Some time ago, you were involved in a car accident where you settled with the insurance company either through a lawsuit or privately. After getting compensated, you finally realize that the money you were paid as compensation would not be enough because you are now faced with long term disability and a high medical cost. This has left you wondering “can a lawsuit be reopened after settlement”?. You are left with thoughts of reopening the case and getting extra or further compensation.
The truth is eight out of ten times, you cannot reopen a case once a settlement has been reached and compensation has been paid regardless if a settlement was reached through a lawsuit or privately. The only thing here is there are uncommon cases where you, as a victim might be allowed to revisit a case even after a settlement has been reached between both parties and the case, has been closed. If you would like to privately file for a lawsuit or if you would want a case to be reopened or revisited then you should consult with your attorney.
Your attorney would be in the best position to examine the terms of the settlement and also the case that has settled to see if it would be possible for the case to be reopened.
Can A Lawsuit Be Reopened After Settlement?
After settling with a defendant even outside the walls of a courtroom, you can’t reopen that case again, and even though this news might be a bit defeating, you should be able to realize that some major components support this and these components are there so you and the defendant can be protected. Even though you might not be allowed to revisit an already closed case, there is still a possibility of seeking compensation from a third party that is still connected to the case.
Signing Of General Release
Before you are handed a settlement check by any insurance company, you would have to sign a general release and this general release is considered the biggest roadblock that prevents you from reopening a case that has already been closed. It basically blocks out the possibility of revisiting an already closed case. You must sign the general release after agreeing with the insurance company on the amount that you would receive as compensation.
The general release simply states that you are setting the defendant and his insurance company free from any future costs or claims that are related to the incident. Signing this general release simply means signing off on the rights to seek further compensation if the need ever arises. Signing a release of liability simply bounds you legally to the general release and the case would never be reopened or revisited.
Circumstances That Might Cause You To Get Further Compensation
In very rare cases, you might be able to reopen a lawsuit or claim even after they have been closed and the only time that this is feasible is the inability for you and the insurance company to reach a settlement amount. In some other cases, an accident victim might go into negotiations with an insurance company, receive a settlement, and be asked to sign the general release of liability. The accident victim can change his mind and say he is not okay with the amount that is being offered.
However, the case is still very much active because a waiver hasn’t been signed yet but if there is anyone in this situation, the best advice is for such person to get legal advice from an attorney so the dispute can be resolved and a settlement can be reached. Insurance companies most of the time would try to take advantage of an accident victim that has no attorney to guide them. They are aware of the fact that you would not read through the lines of whatever they are offering because you want your check today.
No matter how down you are financially, you must exercise patience before signing the liability waiver. It would be difficult to turn back from it the moment you sign the waiver. You would also not get any further compensation if you cash the check that the insurance company has offered you. This is why you need to have an attorney by your side during negotiations. They would be there not just to help you negotiate but also to go through the general release of liability and ensure everything is in your favor.