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Reopening a Workers’ Compensation Claim in NC


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10/21/2011
Brent Adams
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Brent Adams & Associates has attorneys in Raleigh, Fayetteville and Dunn who work with clients that need to reopen a workers' compensation claim. These are NC employees who currently receive workers' comp benefits and their injury, occupational disease or condition got worse. Their condition may turn into a permanent disability.

Anyone receiving workers' comp benefits in NC has two years from the date of their settlement acceptance to re-open a workers' comp claim-if the settlement was based on their disability rating at the time.

Injured workers may not be allowed to reopen certain types of cases. Clincher settlements or agreements are terms used to describe when an injured employee is offered additional compensation plus the workers' comp benefits they are entitled. In exchange, the injured employee agrees not to seek any further compensation or reopen the case if their condition worsens. Before signing a clincher agreement in NC, an injured worker should always consult a workers' comp attorney. At this clincher agreement level, the knowledge, experience and expertise of the lawyer come into play. Most clincher agreements provide a lump-sum, one-time payment; on rare occasions the insurance company may agree to pay a lump sum to the worker and to pay all related medical expenses into the future as they accrue. Sometimes the clincher agreement provides for a smaller sum up front and the balance paid as a structured settlement.

Just because a condition worsens doesn't mean the injured worker is entitled to more benefits. The employee must demonstrate that the worsening condition is a direct result of the original injury and they need to show the condition requires additional benefits. Physical or mental changes must take place; courts do not take into account financial changes.

Alternatively, an insurer may discover they've been paying too much in workers' comp and request to reopen the claim so that the injured employee can be set up with a repayment schedule.

Worsening condition, mistakes and fraud are typically the reasons why workers' comp claims are reopened. The employee needs to convince the court that the case must be reopened, which may be easier to do with an experienced NC workers' comp attorney.



Category: Workers' Compensation


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