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Can I Reopen a Workers Comp Claim in Washington?

Did you know that in the state of Washington, you can always apply to reopen your closed L&I claim? This means that even if your claim has been closed for years, reopening is an option. Even when you no longer work for the employer where you originally filed a claim, you can still apply to reopen.

How Do I Reopen a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

If your medical condition worsens and requires additional medical treatment after claim closure (even when a disability award has been paid), you may apply to Reopen Your L&I Claim by submitting an Application to Reopen Claim. However, if your claim was rejected, you won’t be able to reopen it—though you can always file a new claim for a new injury or re-injury of a preexisting condition.

Even if you only have questions about the process, and it has been some time since your claim has closed—make an appointment with your doctor right away to apply for claim reopening and contact a qualified L&I attorney right away.

Time Limitations & Deadlines

You have 7 years from the date of the very first claim closure to apply for reopening, otherwise, you may not be entitled to receive monetary benefits (though you may still be able to get medical treatment).

Once you submit your application to reopen your workers’ compensation claim, L&I has 90 days from receipt to approve or deny it. However, according to L&I rules in Washington state, L&I can extend the decision-making period by an additional 60 days. That said, all applications to reopen must be formally approved or denied within 150 days. Reasons for a delay could be:

  • L&I is unable to schedule and obtain the results of an Independent Medical Examination (IME)
  • The doctor has failed to respond to L&I’s requests for clarification or additional information
  • There is some other unanticipated barrier to making the prompt consideration otherwise required within the first 90 days following most applications to reopen

Get Help Reopening Your L&I Claim

The process of reopening a worker’s comp claim can be complex and difficult. If you applied to reopen your claim, your claim was rejected, or your application to reopen has been denied, you should immediately contact a qualified L&I attorney to get legal help. Failure to act timely can result in the permanent denial of benefits. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the experienced L&I attorneys at Emery Reddy for help.

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