When a worker has reached “maximum medical improvement,” and vocational services (if offered) have ended, the claim is ready to close. Closure is not permanent in most cases, unlike a car accident settlement – under some circumstances, the department will reopen a claim. A claim can be closed in one of three ways: without a permanent partial disability award (PPD); with a PPD award; or with a permanent total disability pension. Any bills or time loss or LOEP benefits unpaid at the time of claim closure are lost forever once the closing becomes final. A closing order becomes final 60 days after it is communicated to the worker, his doctor and the employer, unless someone protests the order with a letter or on the department web site. A phone call does not work to protest an order. Once an order is final, it is a done deal, even if it is terribly wrong.
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