Revisiting a Settled Iowa Workers’ Compensation ClaimIt can be possible to re-open an old claim to apply for additional benefits. In Iowa, this is known as a review-reopening claim. However, specific conditions must be met in order to do so successfully. A review-reopening claim is not intended to simply review the original claim. The injured worker must have experienced some type of change or worsening of the injury. To pursue a review-reopening claim, the worker must have experienced:
- Worsening of the medical condition
- Decrease in wage-earning capacity
- Newly discovered medical evidence (such as a new related diagnosis or unforeseen complication)
- A legal or factual mistake
- Fraud by the insurance company
- Scheduled loss – Injured worker must show that the functional disability has increased.
- Unscheduled loss – Injured worker must demonstrate that either the functional disability has increased or his earning potential has decreased.
Certain Types of Settlements Cannot Be ReopenedIf you want to take a second look at an old claim simply because you are dissatisfied with your benefits, it is typically not possible. Injured workers must meet the stated criteria to revisit an old claim. Additionally, there are times when even workers who are eligible under those guidelines may be prohibited from a claim review. There are a number of different types of settlements in Iowa, and the type of settlement that was originally accepted will dictate eligibility for a review-reopening claim. Some claims are settled in a manner that is considered “full and final,” which means that the injured worker is barred from a review of the claim once the agreement is reached. In other situations, an employee may be able to obtain payment for medical costs only, while there are still other times that full compensation is available. The terms of the original settlement should be discussed with an experienced lawyer who can help you understand your rights and help you explore ways to be successful if a review-reopening claim is possible.
Pursuing a Review-Reopening Claim in IowaEmployers and insurance companies are usually reluctant to review an old claim once it has been settled. They are interested in saving as much of their money as possible, and they will try to avoid further payments if at all possible. Typically, a review-reopening claim requires paperwork to be filed with supporting documents. It will be considered by the state commission, and a hearing may be necessary to examine your case further. It is important to note that a review-reopening claim must be filed within three years of the final payment of weekly benefits for the original case.
Filing a Second, New Claim Can Be PossibleEven if a review-reopening claim is not an option in your case, it may still be possible to obtain further compensation. An injury can be classified as a new injury, and a new workers’ compensation claim can be opened. This is typically possible if:
- The injury is aggravated in a new employer’s work environment.
- The injury is unrelated to a previous claim.