Most car crash claims are finalized once both sides have agreed to a settlement. Sometimes, however, accident victims may feel they were not fully compensated for the injuries and losses they suffered. This situation may leave some victims wondering if they have any further options for recovering compensation. Can they still file a lawsuit once they have agreed to a settlement?
Once you accept a settlement, you typically give up the right to seek additional damages through a lawsuit. However, there may be situations that allow you to file a lawsuit after reaching a settlement.
Jay Trucks talks about what happens when crash victims agree to a settlement and when you may or may not be able to file a lawsuit.
If you have been injured in a Michigan car crash and need answers to your legal questions, call our law offices 24/7. Our traffic accident lawyers in Grand Rapids have extensive experience with car crash claims, and we are ready to help.
Case Reviews are FREE. 989-244-0356
When a Settlement Becomes Binding
The settlement negotiations phase can take some time to conclude. After reaching an agreed settlement, crash victims will be asked to sign a binding agreement. This agreement includes a release form that confirms you will take no further legal action against the defendant.
Perhaps you have only given a verbal approval and have not yet signed any binding agreement or liability waiver. If so, you may still be able to get out of this settlement.
In Michigan, a settlement becomes binding if and when it:
- Has been agreed upon by all parties
- Is presented as a document “in writing”
- Is signed off by all involved parties
- Has been placed on record in open court before a judge
Once a settlement becomes binding, the injured victim cannot take further legal action against the defendant. This is why we so strongly recommend working with a qualified attorney when seeking compensation for your injuries. Without this level of experienced legal help, it is easy for insurance companies to get away with making a substandard offer that is far below the value of your claim.
When You May Be Able to File a Lawsuit After a Settlement
There are always some exceptions to the law, but they are complex and difficult to prove. In any of these situations, you will need an experienced attorney in your corner.
These exceptions include:
Bad Faith or Fraudulent Actions
This is a serious accusation that can be very difficult to prove. There are certain elements that must be established to prove that there was fraudulent misrepresentation, including proving:
- The defendant made a deliberate and false representation
- The at-fault party (defendant) knew the representation was false
- The defendant expected the claimant to rely on that false representation
- The claimant relied on the false representation and suffered losses as a result
Multiple Parties Involved in the Crash
If multiple parties were involved and contributed to causing your crash, you may have legal options for seeking additional compensation. Perhaps, for instance, you did not know a third party contributed to your crash until after the agreement was signed.
A couple of things that could prevent you from filing claims against additional parties in this situation include:
- If you signed a waiver that released all other parties from further legal action
- The statute of limitations has passed – typically three years from your date of injury in Michigan
Things to Consider Before You Agree to Any Settlement
There are several steps you should take before agreeing to any settlement offer. First and foremost, we do not recommend ever taking the first offer made by the insurance company. It is important to remember that their goals are different than yours. Insurance companies fight to pay out as little as possible to maintain their bottom line.
Personal injury lawyers have the same goal as you do – to obtain the maximum amount of compensation available for your damages.
Therefore, your first call is best made to an attorney. Our team of legal professionals is ready to help you protect and maximize your claim from day one.
Additional steps to remember:
- Do not admit fault, either at the accident scene or afterward – let crash investigators determine who may be liable
- Seek medical care immediately – putting this off could place your health in danger and also damage your claim
- Follow your attorney’s advice throughout the legal process to ensure your claim is not put at risk
- Let your attorney negotiate your settlement to ensure all the relevant factors are properly considered
Need Help With Your Car Crash Claim? Contact Jay Trucks Today
Be sure to contact our firm to schedule an initial consultation before accepting any settlement offer. There is no charge for this meeting, and there is also no obligation to hire our services.
In your free case review, one of our qualified attorneys is ready to review the unique circumstances of your situation and discuss your potential legal options.
If we represent you, there is nothing to pay us up front or while we manage your case. We only get paid our fee if we win your case.
We Fight for Maximum Compensation. 989-244-0356