Q: My claim was closed, but my doctor discovered that I am developing arthritis in my left hip. Can I reopen my Labor and Industries claim even though the left hip was not originally injured?
A: It is not uncommon for injuries in one part of the body to leave an individual with permanent disability such that it changes the way they walk, the way they reach, the way they stand, etc. The way we physically compensate for a permanent injury or disability sometimes causes us to overuse other parts of our body. Under the Worker’s Compensation system, if compensation for permanent impairment of one part of the body leads to the development of symptoms in other parts of the body, you should have a right to reopen the claim for the new condition. It is largely a medical question as to what brought about the arthritis in your left hip. If your doctor believes that it is related to the change in gait, stance or weight bearing, then you should file a reopening application. Learn more about what to do if the reopening application is denied.