Can I Still Sue After a Settlement?

Most of the time, personal injury claims are resolved once a settlement agreement has been reached between the accident victim and the insurance company. When this is the case, the amount of compensation you receive is limited to the settlement amount, even if you feel you’ve conceded more than you thought you should have or you later discover that you had damages in excess of this award. However, there are a few select circumstances that allow you to pursue a lawsuit to claim compensation after a settlement is accepted. The Barnes Firm’s top injury lawyers in Buffalo have outlined everything you need to know.

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When You Can’t Sue After a Settlement

In most cases, the at-fault party’s insurance company will require the victim to sign a liability waiver or release form. This legally binding document not only dictates the amount of money the plaintiff will receive but also states that the victim must forfeit their right to take any further legal action against the at-fault party for damages resulting from the same accident. Most release of liability agreements also state that, upon signing, you free the other party from the claims against them and that the settlement funds you receive fully satisfy all claims.

If you sign this release, you usually cannot take further legal action against the defendant or insurance company. An attorney can help you understand the terms to which you’re agreeing.

injury attorney meeting client in office

When You Can File a Lawsuit After a Settlement Offer

In some rare exceptions, you may still be able to file a lawsuit after agreeing to a settlement. This includes:

  • Fraud: If the insurance company was acting in bad faith by breaking the terms of their policies, deceiving you and your attorney during settlement negotiations, or failing to unreasonably hold their promises, you may be able to reopen the claim. Proving fraud and bad faith dealings can be difficult and requires the help of an experienced Buffalo car accident attorney.
  • Multiple parties were responsible for the accident: So long as the liability waiver doesn’t state otherwise, you have grounds to sue anyone else who may have shared fault if more than one defendant contributed to the accident. For example, in a motor vehicle accident, there may be two motorists at fault for the accident or the car manufacturer could be found to have produced a defective part with a known defect that contributed to your accident.

In general, you’re unlikely to be able to sue the at-fault party after a settlement unless a rare exception is met. Even then, these exceptions can be difficult to substantiate without the help of an expert personal injury lawyer. If you suspect something is amiss, contact a professional as soon as possible.

What to Do Before Accepting a Settlement Offer

The implications of agreeing to a liability release as part of a settlement can be significant. For instance, if you discover that your injuries were worse than you initially thought, it may be too late. That’s why it’s so important that you take all the necessary steps to protect your rights before signing the waiver. This includes:

  • Seeking medical attention: After your accident, visit a medical professional who can help diagnose your injuries. It’s not uncommon to have delayed symptoms after an injury, and it may not be until days, months, or even years later that you start to feel pain and discomfort. By then, you may have already signed the waiver and it will be too late. Likewise, not seeking medical attention right away can appear to the insurance company that you weren’t all that injured in the first place.
  • Explore future medical needs: While it may not be possible to know exactly what medical treatment you might need going forward, a medical expert will be able to evaluate your situation and anticipate future medical needs. This estimated dollar figure should be included in the settlement.
  • Consider the economic effects of your injury: If your injury affects the quality of your life, prevents you from working, or puts you through emotional and psychological pain, you’re entitled to pursue compensation that adequately covers the costs associated with any long-term effects you may face.

Ultimately, it would be beneficial for you to slow down and take the appropriate steps to fully assess the value of your injuries before hastily signing any forms. No matter where you stand, it would be in your best interest to seek the advice of an expert personal injury attorney. Having a lawyer on your side who has experience helping other accident victims will provide you with a better sense of the value of your claim.

woman standing in front of a chalboard with question marks drawn in chalk around her head
woman standing in front of a chalboard with question marks drawn in chalk around her head

What to Do Before Accepting a Settlement Offer

The implications of agreeing to a liability release as part of a settlement can be significant. For instance, if you discover that your injuries were worse than you initially thought, it may be too late. That’s why it’s so important that you take all the necessary steps to protect your rights before signing the waiver. This includes:

  • Seeking medical attention: After your accident, visit a medical professional who can help diagnose your injuries. It’s not uncommon to have delayed symptoms after an injury, and it may not be until days, months, or even years later that you start to feel pain and discomfort. By then, you may have already signed the waiver and it will be too late. Likewise, not seeking medical attention right away can appear to the insurance company that you weren’t all that injured in the first place.
  • Explore future medical needs: While it may not be possible to know exactly what medical treatment you might need going forward, a medical expert will be able to evaluate your situation and anticipate future medical needs. This estimated dollar figure should be included in the settlement.
  • Consider the economic effects of your injury: If your injury affects the quality of your life, prevents you from working, or puts you through emotional and psychological pain, you’re entitled to pursue compensation that adequately covers the costs associated with any long-term effects you may face.

Ultimately, it would be beneficial for you to slow down and take the appropriate steps to fully assess the value of your injuries before hastily signing any forms. No matter where you stand, it would be in your best interest to seek the advice of an expert personal injury attorney. Having a lawyer on your side who has experience helping other accident victims will provide you with a better sense of the value of your claim.

Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney in Buffalo

If you’ve been offered a settlement for your accident claim, it’s important that you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney in Buffalo who can help you fully understand your options. Even if you have already accepted a settlement from the insurance company, you may still be able to recover additional compensation. The legal team at The Barnes Firm will launch an investigation into your case and the circumstances leading up to your injury in order to provide you with the soundest case possible.

At The Barnes Firm, our lawyers have a proven track record and have helped clients get millions of dollars in compensation from settlements and verdicts. We’ll work tirelessly to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys, call The Barnes Firm or fill out our online contact form today.

The Barnes Firm (800) 800-0000