Can My Personal Injury Case be Reopened After it Has Been Settled?
Personal injury settlements are meant to be absolute. If you and the defendant arrive at a settlement figure, you will likely sign a form that releases them or their insurance company from any future claims arising from the accident. Most insurers and defendants will not proceed with a settlement until the plaintiff has signed such a release. Even a verbal agreement often has the same legal weight as a written and signed release.
Every personal injury claim and settlement is distinct, and exceptions always exist. For instance, if the parties involved reached an agreement, but one party was fraudulent or deceptive during the settlement process, it is possible to have the case reopened.
A Release of Liability Form
A Release of Liability Form refers to a legal document between two parties. The injured party is typically the Releasor, or the individual promising not to bring charges after the agreement has been duly signed. The Releasee is the other party, usually the at-fault entity or person.
Consideration will be listed in this liability form, which is the compensation amount promised in lieu of signing the release. By working with the right attorney, the settlement amount that you receive with be just and full, as it should cover all the losses you incurred due to your accident, including any future expenses.
A Release of Liability will come up if your personal injury case settles before going to trial. By signing the form as the Releasor, the plaintiff agrees not to sue the Releasee for any previous or future injuries or losses, while comprehending the risks. A Release of Liability will prevent you from taking further legal action if you discover, at a later date, that you have suffered additional injuries or losses due to your accident.
Multiple At-Fault Parties Accidents
If multiple parties are at-fault in an accident, it is vital to engage an attorney to hold all liable individuals or entities accountable for your injuries, financial hardships, and emotional suffering. If you file multiple claims, it is vital to understand the terms and conditions of your settlement. You will want to make sure that if you settle with one party and sign a Release of Liability, it does not prevent you from suing the other responsible parties.
Process of Reopening a Personal Injury Settlement
The steps involved in reopening the settlement will depend on where you are at in the case when the settlement takes place. In case you settled informally with the other party, it may be necessary for you to file a claim to reopen the case. But you need to work through the fact that you already arrived at an earlier agreement in the case as well as signed a release of claims.
You will need to make a motion to the court if you already have an ongoing injury case. A motion can be made for a new trial, to set aside a judgment or appeal a trial decision. Various aspects such as the settlement in your case, stage of the case, and your goal in reopening the case will determine the right course of action.
Notably, future injuries and losses are usually not grounds to reopen a case. The reason being that in a personal injury lawsuit, the parties understand that medical injuries are usually speculative.
Setting Aside Judgment or Settlement in KY
To be able to file a motion in court to set aside the judgment, you must meet one of the below-mentioned criteria for relief:
- Mistake: A clerical error occurred where the judgment does not reflect the actual decision of the jury or wishes of the parties
- Newly discovered proof: Evidence that you could not have reasonably uncovered before (it is rare for this criteria to be accepted)
- Fraud: The other party does not settle the claim in good faith or otherwise tries to defraud you
- Moot judgment: The judgment is moot as it has been vacated or reversed
Avoiding Lawsuit Settlement Regret
The most effective way to avoid lawsuit regret is to assess all facets of the case meticulously before you agree to a settlement. You should have clarity about the claim’s approximate value, including future expenses if your injuries require prolonged or lifelong medical attention.
Also, intricate legal issues that affect the possibility of winning the case should be taken into consideration. Being aware of all the factors at play is vital in deciding whether to settle your personal injury claim. Summarily, you must make an educated choice on whether to proceed to trial or agree to a settlement offer.
What Legal Options are Available if I am Unhappy with My Injury Settlement?
The seasoned personal injury attorneys at the law offices of John H. Ruby & Associates can help answer any questions you may have about your injury settlement. We can help assess whether it will be possible for you to reopen your case. If you have yet to reach a settlement, our skilled lawyers can help you evaluate the situation in its entirely, so you can make the most informed decision. Call today at (502) 895-2626 for a free, confidential consultation with a qualified personal injury lawyer.