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)?
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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