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Can a Personal Injury Case Be Reopened? 

In most situations, once you accept a settlement offer by signing a liability release, you are in effect relinquishing your right to reopen or pursue that personal injury claim further. The liability release legally binds you to comply with the conditions of receiving compensation. However, there are some rare exceptions to this rule, such as when fraud is involved or multiple parties.


Signing a Release of Liability

A Release of Liability Form is a legal document that sets the terms of the settlement and finalizes liability payments with your signature. It also prevents you from filing a lawsuit if you have not already.  If you have filed a lawsuit, the release ends the suit. Here is what you can commonly expect in the release forms: 

  • A statement citing the day the accident occurred.
  • A statement denying liability on behalf of the defendant.
  • Any medical expenses the insurer will cover.
  • The amount of the settlement payout.

An insurance company prefers you to sign the liability form as soon as possible. The key reason is that, although you are receiving compensation for damages, the defendant is denying culpability. This prevents you from being able to seek further damages if your injuries or losses exceed the settlement amount. 


When Can a Personal Injury Case Be Reopened? 

There are some circumstances that may allow you to pursue additional damages on your personal injury claim even if you’ve already negotiated a settlement:

  • If you’ve agreed to the terms of the settlement agreement but haven’t signed it yet.
  • If you’ve signed the settlement agreement, but it didn’t contain a release of liability and you haven’t signed a release yet.
  • Multiple parties were at fault for the accident and the release of liability you signed does not prevent you from taking legal action against the other responsible parties. 
  • If you can prove the defendant acted in a fraudulent or coercive manner. 

If any of these apply in your situation, an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer can help.


The Importance of Working with a Personal Injury Lawyer Early On

Even if it seems like the fault is cut and dry in your injury accident, the litigation process is complicated. If you take on the claim yourself, you may end up with a less than the fair amount that will not enable you to fully recover. When you choose to work with a lawyer early on, they will handle the difficult paperwork and negotiations for you. Their experience will also ensure you are not taken advantage of and can advise you on when to sign a release of liability. That way you won’t have to worry about whether you’ll be able to reopen your case further down the line. 


Get Help From CaseyGerry Today

The best advice we can give you is to not sign a settlement agreement before speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer at CaseyGerry. We will ensure you recover enough compensation to fully cover all of your losses. Call (619) 238-1811 or message us online today for a free consultation.