If you were injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s action or negligence, and you accept any insurance settlement, can you still sue for additional compensation? Our personal injury attorneys in Houston are often asked this question, and while the answer is generally no, like nearly everything in law, there are gray areas and exceptions. To help you determine your next steps, we’re sharing your options for what you can do after accepting a settlement from an insurance company.
When Can I NOT Sue After Accepting an Insurance Settlement?
Once you settle an accident claim, the insurance company or the defendant’s attorney will require you to sign an agreement that releases the defendant from any additional liability related to the accident. After the release of liability document is signed, you can’t reopen the claim against the at-fault party, even if you didn’t receive financial compensation for your injuries or for your claim.
When Can I Sue After Settling My Claim?
While the door to suing an at-fault party after you received a settlement is generally closed, there are a few steps you can take.
Fraud or Coercion
A document is considered invalid if the defendant or the defendant’s representative acted in a fraudulent manner or applied coercive measures to secure your signature. If you can prove fraud or coercion came into play, you and your attorney can file a lawsuit to throw out the original settlement, nullify the release of liability, and seek compensation for your injuries.
Suing Another At-Fault Party
The release of liability and settlement is only applicable to the defendant you settled with originally. If someone else was also at fault or responsible for your accident, you can also file a lawsuit against them as well. For example, if you were injured in a car accident and settle with the driver, but the accident was partly due to a defective component of the at-fault driver’s vehicle, you can file a claim against the manufacturer.
What Should I Do Before I Accept a Settlement?
Insurance companies will often contact someone soon after an accident offering a settlement. They may say that they want to resolve the issue quickly or even turn it around like they know you are struggling and are seeking to help. However, insurance companies are looking out for their profits and not your well-being. Before you accept any insurance settlement or sign a release of liability document, make sure you do the following:
First, make sure you have all the documentation of your injury, recovery, and effects of the accident. This includes pictures, records of missing work, medical records, and bills as this will help support your claim.
Consider the Long-Term Effects
Insurance settlements may offer enough to cover medical bills or even some of your lost wages, but it’s important to determine how the injury will affect your ability to earn an income in the future as well as medical bills as you continue to heal. You may need to discuss this with medical experts to get a realistic look at what your future holds.
Talk to an Attorney
The most important thing you can do after seeking medical attention for your injury is to speak with an attorney. They can look at your case, investigate it fully, and review the settlement to see if it’s in your best interest. Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side will ensure you don’t lose out on fair compensation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney in Houston
If you were injured in a car accident, trucking accident, or other accident caused by negligence, don’t speak with insurance companies or make decisions until you consult with the experienced attorneys at the Ivey Law Firm. We will advocate on your behalf and provide you with the legal representation that can lead to more favorable settlements that can help you move forward after an injury. Call us today at 888-335-0015 or fill out the form below to get started.