Can My Personal Injury Case Be Reopened After It Has Been Settled?
Personal injury claims are complicated, especially for those who have never had legal issues before. That’s why so many people end up in a situation where they’re wondering if they can reopen their case. Perhaps they took the first offer given by the insurance company, signed the waiver of liability, and accepted the payment. Unfortunately, the medical bills kept coming in after the money ran out. Upon finding out the full extent of their injuries, they wonder if they can go back and ask for more compensation.
If you are in the middle of a personal injury claim, don’t do it alone. Let us help. Call Ron Aslam Law Office at 502-581-1676 to figure out what your next step should be.
When You Cannot Reopen a Case
We’ll start the bad news: most of the time, you cannot reopen a personal injury claim after it has been settled. When you choose to settle, the insurance company and all involved parties sign a waiver of liability. This takes away your right to sue for further damages. It is used to limit the risk of the liable party while allowing the wronged party to get some compensation without going to court. Unless one of a few exceptions apply, your personal injury claim is done and over with once you have signed those papers.
When Other Parties Are Involved
If more than one party was liable for the injuries you suffered, you may have a closed claim against one party but still be able to seek compensation from the other parties. Consider, for example, a multi-car crash.
You were the first car in the lineup, and you were struck by Vehicle B directly behind you. Vehicle C was following too closely and struck Vehicle B, pushing them further into you and causing more damage. Perhaps you have settled your claim with Vehicle B’s insurance company, and you can no longer ask for more compensation from them. You may still have a claim against Vehicle C, though. They are partially liable for your damages, and you may be able to negotiate with their insurance company.
Consider, as another example, a slip and fall case. You have a claim against the property owner for not properly salting their walkway and making it safe to walk. It turns out, though, that they salted the driveway, but the product was defective. While you have no further options with the property owner, you might be able to bring a claim against the salt manufacturer or distributor.
If You Were Coerced or Defrauded
You could reopen a claim if you can prove that the other party coerced you into an unfair settlement or defrauded you with the goal of getting you to accept less than you deserved. This can be challenging to prove, so it’s best to discuss your options with a personal injury attorney if you think this may apply to you.
Avoiding These Issues Before You Settle
The best way to avoid the need to reopen a case is to handle it correctly the first time. Unfortunately, those who end up in these situations often do so because they chose to handle the claim on their own. The idea of paying part of their settlement to an attorney often gives people pause; but consider the fact that you may be able to get substantially more with an attorney – even after you deduct legal fees.
By working with a personal injury attorney right away, you can get a full and clear understanding of what your case is truly worth. You may be underestimating your accident, leading you to consider offers that are ridiculously low.
Your attorney can assess the expenses you have incurred, the expenses that are likely to continue piling up, and the value of your pain and suffering. From there, they can handle negotiations. With their experience negotiating with insurance companies, they are far more likely to have a positive outcome than you are on your own.
Turn to Ron Aslam Law Office for Help with Your Case
Have you been injured because of someone else’s negligence? Don’t fight the insurance company alone. Ron Aslam Law Office is ready to help you recover the full and fair compensation you deserve. Schedule a consultation now by calling us at 502-581-1676 or contacting us online.