Many personal injury claims end when both parties agree to settle. For example, in a car accident case, the victim often agrees to a settlement with an insurance company.
The settlement basically ends the case. However, you may later discover other damages you were unaware of when you accepted the settlement. Unfortunately, you usually cannot file a lawsuit after accepting a settlement.
Our Baton Rouge personal injury attorneys discuss when filing a lawsuit after a settlement is possible, and what to do when you consider accepting a settlement. For assistance with your case, request a free, no obligation consultation with our team today.
Times You May Be Able to Sue After a Settlement
While most claims end at a settlement, there are situations where filing a lawsuit after a settlement is possible. While rare, they include:
If fraud or bad faith played a role in your settlement offer, your claim may be reopened if discovered following a settlement. Fraud and bad faith are quite difficult to prove – an experienced attorney is helpful if you suspect your settlement came about due to fraud.
Accidents Involving Multiple Parties
Typically, a settlement only covers one defendant. Although it is not unusual for car accidents to have multiple parties at fault. If you sign a settlement agreement with one defendant, you release liability for just that party – not to anyone else involved.
You may be able to pursue claims against any other party at fault in the accident as long as it is within the statute of limitations, which is one year in the state of Louisiana.
When a Settlement Ends a Case
When a settlement is offered, it typically includes a release of liability. When you sign this document, it states that you receive a set amount of compensation. This is in exchange for your release of liability, which means you are no longer able to further seek compensation for the claim. Once signed, this becomes a binding legal contract, and you have to follow it in order to access settlement funds.
In most cases, this release of liability states you will not seek compensation for the accident the settlement covers. You release, or give up, any claim against the other party in the matter and the settlement funds are considered to totally satisfy your claim.
If you have signed a release of liability, it is likely that you are unable to pursue any further legal claims against the defendant or his or her insurance provider. Before signing such a document, we recommend that you reach out to an attorney who will be able to help you understand its terms.
How to Use Caution When Considering a Settlement
Before accepting a settlement, be sure to take caution and ensure you have explored the following points to maximize the value of your claim:
- Seek medical care – You should always seek medical treatment following an injury to find out its extent. It is important that you stick to your physician’s treatment plan. If your injury will require additional care at a later date, the cost of procedures, therapy, medications and other needs should be factored into the settlement amount.
- Consider the long-term effects of your injury – Not all injuries fully heal – some affect a person for their lifetime, interfering with one’s ability to work and causing pain for years. The long-term effects of an injury and the negative impacts to your life should be compensated as well.
- Speak with an attorney – Consult with a personal injury attorney to review your settlement to ensure all factors are considered. He or she may use expert witnesses to determine values of these ongoing damages to ensure the settlement you accept is fair and just.
Get Help from Our Attorneys Today
If you have been given a settlement, it is important to have a skilled attorney review the offer to make sure every element is accounted for and that you are compensated adequately. Our attorneys will work to pursue maximum compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Request a free, no obligation consultation today and learn what legal options may be available in your situation. We charge no upfront fees and payment is only owed if we recover compensation for you.
Need legal help? Call us now at (800) 374-8422 to get started.