Claim Reopenings

Apply to reopen your claim if your injury worsens.


You and your doctor may apply to reopen your claim. However, there must be objective medical evidence that the condition caused by the same workplace injury has worsened and needs more medical attention.

Questions workers have about reopening a claim

How long do I have to reopen my claim?

You may apply to reopen your claim (for medical treatment only) at any time.

What benefits am I eligible for if my claim is reopened?

You are eligible to receive both time-loss and medical benefits. However, if your claim has been closed for more than 7 years, you need special permission from the director of L&I to receive time-loss benefits.

Can I see the same doctor as before?

Starting January 2013, if you need to reopen your claim, you will need to see a health-care provider in our network. If your regular doctor is not in our network, encourage them to join, or find one that is in our network.

Can I get independent advice on how to reopen my claim?

If you need assistance, you can call Project HELP at 1-800-255-9752. They are a cooperative effort between L&I and the Washington State Labor Council (AFL-CIO), and can provide you with one-on-one counseling to help you navigate the claims process.

Project HELP staff can assist you with both self-insured and state fund claims, but they are not attorneys and do not give legal advice.

What if I live or move out of state?

Your rights, benefits, and responsibilities for your claim will remain the same. Washington laws will always apply to your claim regardless of where you live.

Many doctors and health-care providers in other states don't accept workers' compensation cases. Find a Doctor in your area.

Did you know?

If your reopening application seeks time-loss as well as medical benefits, you must apply within 7 years of the date your claim was first closed (10 years for eye injuries).

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