How do I reopen my claim if my condition worsens after my claim is closed?

You can apply to reopen your claim for further specific treatment within seven years from the date of first, final claim closure. If the application to reopen is made within seven years from first closure and your claim is reopened, the Department can pay time loss compensation, medical treatment, and permanent partial disability, if applicable. If the application to reopen is more than seven years after first final closure, then it is discretionary on the part of the Director of the Department of Labor & Industries as to whether any benefits other than medical treatment will be paid.

In order for your claim to be reopened, your doctor must establish that your medical condition related to the original injury has objectively worsened (called aggravation of condition) without any new injury occurring. If a different area of your body is affected as a result of the original injury, then your claim can be reopened to treat that new condition, again based on the opinion of your doctor. For example, if you suffered a knee injury and as a result of your knee injury and the change in the way you walk your back becomes painful and in need of treatment, then your claim can be reopened for treatment to your back. Your doctor must clearly establish, however, that your back condition arose from your knee condition.

If the Department denies your reopening application, you must protest or appeal the denial order in writing within 60 days of the date you receive the denial order.