After receiving advice from your lawyer and reviewing the terms of a settlement agreement, you put your signature to paper, and your personal injury case came to a close. The negligent party’s insurance provider made a payout, but now you want to reopen your case because it turns out you did not receive enough compensation.
Unfortunately, unless you believe your settlement is in bad faith and you can prove it, you may not be able to reopen your personal injury case. A lawyer from our firm can help you determine if reopening your case is possible.
How Does a Personal Injury Case Conclude?
A personal injury case typically resolves either in a settlement or a jury verdict. Most cases settle out of court because juries are unpredictable, and insurance companies would prefer to pay a settlement instead of what could be a larger sum a jury may award you via a verdict in your favor.
If the negligent party and their insurance provider offer you a settlement, you can choose to reject or accept it. Your lawyer will calculate the value of your claim to determine what amount of compensation will adequately cover your losses and to evaluate the fairness of settlement offers.
If You Receive a Settlement Offer
Your lawyer will inform you when you receive a settlement offer and provide you with advice so you can make a decision. If you reject the offer, negotiations can continue until both sides reach an agreement. If you accept the offer, a settlement agreement or contract will be drawn up to finalize the deal.
Settlement agreements typically include details, such as the dollar amount of compensation the insurance provider is paying out for your claim. One of the terms of signing your settlement agreement is that you cannot seek to recover additional compensation in the future.
Can Your Attorney Sign a Settlement Agreement for You?
You are the only one who can sign a settlement agreement release. Agreements lay out how much compensation you are receiving for specific damages in your claim, which often includes:
- Medical bills: Compensation for medical bills generally covers the cost of hospitalization, surgery, medication, and other medical treatments that were necessary after an accident, such as a car crash in which someone else was negligent. This can also include future medical expenses resulting from your injuries.
- Lost income: Your injuries could temporarily or permanently render you incapable of doing your job. Compensation can cover your lost income and future earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering: Although more challenging to calculate, the severity of your injuries and the length of your recovery can determine the value of pain and suffering damages that include emotional distress and lost quality of life. Not all settlements include pain and suffering compensation, but it’s not unlikely.
Your personal injury lawyer will determine which damages apply to your case and how much compensation will adequately cover them. Your medical bills, medical records, pay stubs, and receipts can all serve as evidence to back up your monetary claims.
Can You Reopen Your Personal Injury Case?
Once you sign a settlement agreement, it’s nearly impossible to reopen a personal injury case to revise the amount of compensation agreed to by both parties. One reason why you may want to reopen your case is that you found out you require further medical treatment for your injury or you need long-term assistance that you did not expect at the time of signing your original settlement agreement.
But that will not matter to the courts. A settlement agreement is legally binding and the terms spell out that you can’t seek additional compensation. A judge will simply dismiss your attempt to revive your case. That is unless you can prove that the settlement was in bad faith.
If the negligent party and their insurance provider defrauded you and your attorney, leading you to agree to settle your case, Proving fraud is challenging, but if you have evidence that proves fraud and a bad faith settlement, it’s then possible to void the settlement and reopen your personal injury case. This allows you and your lawyer to recover additional compensation for damages.
A lawyer from our firm may be able to help you reopen your personal injury case if you believe your settlement is a bad faith settlement.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Benefit Your Case?
Given the difficulties in reopening a personal injury case, it becomes all the more crucial to reach a settlement agreement that covers your damages the first time. A personal injury lawyer from our firm understands that this is likely the only chance you have of recovering the compensation you deserve. That’s why you can expect us to:
- Investigate your case and gather evidence to support your claims
- Determine which damages apply to you and calculate the value of your claim
- Evaluate your case with medical and financial experts to determine if you require compensation for future damages, such as additional medical bills, home modifications, and lost income
- Negotiate with the negligent party and their insurance provider to reach a settlement
- Review settlement offers with you and explain the terms of any settlement agreement before your sign it
- File a lawsuit and represent you in court
- Petition the court to reopen your personal injury case if there is evidence of fraud or a bad faith settlement
Learn More About Reopening a Personal Injury Case Today
Reopening a personal injury case is rare. You must be able to prove that the negligent party and/or their insurance provider made you a bad faith settlement. You should never have to reopen a personal injury case once you accept a settlement.
Being defrauded into accepting a bad faith settlement adds insult to injury. We may be able to help you fight back. To learn more about reopening a personal injury case, please do not hesitate to contact us at (818) 507-8525 to get started today.