What to Do if Your Injury Gets Worse After Settlement
Nobody wants to get injured in a workplace incident. However, work injuries happen regularly. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 2.8 nonfatal workplace injuries or illnesses during the latest reporting year. For most work injuries, victims are compensated for their medical expenses and lost wages through workers’ compensation insurance their employer is required to carry. However, what happens if your condition gets worse after reaching a settlement with workers’ comp?
Why would someone settle a case before they have fully recovered?
There are various reasons that a workers’ compensation case would be closed. Typically, workers’ compensation benefits end when a doctor has determined that the injured person has made a full recovery or that they have recovered as much as they possibly can.
However, injuries are unpredictable. Even if a doctor and injury victim feel that a full recovery has been made, that does not mean that is always the case. An injury may flare up again after a person returns to work, or there could be underlying issues that were not discovered when the initial injury occurred.
There are times when injured workers may need additional treatment and time away from work. An injured worker may need physical therapy, rehabilitation, or surgery. All of this could result in significant expenses for the injured worker, especially if they are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Reopening a workers’ compensation case in Illinois
Depending on the terms of your settlement, you may be able to receive reimbursement for additional treatment resulting from your work injury. However, if you want to receive temporary disability or permanent disability benefits for your case, you will likely have to reopen the workers’ compensation claim.
Under Illinois law, it is possible to reopen your workers’ compensation case. This can happen if your condition worsens due to the workplace injury. Reopening the case must take place within 30 months of the initial settlement approval. However, if your settlement contract included a waiver of your right to reopen the case, it is unlikely that you will receive any further compensation. In most states, including in Illinois, a full and final release of all claims is signed at the time a case is closed.
If a third party was involved
Even though most work injuries will be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, there are times when an injured worker may be able to pursue compensation from a third party involved. This is more common for construction injuries because there are often various different companies and independent contractors involved in a single construction project. If a party other than your employer was responsible for your work injury, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim.
If your injury happened due to a defective product, such as a faulty tool or vehicle, you may be able to recover compensation through a product liability lawsuit against a company or manufacturer.
Speak to an attorney today
If you or somebody you love have experienced a worsening condition in your work injury after a workers’ compensation settlement was finalized, you should speak to a skilled attorney today. An attorney will be able to assess your case and determine whether or not you will be able to reopen your workers’ compensation claim.