Can A Personal Injury Claim Be Reopened?
Personal injury claims are a legal matter that demands a certain degree of clarity and understanding to protect your rights. You may have already settled a personal injury lawsuit or claim, but did you know that you may be able to reopen it under some circumstances?
While it may be possible to reopen your personal injury claim in certain cases, doing so can be complicated. If you have settled a personal injury claim and want to learn more about reopening it, contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers. Our Dunwoody personal injury lawyers represent injured victims throughout the state of Georgia, including Cobb County, Gwinnett County, and Fulton County.
Are Personal Injury Settlements Final?
Before delving deeper into the topic, it is essential to understand that, in most cases, personal injury settlements or judgments are considered final. Once a settlement agreement has been signed or a judgment order has been entered, the case comes to an end, and the parties involved generally cannot reopen the case. Therefore, personal injury settlements are usually considered final and binding, bringing an end to the litigation.
Can You File a Lawsuit After Settling Your Claim?
Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33) gives injured victims two years from the date of the accident to bring a lawsuit. Typically, injured victims give up their right to sue the defendant for damages when they settle their claim.
If you have already settled out of court or accepted an agreement voluntarily, you generally may not file a lawsuit for compensatory damages or reopen your personal injury case. However, some cases may be reopened after both parties agree upon signed documents or a judgment. For example, if there was a significant mistake in the settlement amount, either party may request for this to be reopened.
When Could You Reopen Your Personal Injury Case?
Though rarely if the settlement agreement or judgment was based on fraud or deception, the case could potentially be reopened. Suppose any legal terms were violated or one of the parties committed perjury. In such an instance, the litigants may reopen the case to reassess the damages. If the plaintiff witnessed the impossibility of fulfilling their commitment, such as medical treatment or a settlement for a specific period, the case may reopen.
When You CANNOT Reopen Your Personal Injury Case
When a personal injury case comes to a close, it is considered final, and the parties involved cannot usually reopen it. In general, the judgment or settlement agreement legally confirms a final resolution. The law intends for these settlements or agreements to provide finality and certainty for both parties. Thus, if your condition has worsened after the settlement or you have incurred more losses than initially expected when settling your claim, you will most likely not be able to reopen your personal injury case.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
When considering reopening a personal injury case, it is essential to consult an experienced lawyer. A qualified lawyer will review your case at every step and inform you if you have a chance of reopening the case. Your attorney will inform you whether there are grounds to reopen your case as each case is different concerning its specifics. Having a skilled lawyer on your side is critical when it comes to creating an agreement that contains language allowing a personal injury claim to be reopened under a specific set of circumstances.
Thinking of Reopening Your Personal Injury Claim? Speak with a Lawyer
The question of whether a personal injury claim can be reopened or not is quite complex with no clear-cut answers. Each case is unique, which is why you might want to seek legal counsel if you are thinking of reopening your personal injury claim. Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers to get a free case evaluation. We assist injured victims in Dunwoody, Atlanta, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, and Sandy Springs. Call 770-685-6400 to receive a free case evaluation.