Reopening A Case That Was Prematurely Closed
Making Sure Your Rights Are Protected
In Colorado, an injured worker’s case can be closed without the worker even knowing it. Be careful that this doesn’t happen to you. Read all documents you receive. If there is anything you do not fully understand, talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney about reopening a closed case.
720-759-3064 — Contact A Lawyer
Since 1983, the Eley Law Firm in Denver has protected the rights of injured workers. We have a thorough knowledge of Colorado workers’ compensation law, and we welcome your calls.
Hear From Cliff On Reopening Your Workers’ Compensation Case:
Cliff Eley, an experienced Colorado workers compensation attorney, discusses the law regarding reopening a Colorado workers’ compensation case …
What Does The Final Admission Of Liability Mean?
When a worker reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI), the authorized treating physician (ATP) will usually assign a disability rating. The insurance company may then file a Final Admission of Liability. This document is several pages long. If you don’t read it carefully, and respond appropriately, your case will close without further action by anyone.
To prevent closure of the case, you must file an Objection to Final Admission within 30 days of the date the Final Admission of Liability is mailed. The worker must also either set his case for hearing or ask for an independent medical examination. The independent medical examination is begun by filing a Notice and Proposal to Select an Independent Medical Examiner.
A Division Independent Medical Exam (DIME or Division IME) is used when either side disagrees with the date of maximum medical improvement or disagrees with the percentage of disability. Both of these issues are initially determined by the authorized treating physician. Whatever party disagrees with the treating doctor’s opinion can ask for a Division IME. Whether you should ask for a DIME or set the matter for hearing can be a complicated legal issue and varies from case to case. Be sure to ask an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for advice on what you should do.
The determination of the Division IME doctor is binding unless proven to be wrong by clear and convincing evidence. This is difficult to do and usually a judge will not do this unless the Division IME doctor is obviously incorrect.
Take Care When Selecting A Division IME Doctor
Because it is difficult to overcome the opinion of a Division IME doctor, great care should be taken in the selection of that doctor. The Notice and Proposal names several doctors whom the requesting party will agree to. If the parties cannot agree, however, the Division of Workers’ Compensation will send a list of three doctors and each party strikes one name from the list. The remaining doctor will perform the Division IME.
The insurance companies know which doctors favor injured workers and which doctors favor insurance companies. Because the opinion of a Division IME doctor is difficult to overcome, do not go through the Division IME process without the advice of a workers’ compensation attorney.
Reopening A Closed Case
You can file a petition to reopen a closed case if it has been fewer than six years from the date of the injury or two years from the last date that benefits were paid, whichever is longest. A case can be reopened if the injured worker’s condition has worsened. Insurance companies rarely reopen a case voluntarily and usually require claimants to prove their cases at hearing. Once a case is reopened, the claimant may receive more temporary benefits, additional medical benefits and additional permanent disability benefits.
Reopening A Case · Free Consultation · Contact A Lawyer
Call the Eley Law Firm today at 720-759-3064 for a free case evaluation from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. You may also fill out the email form on the Contact page and a representative from the office will be in touch with you shortly. We look forward to hearing from you and helping with your workers’ comp case.