CAN I REOPEN AN OAKLAND PERSONAL INJURY CASE?
Posted on Monday, March 19th, 2018 at 6:56 am
In some cases, a person may want to re-open a personal injury case to seek additional money for the claim. Reasons for reopening a personal injury case may include the discovery of permanent impairment, the need for additional surgery, or the discovery of additional medical bills from Highland Hospital or Summit Medical Center that were not paid. However, the insurance company has closed the case because you accepted a settlement. Can you reopen a personal injury case even though you settled your claim?
Unfortunately, when you settle an accident claim, you sign a settlement agreement. The agreement contains clauses that release the insurance company and all other parties from any future liability for your claim, including any damages you may discover in the future. Since you voluntarily agreed to the settlement, reopening a personal injury case is usually impossible.
Because a settlement agreement is a legally binding contract, the court is likely to deny your request to reopen the accident claim. Even though you have additional expenses, the court will view your consent to the contract as binding. Therefore, you are responsible for any future expenses or damages, regardless of the amount.
The Importance of Waiting to Settle
It can be tempting to settle an accident claim early, especially if you are out of work or you have thousands of medical bills to pay. The insurance company understands that you might need money. It offers a smaller amount than your case may be worth to end your claim before you realize that you might be entitled to additional damages.
Therefore, it is best that you wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) before you settle your claim. MMI is the point in your recovery when your physicians agree that continue treatment will not offer any further improvement for your injury. In other words, you have reached the point where you are as “recovered” as you will be from the accident. Your doctors can then issue an impairment rating to describe the extent of your permanent disability from the crash.
Once you have a permanent impairment rating, our attorneys will analyze future damages that you might incur because of a permanent disability. For example, what will be the cost of any ongoing medical care or personal care you will incur because of the disability? Will you incur an ongoing loss of income because you are unable to work, or your earning capacity is diminished? What other damages will the permanent disability cause you over the coming years?
The total of future damages can be substantial. If you settle your accident claim too early, you could be cheating yourself out of thousands of dollars that could help pay for future expenses. Hiring an experienced Oakland personal injury attorney can help ensure that you do not settle your claim too quickly. Your attorney will consider all factors before advising you whether a settlement offer is premature, fair, or below the value of your claim.
Call an Oakland Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Appointment
Because your first consultation free, you have no reason to accept a settlement offer without first consulting an experienced Oakland injury lawyer.
Before you sign a settlement agreement for your injury claim, contact The Tiemann Law Firm by calling (916) 999-9000 or by visiting our website. Our attorneys assist clients in Oakland and throughout the Bay Area.