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personal injury claim

Can a Personal Injury Claim Be Reopened After It Is Settled?

If everything goes well with your personal injury claim, you’ll have everything you need to pay your medical bills, cover extra expenses from time spent away from work, and take care of miscellaneous bills that pop up because of your accident. Unfortunately, that’s not always how it goes.

Accident victims often accept a settlement offer that seems fair, only to find out later that their medical bills far exceed their settlement amount. What happens next? Learn more about what happens if you are unhappy with your settlement amount after you’ve already accepted a payment.

Are you in the middle of trying to secure a settlement for an accident that wasn’t your fault? Let us help. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815 to discuss your case.

In Most Cases, No

Unfortunately, you can very rarely reopen a personal injury claim after it has already been settled. The majority of settlements involve a liability waiver, which prevents you from going back to the liable party later and suing for more money. This is meant to be a trade-off. In exchange for guaranteed settlement money, you give up your right to get more down the road. In exchange for paying out right away, the liable party is free from further costs they could incur in a court case.

However, it often isn’t a fair trade-off. In many situations, the accident victim gets a settlement that is far lower than they actually deserve. The liable party and their insurance company get the full benefits of a settlement agreement with minimal expense.

Did You Sign a Liability Waiver?

If you’re wondering whether or not you can reopen a personal injury claim, find out if you signed a liability waiver. You probably did, since very few settlements are paid out without a liability waiver. However, if you did not sign a liability waiver, you may have grounds to reopen a claim.

Pending Claims Against Other Parties

Quite a few accidents involve multiple liable parties. In a car accident, for example, an injured victim might have a claim against the negligent driver and their insurance company. However, they might also have a claim against the vehicle manufacturer if a faulty airbag caused them to sustain more serious injuries than they would have if their airbag had functioned properly. In a tractor-trailer accident, a victim may have a claim against the company that employed the driver and the company that overloaded the tractor-trailer, putting it in a position where the accident caused more damage than it otherwise would have.

If your claim involves more than one party, it’s likely that your current settlement is an agreement with just one of the parties. You may still be able to seek damages from the other parties who have some liability in your accident.

Clerical Errors

In theory, you should carefully read every legal document for accuracy and understanding before you sign it. In reality, most people skim or even go straight to the signature line at the bottom, especially after signing 15 documents. If your paperwork has a clear clerical error—for example, a written settlement of $10,00 instead of the intended $10,000—you should still be able to seek the $10,000 you were supposed to receive. Unfortunately, some people use these mistakes as an excuse to pay victims even less. But if your underpayment is the results of a clerical error, you can generally fight that and get what you are owed.

Protecting Your Personal Injury Claim from the Beginning

The solution here is obviously to ensure you don’t accept a bad settlement offer. Getting a fair settlement from the very beginning is far easier than trying to fight for more money after you have accepted money. It’s important to reach out to a Mobile personal injury attorney promptly after an accident. They can gather the necessary evidence and fight the insurance company on your behalf, ensuring that you aren’t victimized again by a greedy insurance company.

Contact Burns, Cunningham & Mackey Today

Have you been injured because of someone else’s negligence? Find out if you can seek compensation for your injuries. Discuss your case with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers to learn more about your options. Schedule your consultation with Burns, Cunningham & Mackey by calling 251-260-3815 or get in touch with us online.