California allows you to reopen your old workers’ compensation claim under certain conditions, but there are rules to follow and forms to complete before your petition is even considered. You can request to have your case reopened if your injury or illness worsened, and the judge has already issued the award.
You should consider consulting with an attorney experienced in California’s workers’ compensation laws prior to reopening your old claim. There are many nuances to these cases that can be difficult for unrepresented people to understand. KJT Law Group manages workers’ compensation cases. We can discuss your options during a free consultation today.
You Can Reopen an Old Workers’ Compensation Claim
California Labor Code § 5410 allows you five years after the date you suffered your original injury to reopen your old workers’ compensation claim. You must fulfill one or more of the following elements:
- Your injury has worsened and created new hardships.
- You need more medical treatment.
- You want to resume receiving workers’ compensation benefits, whether its temporary total disability benefits or permanent disability benefits.
The conditions under which you can petition to reopen your claim sound narrow. However, as long as you can prove that the new, unforeseeable medical problems you face today resulted from the original injury, you can proceed.
For instance, if your original injury included a broken bone, you may develop post-traumatic arthritis, which can evolve into chronic arthritis requiring surgery. A mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) may present cognitive symptoms such as depression or anxiety months or years after the original injury. In both situations, you can ask to have your case reopened.
Proving the Connection Between the Original Injury and New Medical Condition
You need medical documentation to connect your original injury to have your case reopened. These items could include:
- Photographic evidence
- Your treatment records
- Medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Testimony from your doctor
You want as much information as possible to support reopening your workers’ compensation case. A lawyer from our firm could assess your situation and explain what damages you could recover.
Petitioning to Reopen Your Old Workers’ Compensation Claim
The State of California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) offer a how-to guide on filling out and filing a petition to reopen your old workers’ compensation claim. This guide provides links to other guides and the forms necessary to complete a successful petition.
Warning: It’s complicated. Most government forms and directions to fill out forms are difficult. Our workers’ compensation lawyers have spent years helping workers injured on the job make their way through California’s workers’ compensation program. We help with new claims, appeals, or petitions to reopen old claims—whatever our clients need.
You Don’t Want to Manage Your Case’s Many Obligations Alone
You’re well within your rights to manage reopening a workers’ compensation case on your own. Yet, without legal support, you could find yourself having to:
- Check the date of your original injury to verify it is within the five-year window
- Get a written confirmation from your treating physician that you have a new or further disability caused by your original injury
- Gather all medical records concerning your current condition and its ties to your original injury
- Complete a declaration of readiness to proceed (if the insurance company refuses to cooperate)
- Send various documents to the appropriate offices
The basic steps listed give you an idea of how to put together your petition, but there are specific codes to know, forms to fill out, individuals and agencies to speak to, and information to get beforehand.
If your work-related condition worsened, you don’t have the time or patience to deal with these matters alone. Rather than slog through the claims process alone, consider entrusting your case to our workers’ compensation lawyers.
You Can Get Legal Support From Our Workers’ Compensation Team
If you’re unsure how to proceed, our attorneys are happy to offer you a free consultation with no obligations. We can answer your questions and explain your next steps.
We never represent employers or insurance companies in workers’ compensation cases. KJT Law Group is known for fighting for the rights of employees. No case is too small, and no odds are too daunting for our team of advocates.
With us on your side, we can:
Handle Your Case on Contingency
We don’t charge anything upfront or out of pocket to start working on your workers’ compensation case. That’s because we work on contingency. Rather than request upfront fees or hourly rates, our attorney’s fees come from the compensation we recover on your behalf. You never pay a dime out of pocket for our services.
Manage Your Case’s Time-Sensitive Obligations
Reopening your workers’ compensation case comes with many deadlines that we must obey. Rather than worry about these dates, our team can take care of them and their many obligations. As noted, you generally have five years to reopen an old workers’ compensation case.
Explain the Evidence Needed for a Solid Case
Your healthcare provider needs to connect the dots from your original injury to your current condition using clear and simple language. There can be no doubt surrounding your condition, accident, and other related matters.
As noted, there’s no such thing as having too much supporting information. The more the better.
KJT Law Group Handles Workers’ Compensation Cases
Our workes compensation attorneys are fierce advocates for employees who simply ask to be treated with fairness. If you are injured while on the job, you have rights, including the right to reopen your case and ask for additional support. To learn more about your options as an injured employee, call (818) 507-8525. As mentioned, your first consultation is free, and there is no obligation.