REOPENING A PERSONAL INJURY SETTLEMENT: PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER IN PENNSYLVANIA EXPLAINS WHEN IT’S POSSIBLE
Victims of a personal injury accident may be awarded compensation by a court in a verdict or compensation at arbitration or most commonly agree to settle a case. Roughly 95% of all civil cases end in a settlement. Agreeing to settle a lawsuit is possibly one of the most important things you do after a personal injury accident. Not only does this mean that you will recover compensation, but it also means that you have agreed to end the case. Ending a case has huge ramifications and should never be done lightly or without an experienced personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, to help review the paperwork and the facts of your case.
This is because most settlements in a personal injury case cannot be reopened. There are very limited exceptions to being able to reopen a personal injury settlement. Insurance companies know this and train their adjusters to immediately approach an accident victim as soon as possible, agree to pay all medical bills, and then chip away at the injuries or liability. This includes blaming a victim for the accident, minimizing damages, and offering a nominal sum of money as a “favor” to the victim.
This is a trap because victims who sign that paperwork agree to receive compensation for their injuries and release the defendant of all liability. That means that any future injuries, pain, conditions, or damages that may arise cannot be compensated—even if you need surgery, can no longer work, or suffer life-changing damages.
When Cases Can Be Reopened
Although it is exceptionally rare for a victim to reopen a personal injury settlement, there are some instances where it is still possible. These examples include the following:
DURESS OR COERCION
If a defendant or insurance company forces you to sign a settlement, it can be reopened. This includes intimidating you by preventing you from leaving their office or refusing to leave your house until you sign, threatening you with physical harm, or creating fake scenarios to get you to agree to settle your case. While duress or coercion could happen to any victim, elderly individuals are most likely to be victims of this ploy.
Any time a defendant uses fraud or deceit to get you to sign a release of liability, you may be able to reopen a case. The claim can be reopened when a defendant or insurance company uses fraud to get you to sign settlement papers. This includes asking you to sign an “accident report,” but it is a settlement release, or if an adjuster tells you the settlement is for $100,000, but the paperwork you sign is for just $1,000.
When your case is worth $50,000, and the insurance company believes there is only $15,000 in coverage, you will likely take the $15,000 if the defendant is judgment proof. However, suppose it later turns out that there was $50,000 in insurance coverage, and both you and the insurance company were mistaken. Often, you will be able to reopen your personal injury case to seek that higher amount.
HIRE AN EXPERIENCED PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY IN PHILADELPHIA, PA, TO NOT WORRY ABOUT REOPENING YOUR CASE
The grounds to reopen a personal injury case are very narrow and difficult to prove, making it hard for personal injury victims to reopen their settlement. Claims of new injuries, more lost wages, new medical bills, and other similar arguments will not work. The best way to prevent yourself from getting less compensation than you deserve and needing to reopen your case is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, like one of ours at the Law Offices of Craig Altman. Learn more about how we can help you during a FREE consultation by calling (215) 569-4488 or by using our “contact us” box available here.