Following the Settlement: Once the Judge of Compensation approves your settlement, you will receive a check from your workers’ compensation insurance carrier within 60 days. If more than 60 days passes and you haven’t received a check, you should contact your attorney immediately as you may be entitled to interest on your award. Your check will be reduced by your share of the costs and fees allowed by the Judge, so you don’t have to worry about sending a check to your attorney. Most cases are paid in one lump sum. However, in some cases, the payments are made over a period of time. If your benefits are paid over a period of time, you should keep all the pay stubs to ensure that you have been paid in full.
Within Two Years: After you have received your check (or you last check in cases of periodic payments), your case is not over. If your condition becomes significantly worse within two years, you have the right to re-open your claim and request additional benefits. However, it does not happen automatically. You must have objective medical evidence of a worsening of your condition (which can be shown through diagnostic testing, like an x-ray or MRI) and you must file an Application to Review or Modify Formal Award within the two years in order to be able to eligible for additional benefits. These benefits might include additional medical treatment, temporary disability benefits if you must miss time from work while under treatment and possibly even an increase in your permanent disability award.
- You may reopen your case even if you no longer work for the same employer. You are not precluded from reopening your case even if you were fired, laid off or quit.
- If you contact the insurance company, and they tell you your case is closed, they mean that their file is closed. You should contact your attorney with any questions about your settlement or your right to reopen your case.
- If you wait even one day beyond the two years, it is too late.
- If you have had a new accident or a new injury involving the same part of your body, it is unlikely that you will be eligible for additional benefits.
If you have questions regarding your Workers’ Compensation settlement, and would like to discuss your case in more detail, please feel free to contact me in my firm’s Lawrenceville, New Jersey office.