Charleston, SC asked in Personal Injury and Workers' Compensation for South Carolina

Q: I was awarded a settlement by SC workers comp case on a bone infection case. However, the infection returned can I reopn

After settlement I was cleared to return to work, however the infection returned and I as forced to fight the infection w more surgeries/toe amputations that carried me well passed the 2 year limitations and finally lost my leg. Can I re open even though my medical battle went well passed the 2years? Also during this battle I was not allowed to work by doctors orders. This unique situation should surely be an exception to the 2 year limitation. Especially since I was cleared to return to work after recovering from the original surgery which I was awarded settlement and had no idea the infection would return and was simply following g doctor’s orders. All things considered my question is: even though I was cleared by doctors and awarded settlemen for original surgery, can I reopen my clam since my condition significantly worsened resulting in a 2year battle/5 more surgeries and finally loss of limb (right leg)?

1 Lawyer Answer
Spencer  Aldrich
Spencer Aldrich
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • Portland, OR

A: First, if you had an attorney help you with the settlement you should go back to that attorney with this question. Second, be sure you have a copy of the settlement you signed and read it over. It should address what rights you released, and what rights you kept.

In a more general sense, the act of accepting a settlement usually means you're giving up rights/benefits in some way. Each jurisdiction is different, however, so you'll want to consult a SC attorney. As an example, in Oregon there is a kind of settlement where you keep medical rights, but lose the right to have the insurance pay you in the future (for lost wages, permanent disability, etc.). There's also a total buy-out settlement where you lose all rights to future treatment or benefits.

My gut would be that if you settled a WC claim for money, you probably lost the right to have the carrier reopen the claim. In general, not many WC carrier's are interested in a settlement where they pay a worker and then still have to bear the risk of providing future benefits to that worker.

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