In most cases, once a settlement has been reached by both parties, a personal injury claim cannot be reopened. You might have to spend a lot of money on medical expenses and miss work due to an injury. Before closing the case, ensure you are happy with the settlement offer because personal injury cases are rarely reopened.
How Are Personal Injury Cases Closed?
Typically, there are only two ways to resolve a personal injury case: the plaintiff accepts a settlement offer or the case goes to trial. A jury or the presiding judge decides the case during the trial. However, because they avoid the time and expense of going to court, many injured parties opt to settle.
A settlement can be a problem if the amount does not adequately compensate you for your damages, even though it can be a good substitute for the drawn-out and frequently perplexing Georgia trial system.
When an injury is more severe and expensive than anticipated, the injured person may wonder if they can reopen their case. A personal injury case typically cannot be reopened, especially if you previously accepted a settlement offer.
This is so because the defense attorney for the defendant probably made you sign a release of liability as part of the settlement agreement. If a case goes to trial, the verdict will determine whether it can be reopened in the future.
What is a Release of Liability?
A release of liability is a formal agreement that absolves the other party of any further obligations once the case has been resolved. By signing this document, you acknowledge that the other party is no longer liable for your damages. Before agreeing to sign a release of liability, it is frequently a good idea to speak with a personal injury attorney about your case.
Check Also: Can You File a Personal Injury Claim Without a Hospital Visit After an Accident?
Exceptions That May Allow You to Reopen Your Injury Case
In certain circumstances, you may be able to reopen your injury case. These consist of:
- You haven’t yet accepted a settlement proposal: You have the right to withdraw from a contract until you receive the settlement offer. If you have already given a verbal agreement, things do get tricky.
- The contract is void: If there are any mistakes in the agreement contract, it might be invalid. This could involve inaccurate information about the settlement sum, wrong names, or other specifics.
- Misrepresentation: If the legal advice you received was deceptive, you might be able to bring a professional malpractice claim.
- The responsible party didn’t pay the settlement as agreed: The prior agreement may be void if the responsible party doesn’t pay within the predetermined time frame. The judge may merely order them to pay by a specific deadline, or the case may be reopened in some circumstances.
Another crucial consideration is the statute of limitations. You only have two years from the date of the injury in Georgia to file a personal injury claim to be eligible for compensation. The state is less likely to reopen if the statute of limitations has expired.
You risk losing your right to file a compensation claim even if liability and negligence in your case are apparent. But it’s important to remember that the statute of limitations may change depending on the kind of injury.
For instance, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation only allows people who have been hurt at work and seek compensation through workers’ compensation benefits for one year to file a claim. The injured worker must also submit a notice of claim within a year of the end of their medical care.
What Alternative Compensation Options are Available?
There may be several parties at fault when someone is hurt. Just because you settled with one of the parties at fault does not preclude you from pursuing additional damages from another offender. You might be able to seek further compensation from another at-fault party if the initial settlement offer did not adequately compensate you for your losses.
The best course of action is to work with a personal injury attorney who can assist you in investigating your legal options.
Prevent Mistakes in the Personal Injury Claims Process
Getting a personal injury case right the first time is crucial because it’s not always possible to reopen one. A personal injury attorney in Georgia can assist you in navigating the legal system and ensuring that your case is brought within the state’s statute of limitations.
The value of your case must also be carefully considered. Consider how the injury has impacted your life as you work closely with your injury attorney.
Think about things like:
- present-day medical expenses: copayments for medical services, medications, and transportation for urgent situations
- Expected medical expenses: Future copayments for medical services, prescription drugs, and specialist visits
- Costs of rehabilitation: Renovations to the home, modifications to the vehicle, in-home nursing care, and a physical therapist
- Wages and benefits lost: lost wages or benefits from working while recovering
- reduced earning potential If your injury makes it impossible for you to perform the same job, your expected income will decrease.
- Suffering and pain: The emotional and physical suffering that frequently follows an injury, as well as counseling services