We get this question a lot and not to sound like a lawyer but the short answer is: “It depends”. Basically, you can’t re-open your case just because you are still having problems with your injury. Also, just because your injury has gotten worse is not by itself grounds by itself to re-open your Tennessee Workers Compensation Case. It is important to note, however, that if your injury is exacerbated at work you may have an entirely new work comp case so be sure to report it. Regardless, this brings us to the factor that will often let you reopen your work comp claim. Specifically, you can often reopen the case if through no fault of your own you lose your job after a workers compensation settlement. This is known as reconsideration. Here is how it works. Under the Tennessee Workers Compensation act, if you were injured prior to July 1, 2014 and are returned to work at the same or greater rate of pay then your recovery was limited. This provision was put in the act to give employers incentive to bring the injured employee back to work. It can be good for both parties. On the one hand the employee will have a job and on the other hand the employer can save some money. To protect the employee the legislature also put an escape clause which provides that if you lose your job through no fault of your own then you can reopen you case and get the full benefits. This may include losing your job because of lay offs or if you quit your job because you injury prevents you from continuing. This doesn’t include your quitting to get a better job or if you are guilty of misconduct like cursing your boss out. I recently did a show on this topic which you can watch below:
This brings us to our next important factor: TIME. Like any Tennessee workers compensation case there are time limits. Generally, you have between 200 weeks to 400 weeks from the date that you returned to work until the day you loose your job for a reconsideration to be available. This time limit is dependent on whether the original injury was to a scheduled member (i.e. leg, arm) or to the body as a whole (i.e. shoulder or back). If it was a scheduled member you have the reconsideration right for 200 weeks but if it was a whole body injury then you have the right to reconsider for 400 weeks from the day your returned to work. Next, after you lose your job you have one your to file your claim or you are out of luck. Unfortunately, we see a lot of people that get caught by this because they just did not know they had a right to re-open the case.
If you have a question about your right to reconsideration or any other workers compensation matter, please fee free to contact our Tennessee Workers Comp Lawyers today. We offer free case evaluations on any work comp cases.