Can My Personal Injury Claim Be Reopened After It Is Settled?
Filing a personal injury claim can be a long and tedious process, and once it is settled, you’ll likely be glad to be done with the situation.
But what happens if you regret your settlement? Perhaps extra facts come out about your injuries, you don’t believe that your attorney fought for you hard enough, or you want to see what your case would have produced if you had gone to trial. Is it possible to reopen a personal injury claim? In most situations you cannot reopen a claim. We’ll go over different circumstances and factors when there may be exceptions to this rule.
Cases with Multiple Liable Parties
One situation in which your case may not be completely over is a case in which there are multiple liable parties. Consider a car crash caused by another person running a red light. Perhaps your claim with the other driver is completed. However, it turns out that the brakes on your vehicle were also defective. As a result, your car did not stop in an acceptable amount of time when you tried to avoid the accident.
In this situation, part of your claim is settled, and you cannot return to the other driver and ask for more money. You may, though, still have a claim against your vehicle manufacturer.
Knowing the Terms of Your Settlement
Your attorney can help you understand the terms of your personal injury settlement. In the vast majority of personal injury claims, you sign away your right to sue in the future in exchange for a monetary settlement. Even if your written contract does not specify this, there is likely a verbal agreement in place that would prevent you from seeking further damages.
When You Can Reopen a Claim
Laws do not permit you to reopen a settlement claim simply because you regret the amount you settled for. This type of leeway would make it almost impossible for companies to ever settle a claim and free themselves from future liability, which would then prevent them from ever offering settlements. However, you may be able to reopen a claim again in certain circumstances.
If there is a mistake in the paperwork for your claim, you may be able to have the mistake corrected or revisit the case. Consider a claim that has been settled for $5,000. When it is drafted, they err and write $500 instead. This is obviously a mistake and does not mean you are only entitled to $500. The paperwork should be amended to reflect this.
You may also be able to reopen a personal injury claim if the other party does not uphold their end of the contract or if they fail to pay up as ordered by the judge. If you sign a contract that requires the other party to pay the agreed upon settlement within seven days and they fail to pay, you may be able to pursue legal action or otherwise force them to pay up.
Discussing Your Needs with an Attorney
No matter what your specific situation is, it comes down to one specific piece of legal advice: talk to your attorney. Personal injury cases can be quite complex and trying to navigate a settlement or reopening a case on your own will likely lead to unnecessary stress, headaches, and delays. This is true regardless of where you are in the process.
People interested in reopening their cases are often curious about this option because they realize they accepted a settlement that was far too low. You can avoid that situation by working with an experienced attorney from the very start. Attorneys know how much an injury like yours is likely to cost, and they can help you avoid the trap of accepting a low settlement. Trying to bring in an attorney to clean up the mistakes you made by negotiating on your own is generally much less successful than simply working with a reputable personal injury lawyer from the start.
Let Us Help You with Your Personal Injury Claim
Maybe you are still healing from your injuries and you are wondering how you can pursue compensation. Perhaps your claim was mishandled, and you are trying to reopen it. No matter what situation you find yourself in, Pack Law Group is here to help. Call us at 540-586-7225 or get in touch online to learn more about your legal options.