hasn’t expired.
When filing for workers’ compensation on their own, injured workers frequently make mistakes. This isn’t their fault—the system is extremely complicated, and there are many steps involved in making sure you receive the benefits you deserve.
However, employers and their insurance companies may take advantage of employees’ mistakes, using even minor errors as justification for denying coverage. In these scenarios, reopening a workers’ comp claim may simply be a matter of identifying the mistake and then correcting it before proceeding through the remainder of the workers’ comp claims process.
2. You Were Improperly Denied Benefits
If your employer or its insurance company has improperly denied your workers’ compensation claim, you can—and should—file an appeal. Even if you received a letter saying that your claim is closed, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to start moving on with your life. Improper denials are common, and Nebraska’s workers’ compensation law affords employees the opportunity to hold companies accountable when they refuse to pay the benefits they legally owe.
3. The Employer or Insurance Company Terminated Your Benefits Prematurely
Sadly, it is not uncommon for a workers’ comp case to be closed even though the worker is still in pain or suffering impairment. If your benefits are terminated while you are still undergoing treatment or while you are still unable to return to work, you should talk to a lawyer about what needs to be done to reopen your claim.
Read More: Why Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
4. You Reaggravated Your Injury on the Job
A fourth scenario in which it may be possible to reopen a workers’ comp claim in Nebraska is when an employee aggravates the job-related injury after returning to work. Even if your workers’ comp claim has properly been closed, you may still be entitled to benefits provided that the injury was aggravated or exacerbated in the course of your employment.
Technically, this doesn’t involve reopening your previous workers’ compensation claim. Instead, you would need to file a new claim for benefits. As a result, you will need to report your “new” injury on time, and you will need to take all of the additional steps that are necessary to secure workers’ compensation benefits in Nebraska.
You Shouldn’t Rely on Reopening Your Workers’ Comp Claim in Nebraska
While it is possible to reopen a workers’ comp claim in some cases, you shouldn’t rely on reopening your claim after getting injured on the job. Instead, you should be proactive about making sure you receive the full benefits you deserve. This means taking the steps necessary to establish your eligibility, following through with your medical care, and working with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer who can help you protect your legal rights.
Still in Pain After a Workers’ Comp Case Is Closed? Talk to a Lawyer Today
Any number of workplace injuries can result in significant pain and affect your capacity to work, not to mention go about your day-to-day life. Workers compensation benefits should help pay for your losses, but it is important not to allow your employer or the insurance company to take advantage of you.
Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop can help you protect your rights after a work-related injury. We will investigate the accident, help you file your claim, and ensure that you get all of the benefits you deserve. Our attorneys can also determine whether you have grounds for a claim against a negligent third party, which may result in additional compensation.