Unfortunately, some occupational injuries can recur months or even years after a person receives medical treatment and recovers.
Dealing with this experience can be even more exhausting and frustrating than the first time, as victims face financial, emotional, and physical difficulties once again.
Most people who sustain a workplace injury can recover medical expenses, lost wages, and other benefits the first time if their employees have workers' compensation insurance.
However, when the injury or illness reappears some time after recovery, what is the best course of action? Should employees file another workers' compensation claim? Here's what experienced workmans' compensation lawyers say about it!
What Is a Recurring Injury?
Before learning about workers' compensation law, it's important to define what a recurring injury is. Essentially, it's a repetitive or overuse injury that occurs in a part of the body that has been affected in the past.
The parts of the body most prone to recurring injuries are the knees, neck, back, and ankles. These are the common ones:
While anyone can be affected by recurring injuries, those who do jobs that involve repetitive motions are more likely to sustain them.
Why Do They Happen?
Those who have suffered injuries need sufficient recovery so that their bodies are in top condition again and can handle physical labor. Unfortunately, many people overwork a body part that had already been injured before it properly healed, sustaining another injury or causing the old one to reappear. Larrimer & Larrimer have information on the most common overlooked workplace injuries.
Many people also maintain a poor working posture and put excessive pressure on previously affected body parts and may suffer recurrent injuries as well.
What Should Injured Workers Do If They Suffer a Recurring Injury?
A person who suffers a recurring injury has to deal with the same difficulties and challenges they faced the first time, from monetary losses to expensive treatment bills.
Therefore, those who work for a company carrying workers' compensation insurance often wonder whether they can recover those losses, even after the first injury was treated and resolved.
A person who sustains a recurring work-related injury may consider filing a workers' comp claim and trying to get their money back. Overall, it makes sense because it's a new injury.
However, most employers often argue that the problems workers now experience result from the injury that occurred several years ago, and they should file under the old claim if they want to get workers' compensation coverage. Unfortunately, this isn't true most of the time.
Can Injured Employees Get Workers' Compensation Benefits by Reopening an Old Claim?
Even if they obtain workers' compensation insurance on their own or are state-funded, claims cost employers money since they must pay premiums for coverage.
As with other types of insurance, the employer's premiums may go up if workers file several claims. Also, old claims cost less than new ones. In some cases, they cost no money!
Instead, a new claim may increase their workers' compensation premiums. That's why they argue that employees should start a new legal process under the old case if they have suffered a recurring injury.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation allows workers to reactivate old claims if their work-related injuries or illnesses worsen. The same is true for those who suffer undetected symptoms after the original benefits were granted.
However, not all injured workers are eligible to reopen a workers' compensation case. These are some requirements that they must meet during this process:
They must provide strong medical evidence that the symptoms never went away
The recurring or persistent injury must be serious enough to prevent affected individuals from returning to work for an extended period
Symptoms must be disabling and confirmed by a health care provider qualified by the workers' comp program
Should Workers Seek Further Medical Treatment Only?
As mentioned, occupational accidents that cause recurrent injuries should be treated as separate cases from the previous ones. However, seeking medical treatment and filing a claim with the insurance company to recover such expenses is not as easy as it seems.
An insurance company is profit-making and will always try to find reasons to avoid paying the compensation that employees deserve after being injured.
In addition, self-insured workers always face many challenges if they plan to file a workers' compensation claim for a recurring injury, as they should also have a reserve to cover claim costs and pay higher rates each year.
Therefore, the best thing an injured worker can do in these cases is to seek help from a professional lawyer! With experts' assistance, deciding whether to try to reopen an old claim or start a new legal process is much easier!
Lawyers Can Prevent the Employer's Insurance Company From Lowballing Victims' Compensation!
Employers provide workers' compensation insurance to cover costs related to injuries caused by occupational accidents. However, that doesn't mean they want to pay huge sums of money to help their employees.
Moreover, they will always try to prevent their employees from making a new workers' compensation claim, arguing that reopening or filing under the old one is the best way to go.
However, those who suffer an injury because they start working without reaching their maximum medical improvement or from putting too much pressure on an already affected body part can file a new workers' comp claim and get the benefits they truly deserve.
Therefore, all workers who sustain recurring injuries while on the job should seek help from experienced attorneys!
How Larrimer & Larrimer Can Help Workers
At Larrimer & Larrimer, we have seasoned attorneys with extensive experience in workers' compensation cases. Our team is ready to help all victims fight for their rights and obtain the best possible results from their claims.
Workers who suffer a recurring injury years after sustaining the first one or are told by their employer that opening an old case is the only option they have can seek help from a professional attorney.
At Larrimer & Larrimer, we understand how employers and insurance companies work when it comes to recurring injuries and workers' comp claims. Therefore, we are willing to help all affected employees fight for their rights. Contact us today!