Can a Personal Injury Case be Reopened?
You have settled your personal injury case a while ago, and at the time you were content with the result. However, since your case was closed, you realized you need ongoing medical care for much longer than you previously thought. Your recovery is not going as fast as you had hoped, and you were not able to go back to work as soon as you had wanted. Is it possible to reopen your personal injury case and seek additional compensation for your ongoing medical bills and lost income that was not included in the original settlement?
Unfortunately, it is usually impossible to reopen a personal injury case that has been settled and closed. This is because, as part of the insurance payout or settlement agreement, you almost certainly had to sign a release form that waived your rights to ever seek more money regarding these particular injuries again. This release is a legally binding document, and in most circumstances, courts will uphold it. Therefore, no matter how many unexpected expenses you incurred since the settlement, you are likely on your own when it comes to paying those bills.
The number one way to ensure that your insurance payout or settlement agreement covers all of your past and future damages is to hire a personal injury attorney from the start of your case. A skilled lawyer will know how to calculate the true value of your claim—including all of the damages that you may not have incurred yet.
While past damages are normally proven by medical bills, pay statements, and similar documents, future losses can be more difficult to determine. First, these damages must be estimated, and credible estimates often require the assistance of experts. For example, medical experts familiar with your injuries can estimate the amount and types of treatments you may need during the coming weeks, months, or even years. They can also estimate the limitations your injuries may have caused with regard to working and earning a living.
In addition to having access to experts who can fully evaluate your case, our firm will handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance company and during personal injury litigation. We will carefully review every offer to ensure you will not risk agreeing to a payout that is insufficient to cover your future expenses. We will then negotiate for the amount you truly deserve so that you will not have to wonder whether you can reopen your case down the road.