Navigating New Jersey's Re-opener Provisions:
A Second Look at Your New Jersey Workers Comp Case
In the complex world of New Jersey’s workers’ compensation, the re-opener provision stands out as a testament to the system’s adaptability and understanding that injuries and their effects can evolve over time. Work injuries have a dynamic nature that can change over time.
Requirements of an NJ Work Injury
In New Jersey workers’ compensation, a re-opener allows an injured worker to revisit a previously settled claim if their condition materially worsens.
To qualify for a re-opener, the worker must demonstrate a significant change in their medical condition since the last award or settlement. This might include a decline in function or the need for surgery that wasn’t previously anticipated.
Typically, a worker has two years from the date of the last compensation payment to file a re-opener petition. However, it’s essential to note that this isn’t from the date of the original injury but from the most recent payment or settlement.
A successful re-opener can lead to increased disability benefits and coverage for additional medical treatments.
The process involves filing a petition, after which both parties will usually obtain updated medical evaluations to support their positions. Much like the original claim, this can be resolved either through negotiation or trial.
Consider James, a warehouse worker who received a settlement for a back injury less than two years ago. Recently, his condition materially worsened, leading to the need for surgery. By filing a re-opener, James can seek additional compensation to cover his new medical expenses.
If you’ve previously settled a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey but find your condition materially worsening, it’s crucial to consult a seasoned work injury attorney familiar with the New Jersey re-opener provisions. They can guide you through the complexities, ensuring you get the assistance you deserve. Re-openers allow the NJ Workers Comp system to accommodate unforeseen changes in a work injury for a period of time after the case is settled.