Personal Injury Lawyer
Did you know that even after you’ve settled a personal injury claim, you may still have the right to file a lawsuit for damages? Consider when you can and cannot sue after settling a claim.
When You Cannot Sue
During a typical personal injury settlement process, you sign an agreement that states you will no longer hold the at-fault party or its insurance company liable for injuries sustained as a result of the accident. This release of liability is done in exchange for money to cover your damages, as a personal injury lawyer like one from Ward & Ward Law Firm can explain. These contracts are legally binding, which means that once you sign them, you cannot file a lawsuit, though there are exceptions to this.
When You Can Sue
If you can prove that the defendant coerced you or acted fraudulently during the settlement process, you may be able to file a suit against them.
Sometimes you will learn new information about your case after you’ve already settled. For example, you may find out that your vehicle malfunctioned during the accident or that it didn’t protect you like it was designed to do so. If you’ve settled with the at-fault driver and received damages, you still may be able to bring a suit against the vehicle manufacturer for its part in your accident.
Insurance companies must negotiate in good faith on behalf of their clients, so if you believe that your insurance claim agent was negligent in providing a proper settlement, you may have a right to sue your insurer to collect damages.
What To Do Before Settling
Because you likely will be unable to sue after you’ve settled your accident claim, make sure to do the following before accepting a settlement offer:
- Go to the Doctor: Seek medical assistance following an accident so you can fully understand the extent of your injuries and establish care. Compensation for medical bills, including future medical expenses, typically makes up the majority of your damages.
- Seek Professional Help: Expert witnesses and legal representation can provide a wealth of knowledge to you as you navigate the settlement process and work to get the amount you deserve.
- Stay Organized: Keep medical bills, records of missed work, photographs of the accident scene and any physical evidence that can help your case and prove that your damages are as serious as you claim them to be.
If you’ve been in an accident, talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to better ensure you don’t miss an essential step during the settlement process. If you find that it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit, you’ll be ready to work with someone who can guide you through it.