Most personal injury claims are resolved through a settlement, often one provided by an insurance company. The settlement provides compensation for the victim’s damages and releases the at-fault party from further liability for the incident in question.
Once a victim signs a settlement, he or she loses the right to pursue more compensation from the at-fault party. That said, there are sometimes exceptions to this general rule, such as when there was another party at fault for your injury. If this at-fault party was not part of the settlement, you may be able to pursue a different claim against that party.
Below, learn more about your options for seeking more compensation for your damages after signing a settlement. It is important to review settlement offers with a licensed attorney to determine if they provide fair compensation for your damages, including future damages you may suffer.
What Happens After Signing a Settlement?
The insurance company often presents the first settlement offer. If the injury victim hires an experienced attorney, he or she will likely negotiate with the insurance company for more compensation. (Insurance companies often make lowball offers at the beginning of the claims process.)
The insurance company and the attorney may go back and forth until the insurance company makes an offer the attorney considers fair, or the insurance company agrees to one of the attorney’s offers. The attorney will then advise the victim and the victim can decide to accept or decline the offer.
If the victim accepts the settlement and signs it, it will likely contain a liability waiver or release. This clause releases the at-fault party from liability. The clause also releases the insurance company from liability for damages caused by the at-fault party.
This generally means you cannot sue the at-fault party or the insurance company for more compensation for the same accident. Your injury could get worse in the future, but you will still be unable to pursue more compensation from the insurance company or at-fault party.
That is why it is so important to carefully review your injuries and damages to determine how long they may affect you. If your injuries may cause chronic pain or require ongoing treatment, you need compensation because these treatments can quickly become very expensive. This is often the reason why attorneys consult doctors and other medical experts when trying to determine the value of a case.
When you go to the doctor for treatment, make sure to discuss all your symptoms. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for the doctor to provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment.
Your lawyer can also explain what else you can do to document your pain and suffering and the daily problems you experience because of your injuries.
When Can You Sue After Accepting a Settlement?
Sometimes an injury was caused by multiple parties. For example, maybe you were in a car accident with multiple other vehicles. That means multiple drivers may share fault. If the settlement you signed was only with one of those parties, you may still be able to pursue compensation from the other parties, either through insurance claims or potentially lawsuits.
It is possible for an insurance company to enter into a settlement in bad faith, you may be able to claim you were defrauded. Renegotiating your settlement could also be possible. However, this can be very difficult to prove, and you should strongly consider hiring an attorney if you believe fraud occurred.
Schedule a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Injury Claim
Once you agree to a settlement, you likely cannot seek more compensation for your damages. That is why it is so important to make sure any settlement you sign provides fair compensation for damages, particularly damages you may suffer in the future or on an ongoing basis.
Meeting with a Richmond personal injury lawyer is an important step in determining if a settlement offer is fair. At Geoff McDonald and Associates, our attorneys have obtained hundreds of millions in compensation on behalf of our clients. We know how to determine what a claim is worth and whether a settlement offer provides the compensation victims need.