Suing After You Already Accepted an Insurance Settlement
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on Jul 11, 2019 in Personal Injury News
In most scenarios, personal injury claims are resolved once a settlement agreement has been reached between the accident victim and the insurance company. However, there are a few situations that may allow you to pursue a lawsuit to claim compensation after a settlement is accepted.
Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys discuss when you can and cannot sue after entering into a settlement agreement for your accident and injuries. Find out your legal options by requesting a free, no obligation consultation with our firm today.
When You Are Unable to Sue After a Settlement
Typically, accepting a settlement requires that you sign a document called a release of liability. What this means is that in exchange for the compensation you receive, you give up your right to pursue the claim any longer. If you do not follow this legally binding agreement, you compromise the settlement.
Most release of liability agreements state that you will not seek compensation for damages resulting from the same accident. They also state that you release the other party from the claim against them. The agreement may also state that you agree that the settlement funds you receive fully satisfy all claims.
When You Are Able to File a Suit After a Settlement
While the release of liability is cut and dry in many situations, there are a few scenarios that could allow you to file a suit to pursue additional compensation beyond the original settlement. These include:
In the event a settlement offer was fraudulent or made in bad faith, which you later learn about, you may be allowed to reopen your claim against the other party. Proving fraud and bad faith dealings are quite hard to do – if you suspect your settlement offer was made in bad faith or was fraudulent, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
Accident Responsibility Held by Multiple Parties
The settlement agreement specifies which party you release from the claim upon your acceptance. This is the party covered by the insurance company that has offered the settlement.
Not all accidents have only one at fault party – there may be multiple defendants who hold fault in the accident that caused your injuries. If both Driver A and Driver B were at fault for an accident and you accept a settlement from Driver A’s insurance company, this does not stop you from pursuing a claim against Driver B.
In the above scenario, your release of liability signed when you accepted the settlement only covers Driver A. You still have the legal right to pursue a claim against the other driver who was also at fault for your accident.
When you pursue a claim against another responsible party, it must be done before the two-year injured statute of limitations runs out. This period typically starts on the date of the accident.
What You Should Do Before Accepting a Settlement
Before you accept any accident settlement, there are considerations that must be assessed to ensure the settlement value adequately compensates you for your damages.
Seek Medical Treatment
Seeking medical care after an accident is not only important to your health and recovery, but a professional’s assessment can help determine the severity and extent of your related injuries. Be sure to also follow the treatment plan made by your physician.
Explore Future Medical Needs
It is possible that your injuries could require further treatment in the future, resulting in additional expenses. While it is not possible to know exactly what you will face in the future, a medical expert will be able to evaluate your situation and anticipate future medical needs as well as estimate the associated expenses. If future medical needs are likely, it is important that your settlement include compensation to pay for your care.
Assess Future Impacts
Your injury may affect you well into the future – you need to consider the long-term effects you may face. The injury may prevent you from returning to your previous job, or pain may interfere with other aspects of your life for the foreseeable future. It is important that these factors be considered so the settlement value reflects the difference in earnings you now will experience, from what would have been expected had you not been injured.
Before accepting any insurance settlement, consult a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can review your claim and help you negotiate a fair settlement that adequately compensates you for the costs associated with your injuries. Should a settlement offer not be accepted, he or she can also discuss if you should take your case to trial.
Get the Legal Representation You Need
If you have already accepted a settlement from the insurance company, you may still be able to recover additional compensation. Our legal team at Lynch Law Firm can review your case and help you seek the maximum compensation you deserve.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation with our attorneys today to learn more about your rights. There are no upfront fees, and you only pay us if we recover compensation for you.
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