When you first get into a motor accident, it can be stressful. You’re frantically trying to collect all the information you need to prove you weren’t at fault. If you were hurt during the accident, then you likely face hefty medical bills that your personal injury protection (PIP) can’t cover completely. Now, you’re just hoping the other person involved will be responsible for covering the costs. That’s why when a settlement occurs, it can feel like a breath of fresh air. But, can you still file a lawsuit after agreeing to a settlement?
What is a settlement?
Not every personal injury claim goes to court. In fact, most of them are resolved outside of a court in a process called settlement. In a settlement, you’ll meet with the other party — often with their insurance company — to decide if you can both come up with an agreement that is satisfactory to both parties. Usually, this is done in the form of monetary compensation.
Can you sue after a settlement?
Once both parties agree to a settlement, that is usually the end of the process. Most settlement agreements include a clause that no further legal action may be taken. This applies even if your injuries get worse or additional repairs are needed. However, there are situations where this clause can be voided.
Scenarios Where You Can Sue After a Settlement
While you can’t usually sue after a settlement, there are some exceptions. However, in order to sue, you’ll need to prove without a reasonable doubt that there is a good reason and it will need to be within the statute of limitations. This includes:
- Proving that the defendant acted in a fraudulent or coercive manner
- Proving that your settlement negotiation was entered into in bad faith
- Proving another person was responsible and should be held liable — such as a manufacturer after finding out a faulty part was to blame
Scenarios Where You Cannot Sue After a Settlement
During most personal injury claims, the at-fault party’s insurance company requires you to sign a liability waiver or release form before you’ll receive the settlement. This liability release is a legally binding contract that you must comply with as a condition of receiving the settlement compensation. This includes agreeing not to take any further legal action against the at-fault party.
The waiver also assures the insurance company that you will not continue to pursue compensation for the same accident. This includes any legal claim you may have against the at-fault party at the time of signing the release and include situations where you find out later that your injuries are worse than initially suspected.
How an Attorney Can Help
Negotiating with the other party’s insurance company can be a nightmare. It doesn’t take much to accidentally accept fault while communicating with them — and that can immediately be used against you in negotiations. A personal injury attorney can not only help you find the evidence you need during the discovery process to prove you’re not responsible, but they can also negotiate on your behalf. This eliminates most of the stress associated with motor accidents and settlements.
An attorney fights to ensure you have the best possible outcome. And, if no settlement can be reached, your attorney will ensure you have everything you need to obtain that best outcome in court.
Call Clark Law for a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident and you don’t know how to move forward, let us help you. Our legal experts will ensure you have the best outcome possible. Call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.