They say that the one constant in life is change. It’s true in workers’ compensation cases as it is with everything else. Even after a claim has been settled or decided, you may need to reopen the case.
This typically happens if your injury or illness worsens or leads to disability. Even if you’ve gotten a settlement or compensation for lost wages and medical care, you can reopen the case by filing a Petition to Reopen.
Steps to Reopen
You can request to reopen a claim by submitting the request to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, as well as to the other party and the attorneys of record. The request must include your reason for making the request (such as a worsening medical condition or onset of disability due to the injury or illness) and should include supporting documentation from health care providers such as doctors, surgeons or physical therapists.
If the insurer declines to voluntarily reopen the claim, you can request a hearing by filing an application with the Office of Administrative Courts.
The Reality of Reopening
Perhaps unsurprisingly, insurers often resist reopening workers’ compensation cases. They can be reluctant to increase or prolong benefits, even if your physical condition has deteriorated.
Most people prefer to have a workers’ compensation attorney at their side in this complicated process. The workers’ compensation lawyer completes and files the petition, responds to any rejection of your claim by the insurer and represents you at the administrative hearing in the event your petition to reopen is denied.