If you’ve been dealing with weekly or monthly payments stemming from a work injury, odds are you’ve thought about the possibility of getting a larger lump sum and settling the case. It’s a tempting option, but settling usually means that your case is considered finalized, and that can lead to issues if your condition worsens later in life. So if you settle your case, can you ever get it reopened in the future, or is it truly finished when you sign on the dotted line? That’s the focus of today’s blog.
Reopening An Injury Case
Before we explain the legal ways in which an injury case can be reopened, let’s take a look at why someone may want to reopen their settled case in the first place. Individuals may want to reopen their case for a variety of reasons, but the most common is that a change in their health related to their work injury leaves them feeling that they should be owed more money. Minnesota tends to agree with the injured party in that unforeseen medical problems related to their work injury could potentially lead to an additional payment, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy.
Under Minnesota law, a closed injury case can only be opened for one of four reasons, which are:
- A substantial change in medical condition since the settlement
- Newly discovered evidence
- A mutual mistake of fact
Some of the above examples are cut and dry, like if you found out that your employer falsified injury reports to try and limit their liability, while others, like a substantial change in medical condition, require significant evidence to meet the threshold of “substantial.” Either way, all the above points require you to present evidence and prove an argument, and the best way to do that is with the assistance of a Minnesota workers’ compensation firm like Hey Workers.
Change In Medical Condition
So what constitutes a “substantial change” in a medical condition? If you settle with a disability rating of 50 percent, and five years later a doctor says you’re at about 40 percent, does that meet the threshold of substantial to warrant additional compensation? In most cases, during the settlement agreement you acknowledge that your condition could get worse and that you’re forgoing your right to additional compensation. But again, the law protects injured workers. If you’re able to prove the following three conditions, you may be able to receive additional compensation after a finalized settlement:
- You have experienced a health change since the award settlement.
- This change was not expected.
- This change could not have reasonably anticipated at the time your finalized your case.
If you can prove these three factors, you may be eligible for an additional payday, but it won’t be easy. Expect the insurance company to fight back, and it’s going to be an uphill battle since you waived some rights during the settlement. However, with an experienced legal team on your side, anything can happen. We’ve helped get clients additional compensation, and we can do the same for you. For more information, reach out to Hey Workers today.