While workers’ compensation is designed to provide injured workers with a means of recovering compensation for their workplace injuries, the workers’ compensation system may not account for certain factors.
It can be hard to know the extent of an injury when a worker files a compensation claim and they begin receiving set payments. An injury or condition may change or develop over time even after a worker has already received workers’ compensation payments.
If you experienced changes in condition after a Charleston workers’ compensation agreement and need your benefits altered, you may need to contact a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your options. Even after reaching an agreement in a Charleston workers’ compensation claim, a knowledgeable defense attorney could reopen your case and negotiate an outcome that fairly compensates your change in condition.
Reaching an Agreement in a Workers’ Compensation Claim
After an injured worker reaches their maximum medical improvement, meaning the worker is as close to the condition they were in before the accident as possible, they may agree to settle a workers’ compensation claim.
This is done by signing either Form 16 or Form 16A, or by signing an Agreement and Final Release. These agreements relieve an employer and their insurance companies from having to make future payments for an injury unless they choose.
However, it is important to note that under § 67-801(E), an injured worker who signs the Agreement and Final Release may not be entitled to seek additional compensation for their injury if their condition worsens, unless the agreement specifically provides the worker the right.
Requirements for Adjusting a Claim
South Carolina Code § 42-17-90 states that either an injured worker or even the Workers’ Compensation Commission may review a workers’ compensation award. If there is sufficient evidence to show a worker’s injury or condition has changed, the commission may end, diminish, or increase the compensation previously awarded.
Generally, a workers’ compensation claim can be reopened within the first 12 months after payment is issued to a worker. However, this is often subject to whether an agreement has been reached.
Procedures to Follow after a Change in Condition
South Carolina Regulation 67-602(c) outlines the requirements for filing for additional workers’ compensation. Under the law, the worker making the claim for changes in condition after a Charleston Workers’ compensation agreement must attach a medical report indicating a change in their condition to a hearing request form. They may present additional expert reports at the hearing.
The claimant may also request an informal conference to determine if they may receive a medical evaluation at the expense of the employer’s representative by writing the Commission’s Judicial Department.
How an Attorney Could Help Modify Charleston Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you experienced changes in condition after a Charleston workers’ compensation agreement, contact a workers’ compensation attorney today. A dedicated workers’ compensation lawyer could guide you through the process of reopening your claim, help you pursue benefits that fairly compensates your injury, and help ensure your rights as a worker are protected.