Can Someone Sue After Car Accident is Settled?
If a person suffered a car accident, the chances are that they were pressured to sign a release to prevent them from filing a civil lawsuit against any of the parties involved. If they don't know better or don't have a lawyer to give them good advice, this can cause terrible repercussions.
When they realize their mistake and want to take legal action against the other driver's insurance company, they may think it is too late as they have already signed the release. However, this isn't always the case; they may still have the chance to turn this situation around.
Signing the Release of a Car Accident Claim
After a car crash happens, the injured person should expect to be contacted by insurance companies and a car accident attorney who wants them to sign a release or insurance settlement.
This settlement agreement document is a legally binding contract meant to remove the other driver from any responsibility for the accident and avoid paying more money or facing future lawsuits. Therefore, they aren't going to be able to sue and get compensation from the other party.
They may try to persuade the person by offering them a certain amount of money. However, the truth is that they're entitled to that settlement money as compensation from the accident and should still be able to press charges against the insurance company.
Deciding to sign this waiver is terrible, as they still don't know the actual value of their insurance claim or how bad their injury might be. They could end up accumulating way more damages and medical expenses that result from that same accident. If this happens, the waiver is still legally binding and cannot be broken.
It is recommended that everyone who goes through this works with a licensed car accident attorney in St Louis MO before signing this contract to ensure they understand its totality.
The Only Exceptions
The only way to reopen these types of personal injury cases is if the prosecutor disagrees with the insurance company on the terms and conditions of the release.
This is very rare in car accident cases, as the procedure tends to be as easy as possible. Nonetheless, some disagreements can still happen, which doesn't necessarily mean that the case is going to be reopened, but it can be managed in two main ways.
Suppose the personal injury claim was settled before the suit. In that case, this is the time where the prosecutor should hire a lawyer who can face the dispute for them, as the insurance company is always going to insist on them to sign the release.
Nonetheless, the adjuster could still demand that they sign the release even if they hire a lawyer. If that's the case, they can only file a lawsuit and hope to have better luck at court.
However, if the claim was settled in a suit with a lawyer, this can go one of two ways. The lawyer negotiates a fair settlement with a better release for the prosecutor with the attorney, or the case goes to court. Then, the judge decides whether they need to sign or be released from the car accident settlement.
Aside from the previously mentioned exceptions, the injured person can still file a lawsuit if they see themselves in one of these exceptional cases.
Fraudulent behavior. If the insurance company intentionally tried to take advantage of their case to protect themselves or acted fraudulently, and the plaintiff has solid evidence that proves this, they can still file a lawsuit
In case there isn't a signed agreement and the compensation money was given "on the spot," the plaintiff doesn't have any legal ties to not pursue a lawsuit
When the plaintiff has underinsured motorist coverage, and the defendant can't cover the entire money, the insurance company can be sued to cover the rest of it
If multiple parties were involved, the plaintiff could issue claims against each party, and signing the release for one doesn't mean that the rest are acquitted.
What to Do in Case of Bad Legal Advice
The sad news is that even if the person believes that their injury attorney didn't give them good advice, in most cases, the settlement isn't going to be broken.
Therefore, the best advice they can receive is to forget about that case. They can always sue their lawyer for legal malpractice, but this is a complicated legal procedure and should be thought through before doing it.
What to Do in Case There Are Other Defendants
Although the plaintiff has already settled the claim against one of the defendants, it doesn't mean that they can't sue any other possible party involved.
Nonetheless, to be sure of this, they need to review the document, as the way the clauses were worded may prevent them from doing it. In order for it to work, the document should specify that the plaintiff can't go against the defendant but don't mention any other person involved or any further claims.
What to Do Before Settling
When someone gets in a car accident, they need to do a series of things before deciding to settle the claim. The first thing that needs to be done is get medical help, as they need to establish a professional relationship between the accident and their physical injuries, so they have proof to back up their case.
Then, they should evaluate the consequences of the accident. They could be material, such as the loss of a car, or more important ones like the inability to return to work due to injuries. All of this is going to add to the case.
Now, it is time to gather evidence and find all the photographs, medical bills, work records, police reports, and evidence that helps build the case. Finally, the last step is to call a car accident lawyer to help face the issue and review all the needed legal documents.
Seek Professional Help
The best advice anyone can get is to not wait until it is too late to get a personal injury lawyer. Powell Law Firm is a highly professional law firm that works hard to protect people from being taken advantage of. Cases like this, where people sign contracts that they don't understand because of external pressure, shouldn't keep happening. Furthermore, they also assist clients in other unique cases such as one involving a car owner being sued for another driver's accident or those who are being sued for a car accident that happened 2 years ago.
Investing in personal injury lawyers is investing in safety.