One of the things that you should never do after a car accident is to accept the initial settlement offer that is made by the other party’s insurance company. Their offer is often far lesser than what you’re entitled to, and even after you’ve had a medical evaluation after the accident, there are many injuries that do not manifest right away, along with psychological, emotional, and occupational damages that need to be factored in. There’s a good chance that your existing injuries will worsen, and your costs to treat them will increase.
Can a Case Be Opened After a Settlement?
It’s not uncommon for people to want to get financial relief as soon as they can. The shock from the accident is also likely to compromise judgment, but once you’ve agreed to a settlement, you also release the other party from any future liability (this applies to settlements both in court and out of court.). However, there are rare exceptions when you may be able to reopen a case even after a settlement has been agreed upon.
If the Responsible Party Fails to Comply With the Settlement Agreement
As is true with any other agreement, when either party fails to comply with an agreement, the other may either demand that the other party complies with the agreement or the agreement is considered void. In this case, if the responsible party agrees to settle a lawsuit for a particular amount in a specified time, but fails to pay, you may take measures to either enforce the agreement or reopen the case.
If the Settlement Does Not Contain a Release of Liability
Insurance companies usually release a settlement check after a settlement agreement is signed. Most settlement agreements contain a release of liability clause that bars the claimant from taking any future legal actions against the payor. This also holds true for court settlements, wherein no such clause can be found in the resolution.
If There Is an Error In the Settlement Paperwork
A settlement agreement is deemed to be invalid if there are discrepancies between the draft settlement agreement and the final output. For example, if a draft of the settlement agreement states that the responsible party must pay the amount of $10,000 but the lawyer accidentally puts the amount of $1,000 on the final output, you may either have the error corrected or have the agreement rescinded.
If There Are Additional Defendants
If there were other circumstances that caused the accident, such as a car’s manufacturing defect or a poorly-maintained road, you may pursue damages against the parties responsible for these circumstances. This holds true even if you’ve already reached a settlement with the other driver. However, it should also be noted that this is a complex scenario, and you’re going to need an expert personal injury lawyer like the ones from The JLF Firm to give you the best possible outcome for your case.
If you’ve reached a point where you want to reopen your case, your problem may have become more complicated than it should have been. While it’s understandable that you’d want to get quick financial relief, doing so will often leave you shortchanged in the long run. It’s always important that you speak to your personal injury lawyer before agreeing to anything.