No, you cannot reopen your car accident claim once you settle it. Insurers settle car accident claims after you sign a release of liability or a release of all claims form. It is not uncommon for insurers to present you (or your attorney) with this release relatively early in the claims process. And it is easy to feel pressured to sign one.
If the insurer presents your attorney with a release, she will present it to you to discuss. It is important to note that this is not necessarily an endorsement of the release. Your attorney simply wants to keep you aware of your claim’s status and current options.
There are three important things to remember when presented with a release of liability:
- You do not need to sign the release if you are not comfortable with it.
- Your lawyer cannot agree to a release. Only you can.
- It is typically best not to sign a release soon after your accident as it is likely less than you deserve.
What is a Release?
Release forms set the terms of the settlement and finalize liability payments with your signature. In addition, they prevent you from filing a lawsuit if you have not already. And if you have filed a lawsuit, the release ends the suit.
What Are a Release’s Usual Terms?
While no claim is identical, there are a few common elements prevalent in release forms.
Here are a few to expect:
- The amount of the settlement payout
- A statement citing the day the accident occurred
- Any medical expenses the insurer will cover
- A statement denying liability on behalf of the defendant
The last point is a key reason why an insurer prefers you to sign liability forms as soon as possible. And it also explains why you cannot reopen your claim. Though you are receiving a settlement for damages, the defendant is denying culpability. This curtails your ability to seek further damages in the event your injuries or damages incurred exceed the settlement.
It is in the insurance adjuster’s best interest to get you to sign a settlement as early as possible. In many cases, you will not have been able to determine how your injuries will affect you in the future and will not have an accurate value of your claim. In other cases, you may believe this is the best settlement you can get because you are unsure what your case is truly worth.
However, these settlement offers are often much lower than you deserve. It is prudent to wait until you know the full extent of your injuries and other damages before settling. Always have an attorney look over a release form before you sign it. A lawyer will be able to determine if you are getting the best deal possible. S. Burke Law has extensive experience with similar claims, and can provide you with sound legal counsel.
Get Help From S. Burke Law Today
Do not sign a settlement agreement without speaking to the team at S. Burke Law. We will ensure your settlement covers all accident-related expenses you incurred.
Do not risk leaving hundreds or thousands on the table. Call S. Burke Law today: 404-842-7838.