Personal injuries are common, with thousands happening every day through car accidents, slip and falls, work-related injuries, and more. Many people attempt to resolve these incidents themselves, dealing with the at-fault party and insurance adjuster without legal assistance.
Sometimes this is simple and the insurance pays the bills for your injury and quickly suggests a small settlement to make everything go away. The problem occurs when you as the injured party accept the settlement but then realize later that your injuries are ongoing. You now have long-term medical costs that are well beyond their minor settlement, and you may consider filing a lawsuit to help you pay your bills.
But in most cases, you can’t file a lawsuit after you have settled a claim already. So what should you do?
Ask an Attorney About Your Case
There are some unique factors that make it possible for a lawsuit to be re-opened or filed after it was settled. An attorney can review the settlement agreement and the case itself to determine if your situation falls in this category.
In most settlements, you are required to sign a general release before you receive your check. It usually stipulates that you are accepting payment in full and will not pursue the insurance company for any more claims or costs from the incident.
Occasional instances happen where the court may be inclined to agree to reopen your case. This has happened in situations where an attorney was guilty of giving bad advice to his or her client and the effects were detrimental and obvious. Other occasions were when the insurance company agreed to a settlement but then changed their mind after the agreement was signed.
In some cases, a settlement was reached before the knowledge of other potential defendants. When this happens, you may be able to seek damages from a third party that was also at-fault in your case.
If you feel like your injury may fall into one of these categories, call an expert personal injury attorney like those at www.steffensinjurylaw.com.
Always Run Your Offer by an Attorney
If you have not accepted an offer yet and are in the process of working on a settlement, call an attorney before you sign anything. Insurance companies often try to take advantage of people who don’t have a lawyer. The company’s bottom line is saving money, so they use the fact that you probably are in a hurry to get your settlement and won’t read the fine print of the agreement you sign.
Signing that agreement means that you can’t get anything else from the insurance company, no matter how many new injuries occur from the accident or how many more medical bills you incur.
An expert attorney can negotiate the settlement for you, review the release, and verify that your future damages are also included in the final numbers.
Work With an Attorney Before You Sign
Whether you are considering having a closed case reopened or you have a current one in progress, speak to a personal injury attorney before you make any final decisions that may impact your future. Through a short consultation, they will be able to tell you if you are entitled to any further compensation before you sign on the dotted line.