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Can You Reopen Closed Workers’ Compensation Cases in Oregon?

Law Office of Michael J. Orlando Feb. 17, 2022

If you’ve ever been injured in a work-related accident, you know that workers’ compensation will cover your medical expenses and any lost wages that are related to the injury. Most employers in Oregon are mandated by the state to carry this insurance for their employees, and by doing so, they ensure the safety and security of the workers as well as themselves since receiving these benefits means employees cannot pursue litigation. But what happens if your case has already been closed yet you still need treatment for your workplace injury?

If you’d like to know more about reopening your workers’ compensation case, call the Law Office of Michael J. Orlando to speak with an experienced attorney. We’re proud to represent and support workers in and around Beaverton, Oregon, and throughout the state, including the Portland metro area, Salem, and Eugene.

Reopening a Closed Case in Oregon

In most cases, your employer will still be responsible for covering the expenses related to a workplace accident even after your case has officially been closed. Usually, cases are closed once an individual is considered “medically stationary,” meaning a physician has determined their condition is unlikely to improve with any more treatment.

Reopening a closed case in Oregon is possible, but to do so, you must file a “claim for aggravation.” This is a state form that you can fill out at your doctor’s office that claims that your on-the-job injury has become worse or has been aggravated in some way and that further treatment is needed. However, there is a statute of limitations that applies.

In Oregon, if you want to reopen a closed case, you must do so within five years after your claim was first closed. If your injury becomes aggravated and needs attention after this time period, you may still be able to contact the insurer and see if you’re able to receive temporary disability compensation.

In some cases, however, reopening a closed case may be more difficult and you’ll need to enlist the help of an attorney. When an injury first occurs, some people may choose to reach a settlement agreement instead of receiving compensation for medical care, and if this is the case, it may mean that you’re ineligible for reopening your case. Typically with these situations, you’ll have to bring forward compelling evidence that you didn’t have knowledge of or access to before to warrant the reopening of your case.

Qualifying Reasons to Reopen a Case

There are a few reasons to reopen a closed case, but in all, you’ll have to provide medical documentation to support your case. If you can show that the injury you sustained while working has changed significantly since your original case was closed, you’ll likely be eligible to have it reopened.

Also, you may need to reopen your case if you found an error that needs to be corrected or if you have new evidence that you weren’t able to bring forward originally (or didn’t have access to). Lastly, you may need to reopen your case if you discover that your future ability to work has been severely diminished due to getting hurt at work.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can help you with every step of a workers’ compensation case, whether you’ve just recently been injured or you were hurt in the past and are only now realizing that your injury was not completely treated. No one who was injured while performing their job duties should have to suffer needlessly just because their workers’ compensation case was closed too soon. More often than not, there are steps you can take to get the help you need.

Call the Law Office of Michael J. Orlando for help with all of your workers’ compensation issues. We proudly serve clients in and around Beaverton, Oregon, and throughout the state, including the Portland metro area, Salem, and Eugene.