I injured my back in 1998. I filed workers comp and was eventually returned to work. Now years later I am having difficulty with my back. Can I reopen my claim?
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2 Answers from Attorneys
Yes, You need to file a continuous trauma type of injury claim since you returned to work. However, I need more information to be able to tell you whether your claim is not barred by statute of Limitation. Feel free to call us at 213.388.7070 for a free consultation.
NO. YOUR DEADLINE to prove 'new & further" disability from a 1998 injury expired in 2003.
You may, however, file a NEW claim, asserting the everyday stresses and strains and repetitive lifting/twisting resulted in a NEW INJURY, we call it a Repetitive Trauma or Continuous Trauma injury.
If you tell everyone it's your 'old back injury' flaring up, a new claim will be DENIED.
If you resolved the old claim by Stipulations With Request for Award and all parties checked "there is" on item 4 (need for future medical treatment), you are entitled to TREATMENT but just for the state of in the injury in 1998...
I would (1) ELECT A PRIMARY PHYSICIAN for workers comp purposes and have that in your personnal file, selected a well-reviewed and honored board-certified ortho surgeon NOT at the employer's little 'occupational clinic' but a real doctor with excellent reviews on HEALTHGRADES, THEN
(2) FILE A CLAIM FOR A REPETITIVE TRAUMA INJURY to the spine, ONLY CLAIMING THE LAST YEAR AS THE PERIOD IN WHICH YOUR SPINE WAS HURT.
The rules are the insurer/employer only go back one year, so if you say you hurt your back in 2009, you'll get a denial and lose in court.
If you say youve got a repetitive trauma from 2011-2012, you're right on schedule and they'll struggle to find a reason to deny you (because they won't find hardly any record of the 1998 claim and you returned to full duty with no restrictions, so that 1998 claim was not a significant injury).
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