Can You Reopen an Injury Case?

Can You Reopen an Injury Case?

There are instances when the reopening of a case is allowed. Each case is unique and whether a case can be reopened or not depends on the specific circumstances of the case. An experienced attorney in Long Island can review an injury case to determine if reopening it is possible.

Can a Personal Injury Lawsuit Be Reopened?

Possibly, the court closes a lawsuit by filing a judgment or a dismissal: Each of these may be filed ‘with prejudice’ or ‘without prejudice.’ The way the case was closed determines whether the closed case can be reopened. In general, a case dismissed ‘with prejudice’ cannot be reopened; whereas, a case that is dismissed ‘without prejudice’ can be reopened at a later date.

Settling a Case

When a case is settled, it means that the injured (plaintiff) agrees to accept money from the person or company (defendant) responsible for the damages the plaintiff suffered in return for dropping the legal action being pursued. Once a settlement is reached, the plaintiff signs a ‘Release of Liability.’

It is vital that the plaintiff thoroughly review this release prior to signing it. Additionally, since an experienced personal injury attorney is familiar with these types of releases, the plaintiff should have an attorney present during this action. Otherwise, the plaintiff may not be happy with the settlement and once the Release of Liability is signed, it absolves the defendant from any further responsibility for the plaintiff’s damages.

Personal Injury Case, Settlement or Trial: Which is Best?

If a settlement is reached before the trial begins, there will not be a trial. However, as long as the jury has yet to reach a verdict, a settlement can be reached at any point throughout the trial.

Ultimately, the plaintiff decides if he or she would like to accept a settlement offered by the defendant; However, a personal injury attorney can usually gauge what would be in the plaintiff’s best interest (to settle, go to trial or wait for the jury’s verdict).

For the Most Part, Once the Release of Liability is Signed, the Case is Over

The plaintiff should seek legal representation before signing a release absolving the defendant from any further liability. Once the Release of Liability is signed, even when a case is in suit, the case is over; therefore, the plaintiff will never be permitted to reopen the personal injury claim after settlement. Furthermore, if the case is settled before the lawsuit is filed, the plaintiff cannot choose to sue the defendant for any of the damages included in the signed release at a later date.

Car Accident Personal Injury Cases

Suing After a Car Accident Settlement

When it comes to a car accident in Long Island, your medical expenses and lost wages should be covered by your no-fault insurance policy. This no-fault policy covers up to $50,000; however, in order to obtain compensation for pain and suffering, and property damage, a personal injury claim must be filed. A personal injury attorney experienced in helping people attain compensation following a car accident knows the steps that need to be taken to file this type of claim.

Backing Out of a Car Accident Settlement

On rare occasions, a claimant (person injured) can back out of a settlement. If the claimant agrees to settle the car accident case, but he or she does not agree with the terms of the settlement being offered by the insurer or defense attorney, the claimant may be able to back out of the settlement, altogether.

Keep in mind that in order to settle a car accident personal injury case the claimant is required to sign a release: Although the majority of releases used in car accident personal injury cases are usually straightforward, on occasion, disputes over the terms arise. When a dispute is significant enough, the claimant may be able to back out of the agreement to settle.

Settling a Car Accident Personal Injury Case Already in Suit

The claimant’s personal injury attorney will argue over the terms of the settlement: Typically, a consensus will be reached between the Defense Attorney and the personal injury attorney. The agreed upon settlement release is then presented to the claimant for review.

When a consensus cannot be reached:

If a consensus cannot be reached, the release may be taken to a judge. The judge may order the terms of the release be changed, order the claimant to sign the release as it is or cancel the settlement and order the lawsuit to continue.

When Settlement is Reached After a Car Accident, But Before Filing Suit

Claimants should not sign the release they receive from the adjuster. Settling a car accident without an attorney can be a mistake. If the claimant is unhappy with the settlement being offered, legal representation is necessary because the adjuster will not change his or her mind based on the claimant’s request.

While hiring an attorney to negotiate the terms of a release does not guarantee the adjuster will reconsider, it does provide the claimant with a bit more leverage because the attorney has experience dealing with issues such as this. If the adjuster refuses to negotiate the terms of the release, your attorney can help the claimant file suit. Once a suit is filed, a judge determines if the claimant can back out of the settlement or if the terms of the release need to be changed.

Special Circumstances: Multiple Defendants in a Car Accident Case

If a claimant settles a claim with one defendant, he or she still has the right to file suit against other potential defendants. For example, a car accident involving multiple parties. However, prior to signing any releases, claimants must ensure that the release does not excuse all potential defendants from liability. A personal injury attorney is familiar with the wording some insurance companies use in their releases, which is why having an experienced attorney is beneficial.

Reopening a case can be tedious, which is why individuals who are interested in reopening a case that was closed without prejudice need to find a Personal Injury Attorney who has experience with these kinds of lawsuits. Finding an attorney knowledgeable in this area maximizes the chance of success. If you have a case that you believe can be reopened, contact The Law Office of Siler & Ingber, LLP today. Let our knowledgeable attorneys help you reopen your case.

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