Can You Reopen Your Closed Workers’ Comp Case in Georgia?
By Darwin F. Johnson on April 13th, 2020 in Savannah Worker's Comp, Workers Compensation
If you have a dormant workers’ compensation in Georgia, you are likely wondering if your case is closed and if it can be reopened. This is a common question among workers’ comp clients and prospective clients and the answer to it depends on the specifics of your case. There are several reasons for a workers’ compensation case to be closed and only in some cases can it be reopened. If you experience a workplace crush injury and believe that your workers’ comp case was wrongly closed, you should consult with a trustworthy attorney about the details of your case in order to come up with the best strategy for you. Here are some considerations you should make before trying to reopen your closed workers’ compensation case in Georgia:
Has Your Case Been Settled or Submitted for Approval?
Workers’ compensation cases that have been settled and submitted in Georgia are generally all but over. In settled cases, both the medical portion and the indemnity portion of the settlement have been agreed upon by both parties, and these cases are generally never reopened. Once the State Board of Workers’ Compensation has reviewed and approved the settlement in your case, it is officially considered closed. Reviewed and approved workers’ compensation cases cannot be reopened in Georgia, even if the settlement money has not been distributed yet, approved cases are still officially closed.
Did Your Employer Fail to Pay Your Settlement?
Once a settlement is approved, the employer or insurer must make payment within 20 days of approval. Employers or insurers who fail to pay are subject to a penalty of 20% of the original amount. There have been cases where employers fail to pay the settlement and the penalty for the initial non-payment. With the right representation, the aggrieved party can often recover civil penalties in these cases, but very rarely are they officially reopened unless there is proof of fraud.
Has the Statute of Limitations Expired?
Generally, workers’ compensation cases cannot be reopened once the statute of limitations has expired unless there is a new injury. There are three main components to statute of limitations for workers compensation cases in Georgia:
- If your employer fails to pay any of the indemnity benefits or medical treatment that were agreed upon, you have 1 year to file a claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
- If you fail to file a notice of claim within one year of your most recent medical treatment,
- If you are injured and receive indemnity benefits, you have up to two years to file a claim.
Sometimes, cases can seem closed when they are dormant and still technically open. The criteria for an open case vs. a closed one can be confusing to navigate without the help of a trustworthy attorney. If you have a pending workers’ compensation case for a catastrophic work injury and would like to know more about where you stand, reach out to the Law Offices of Darwin F. Johnson today.