Tag Archives: Yeomans v. Jersey City

“Re-Opener” Awards in New Jersey

About one-in-five of the new cases filed in the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation this year will be a “re-opener” claim. Formally called an “Application to Review or Modify a Formal Award” or “Application for Modification of Agreement” as per N.J.S.A. 34:15-27, these claims are brought by petitioners who allege that they have a need for treatment, have new lost time, or have an increase in the amount of permanent partial disability.

What types of cases are eligible for “Re-Opener?”

Compensable workers’ compensation claims are often resolved by way of an “Order Approving Settlement.” Such a settlement requires the employer/respondent to continue providing medical treatment for the injuries described on the Order Approving Settlement. In addition, a claimant has the right to “re-open” her claim for a period of two years from last compensation paid. Additionally, claims resolved by way of Judgment (award following litigation) are subject to re-opening by the petitioner.

As per the statute:
A formal award, determination and rule for judgment or order approving settlement may be reviewed within 2 years from the date when the injured person last received a payment upon the application of either party on the ground that the incapacity of the injured employee has subsequently increased. Continue reading “Re-Opener” Awards in New Jersey

Explainer: Why so Many “Re-Opener” Claims in New Jersey?

New Jersey’s workers’ compensation is unique in that nearly 1 in 6 cases filed with the Division of Workers’ Compensation is not new at all – they are simply re-openings of cases which were already litigated to conclusion and settled. In 2015 the most recent year for which statistics are available, 34,500 “new” claim petitions were filed in New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation. An additional 6,250 re-opening claim petitions were filed in the same period.

In order to file a reopened of a closed case, the petitioner must show “material worsening” of her condition such that disability is increased. Why so many re-opener cases? Are the petitioners really worsening as they allege? Read on to learn about the statutory and legal framework that encourages “re-opener” claims in this jurisdiction.
Continue reading Explainer: Why so Many “Re-Opener” Claims in New Jersey?