Can You Reopen A Personal Injury Case After Reaching A Settlement?
Personal Injury - January 13, 2020
If you or a loved one sustained a Chicago personal injury that was caused by another person’s careless or negligent actions, you might have pursued a personal injury claim. This claim may have been made directly against the at-fault party or it may have been against their insurer. Generally speaking, you cannot reopen a personal injury case after it has been settled.
Personal injury settlements are designed to be final. If you and the defendant agreed to the settlement amount, you likely signed a form that released them or their insurer from any future claims arising from that incident. Most insurance companies and defendants will not go forward with a settlement until the plaintive (the injured party) has signed such an agreement. Even if you did not sign a release, there may have been a verbal agreement in place that has the same legal weight as a written and signed agreement.
Every personal injury case and settlement is different. Without knowing the specifics of your particular case, all we can say is that there is a good chance he will not be able to reopen it. There are always exceptions. For example, if an agreement was reached, but one party was deceptive or fraudulent during the settlement process, the case may be able to be reopened.
What if there were other parties involved in the incident?
Another option to consider is that there are often multiple parties responsible for a personal injury accident. For example, there are often multiple parties involved in a Chicago car accident. Even if the other driver was negligent and at-fault, their vehicle may also have had a defective part. Perhaps the roadway was poorly maintained. In those cases, other parties could be held liable, including the vehicle manufacturer or the municipality responsible for roadway maintenance.
Even if you have settled your claim against one of the responsible parties, you may still be able to file a personal injury claim against other negligent parties. This may depend on the wording of the release you signed when you settled with the first party. There are times when these releases are worded in ways that prohibit you from pursuing additional claims related to the incident that caused you harm.
The best way to ensure that you secure maximum compensation is to secure assistance from a Chicago personal injury attorney early in the process. Your attorney will be responsible for conducting a thorough investigation into the incident that caused you harm and determining all liable parties. Ideally, a personal injury lawsuit will include all liable parties at once. That way, any settlement reached will include all parties, and you will not have to worry about reopening the case.
What about taking a case to trial?
Most accident injury cases are settled out of court and do not go to trial. If you settle a case with the defendant, that means that there will be no trial against that particular defendant. Your attorney will determine whether your case should be settled out of court or go to trial. A settlement will almost always result in the victim receiving compensation faster, but it may not result in the maximum compensation for your injuries. On the other hand, trials can be unpredictable, and the victim may not achieve the desired outcome.