How long does a workers’ compensation claim last?
The answer is that it never ends (unless you no longer work for the same employer and both sides choose to settle).
At first, many of my clients get worried or uncomfortable with the idea that their workers’ comp claim can continue for so long. But then I explain that it’s not a bad thing. It’s actually a good thing. It’s like having a permanent insurance policy on the injured part of your body. Whether it is future medical care that you need for the injury or other benefits you may qualify for related to the injury, you have the ability to pursue those benefits, even in the distant future. That’s a good thing. And this is even if you thought your claim was over or it has been dormant. Just as long as your original workers’ comp injury is a substantial factor in causing the new need for medical care or other benefits.
You should know that a workers’ compensation claim can settle, but you don’t have to do so. You would need: 1) no longer be working for the employer where you were hurt; 2) both sides choose to settle; 3) both sides agree on a dollar figure; and 4) a workers’ compensation Commissioner will need to approve the deal.
Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is very important because: 1) it helps you make sure in your original claim that the workers’ compensation insurance company plays by the rules and pays you all of the benefits you are supposed to receive; 2) it helps you properly revive an old or dormant workers’ comp claim should the need arise; 3) the attorney has the knowledge and experience to safely determine if you are better off keeping your workers’ comp claim open for the long term or if you might be better off settling; and 4) the attorney will make sure that if you choose to settle, you are not cheated by the insurance company on the amount and that you are paid appropriately for your work injury.
So remember, if you have a work injury, make sure you have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer working on your behalf to help you with your claim and even a possible settlement.