After agreeing to a settlement, it is unlikely that victims can reopen a personal injury claim to seek additional compensation. In most cases, once an agreement is finalized, the at-fault party is released from any additional liability for your injuries. In short, you cannot file another claim against that party for the same injuries.
That said, Greg Coleman Law explores exceptions that may apply, along with other times a victim may be able to seek additional compensation.
If you suffered a serious injury because of another’s negligent actions, it is a good idea to seek legal representation. Our qualified Knoxville-based personal injury lawyers have extensive knowledge and experience handling personal injury claims. We work hard to ensure our clients obtain the maximum compensation possible. There is no cost or obligation to meet with one of our qualified attorneys to learn about your legal options.
Millions Recovered. (865) 247-0080
No Release Papers Have Been Signed
One way you may be able to seek additional compensation is if you have not yet signed the settlement offer. Although you may have verbally agreed to settle, until you sign the formal release of liability papers, you are not bound by the agreement.
Injuries can sometimes worsen unexpectedly. If this happens, you can have your doctor re-examine you before signing the release papers. If he or she determines that your injuries are more severe than initially diagnosed, your attorney may be able to reopen negotiations for a better offer.
Are There Valid Reasons for Reopening an Injury Claim?
Although rare, these are some of the circumstances under which you may be able to reopen an injury claim after a settlement:
There Are Additional Defendants
Sometimes there are others who may share liability for your injuries, such as with a multi-vehicle car crash. If so, you may be able to seek additional compensation against those other defendants under a new claim.
Errors in Your Settlement Paperwork
Errors like this may be rare but not impossible. For example, say you reach an agreement to settle your claim for $90,000, but the amount in the release papers says $9,000. With a simple drafting error like this, you can simply request to have the mistake corrected. However, you can also request to reopen your case.
Newly Discharged Evidence
Newly discharged evidence that either supports your case or damages the defendant’s case may make it possible to reopen a case.
Your attorney determines opposing counsel did not negotiate in good faith or they used underhanded methods to attempt to defraud you out of the compensation you are eligible to receive.
Failure to Perform
If the defendant fails to pay the agreed settlement amount within 10 days of the finalized agreement, your attorney may recommend taking steps to enforce the judgment or reopen the case.
How to Avoid Settling Too Early
To avoid settling your claim too early, it is important to be completely open with your treating physicians and with your attorney. Continue to describe and document your pain levels, how your injuries are impacting your daily life and even if you are suffering from ongoing emotional trauma from the incident.
Do not rush to settle your claim while you are still undergoing medical care or recovering from your injuries. This could leave you paying considerably more out of pocket later if the compensation you receive is far below the value of your claim.
Hiring a qualified attorney can help to ensure you are fairly compensated for the injuries you sustained by:
- Guiding you throughout the legal process to help you avoid doing things that could damage your claim
- Ensuring you have reached your maximum medical improvement before beginning negotiations
- Taking all contributing factors into consideration when calculating the value of your claim
- Using his or her skills as an experienced negotiator to fight for the maximum amount possible
When victims are struggling to make ends meet during a long medical recovery, it can be tempting to accept an offer that is too low. Insurance companies know this and often have tactics that exploit your vulnerability. They will fight to pay as little as possible on a claim – even by telling you it will be the only offer you will get. Having an attorney communicate on your behalf helps to protect your interests.
Learn More About Your Legal Options From a Qualified Attorney
Insurance companies are notorious for paying out the least possible amount of money on a personal injury claim – even one that is legitimate. Their focus is on protecting their company’s profitability.
An attorney has the same objective in an injury claim as you do, and that is to seek the maximum amount of compensation possible on your behalf. We do not get paid unless you do. In our decades of representing injured victims in Tennessee, we have recovered millions in compensation. Learn more about how we may be able to help at no cost or obligation to you.
FREE Case Review. (865) 247-0080