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2024 How to Reopen a Workers’ Compensation Claim in California?

Injured workers who settle or close their California workers’ compensation claims should ideally have all of their past, present, and future expenses associated with their debilitating injury covered by the settlement. However, it can occur that a disability may worsen instead of getting better, or even a new disability can arise. In such cases, it’s important to understand how to reopen a workers’ compensation claim in California.

Unfortunately, many injured workers in California with worsening or new conditions are either not aware of the option to reopen their workers’ compensation case or are too overwhelmed by the required paperwork and complex processes to follow through. Therefore, by understanding key concepts associated with the process, as well as a general overview of the workflow, injured workers can work to get the support and coverage they need for their changing circumstances.

Reopening Your California Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you have been awarded a workers’ compensation amount but are struggling to make ends meet with your current payments due to a worsening work-related condition or illness or a new but connected condition, it’s important to understand your rights when it comes to being able to reopen a case. By working with a dedicated workers’ compensation lawyer, they can review your case and help determine if you are eligible to reopen your case using the following steps:

  • Gathering Documentation. You will need to acquire a medical report from your physician that clearly states that your work-related disability has worsened. Any additional documentation you can gather that supports your case for a worsening condition, such as bills for associated care and expenses and videos and photos, is also helpful.
  • Filing a Petition to Reopen. An experienced and skilled workers’ compensation lawyer can help you fill out and submit a petition to reopen. They can help you ensure that your application is completed thoroughly and correctly and that you have adequate supporting evidence for your case.
  • Submitting Supporting Documentation. When you are submitting your petition to reopen to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board District (WCAB), you may need to attach additional documentation, depending on your case. For example, if the workers’ compensation company is refusing to reopen the case and you would like to proceed to a hearing, you will need to fill out and submit a “Declaration of Readiness to Proceed” with your petition.

A California workers’ compensation lawyer can help ensure that you file your petition to reopen your case on time, which is usually within five years of the date you were injured. You will need to mail your petition to the appropriate workers’ compensation appeals board district office near you, which can be found on the California Department of Industrial Relations website, along with key supporting documentation showing your medical status.

An experienced California workers’ comp lawyer can also help you navigate subsequent processes associated with reopening your workers’ compensation case and fighting for a more comprehensive settlement to cover all your illness/injury costs. They can help determine the new amount of compensation you are entitled to by considering a wide range of factors, including your previous settlement amount and the severity with which your disability has digressed.


Q: How Long Can a Workers’ Comp Claim Stay Open in California?

A: The length of a workers’ compensation claim is dependent on a variety of factors, such as the extent and nature of the subsequent worker’s injury, the involved treatment plan, and the rate at which the injured worker is recovering. It is possible for workers’ compensation claims in California to stay open until the worker who is injured reaches the maximum medical improvement or goes back to work.

Working with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand how long your workers’ comp claim might take to settle.

Q: Is There a Statute of Limitations on Workers Comp Claims in California?

A: In California, there is a statute of limitation on workers’ compensation claims. It is generally one year from the day that the worker is injured or is diagnosed with a condition or illness that is a result of their workplace situation. There are some exceptions to the one-year rules, including cumulative trauma injuries. To understand what the deadlines might be for your workers’ compensation claim and other key deadlines and requirements, it’s important to get in touch with an experienced attorney.

Q: What Happens if You Can’t Return to Work After Injury in California?

A: If you are injured to the point where you cannot return to work for a temporary or permanent period of time, you are likely entitled to a variety of workers’ compensation benefits under California law. The amount and type of benefits you might be eligible to receive are typically dependent on the extent of your injuries and the overall impact on your ability to work.

A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand if you are entitled to certain benefits, such as permanent disability benefits or vocational rehabilitation services.

Q: What Is a Petition to Reopen for New and Further Disability?

A: A Petition to Reopen for New and Further Disability is a legal filing that occurs in the California workers’ compensation system. This filing is utilized to ask for additional benefits related to a work-based injury in the case that the condition of the injured worker gets worse or if they develop new disabilities after the original claim is closed or settled. The petition is usually filed to reopen the case for injured workers to get more compensation for a disability that has gotten worse.

Reopen Your Workers’ Compensation Claim in California With an Experienced Attorney

If a new disability has arisen since you settled or closed your last workers’ compensation claim, or if your existing disability has worsened, you could be entitled to additional compensation. An experienced and compassionate workers’ compensation lawyer from Canlas Law Group can evaluate your case, including your recent medical records, to determine whether your case could be eligible for reopening. Contact a dedicated attorney from Canlas Law Group today.

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