When you accept a personal injury settlement, this often signals the end of your case. You generally cannot sue someone after you have accepted the settlement funds, even if you experience additional damages that you had not anticipated. However, there are some limited exceptions to this rule.
This is an issue you can discuss with a licensed Windsor personal injury lawyer in a free consultation.
When a Settlement Closes a Case
The vast majority of personal injury cases are resolved through a settlement outside of court. As a condition of receiving settlement funds, you must usually agree not to bring any other claim against the other party that arose out of the same incident and circumstances.
Your settlement indicates the close of your case when you sign a waiver of release. This release typically states that you are accepting the settlement money in full satisfaction of all claims. You are not allowed to take any further legal action. This waiver is a legally binding contract. If you accept the funds and agree not to make any further claims against the other party, you are bound by these terms and must uphold your end of the bargain.
So, if you later find out that your injuries were more extensive than you believe, or that your claim was worth much more than you received in settlement funds, your case is closed and you cannot backtrack.
When You May Sue After a Settlement
Like with every rule, there are a exceptions to the rule that you may allow you to file a suit to pursue additional compensation beyond the original settlement. Some of these include:
The Settlement Was Reached Due to Fraud or Coercion
Settlements must be voluntarily entered into. If you were forced to sign the waiver of release, you may be able to set it aside. Likewise, if your agreement was due to fraud on the part of the other party or his or her representative, you may be able to set aside the agreement because you were not given accurate information. However, proving fraud is very difficult without the aid of an experienced lawyer.
Multiple Parties Were Responsible for the Accident
Another way you can still sue after you have reached a settlement in a case is when there are multiple parties responsible for the accident. Unless your agreement states otherwise, you are only releasing one party from liability. If there are other parties whose negligence contributed to your injuries, you may still have viable claims that you can make against them.
For example, if you were injured in a multi-vehicle accident, you may have a claim against all drivers who crashed into you. Similarly, if defective tires were involved in the case, you might have a separate claim against the manufacturer of the tires even if you settle the claim against one of the negligent drivers.
If you have already settled your claim against one party, you might still be able to file a claim against another party.
Steps to Take Before Accepting a Settlement
Since you might lose any right to pursue additional compensation after accepting a personal injury settlement, it is important that you take all steps to protect your rights before you accept a settlement, including:
- Contact a licensed personal injury lawyer who can advise you of your rights and ensure the settlement is fair
- Receive a full diagnosis from a medical provider
- Reach maximum medical improvement before considering a settlement
- Add up all of the damages you have already sustained because of the accident and estimate your future expenses
- Have an expert estimate your ongoing costs and future losses, if necessary
Request a Free Consultation Today
Our legal team at Greg Monforton and Partners are experienced at handling personal injury claims and pursuing maximum compensation for our clients.
Reach out to us anytime, day or night, to request a free consultation with one of our lawyers. There are no upfront fees for our services. We only get paid at the end of the legal process if we help recover compensation for you.
Contact our office today by calling (866) 320-4770.