A personal injury claim gives you the chance to seek compensation after someone else has wronged you through their own negligence. Maybe you’ve been injured in a car accident, slipped and fallen on someone’s driveway, or been bitten by an unrestrained dog. However, it’s important to know exactly what you are agreeing to when you agree to a personal injury settlement. A surprising amount of people end up regretting the outcome of their claim, leading them to ask, “Can I reopen a personal injury claim if the amount was too low?”
For help with your personal injury claim, contact Stein & Fox Accident Attorneys at 770-961-1700. We’ll get you set up with a free case evaluation.
The Bad News
Here’s the bad news that no one ever wants to hear: chances are good that you cannot reopen your personal injury case if you have already settled it. When you agree to a personal injury settlement, you typically sign a waiver of liability. This means that the other party has no more liability for any more losses you may sustain as a result of your injury and that you no longer have any right to sue them for injuries resulting from the same accident. Insurance companies and their legal teams ensure that these agreements are ironclad, so you have little to no chance of getting a claim reopened.
The Good News
The good news is that there are some situations in which you may be able to get more compensation after a personal injury settlement. While these exceptions are few and far between, they can help victims get the money they deserve after an injury.
One situation in which more compensation may be available is a claim involving more than two parties. For example, consider a car accident in which you are T-boned by one car then rear ended by another car with a distracted driver. You initially receive a settlement from the insurer of the car that T-boned you and caused the vast majority of your losses. However, it comes out that the car that rear ended you after you were stopped by the initial accident was being driven by an individual texting on their phone. They, too, may be liable for some of your injuries, and you may be able to seek compensation from that driver.
Fraud or Misrepresentation
The court does not look kindly upon people who negotiate with the intent to commit fraud or mislead people. If the liable party intentionally misrepresented the facts of your claim or engaged in fraud to convince you to sign, the liability waiver you signed may not be enforceable. If this occurs, you might be able to go back to the liable party and fight for more compensation.
How to Get a Full and Fair Settlement the First Time
So, what’s the solution to an abysmally low settlement? Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do after, so you have to fight for a fair settlement the first time around. Trying to negotiate on your own because you do not want to hire an attorney is pennywise and pound-foolish. You lose a lot of leverage when you come to the negotiating table without an attorney, because insurance companies know that it is much easier to take advantage of someone who is not familiar with the claims process.
Ideally, you should hire a personal injury attorney before you have any communication with the liable party’s insurance company. Anything you tell them can weaken your case, which puts your attorney in damage control mode instead of allowing them to play offense.
As soon as possible after your injury, reach out to a reliable personal injury lawyer. Find out if they have experience with cases like yours and what results they have been able to get. You aren’t looking for the lawyer who promises outlandish settlement amounts without knowing anything about your case; you are looking for one who truly wants to know the details of your case before providing an estimate.
Stein & Fox Attorneys is Here to Help
No matter what type of personal injury claim you have, Stein & Fox Accident Attorneys is ready to go to work for you. Our team fights aggressively for every client to get them the compensation they deserve. To get started, contact us and set up a consultation. You can reach us or at 770-961-1700.