In the vast majority of personal injury cases, whether settled prior to going to trial or resolved at trial, once closed they cannot be reopened. Nor can you get a new trial even when there is new evidence. The reason the law does not make provisions so you can reopen a settled case is directly related the resolution of these types of lawsuits.
If you reached a settlement agreement, either on your own or with assistance from a qualified personal injury lawyer, then you must sign a release document before you receive your settlement. The release document relieves the other party from all future claims related to the injuries and accident.
Basically, you are agreeing to a set amount of money in exchange for not taking any further legal actions against the other party. If you already received the check and cashed it, then later discover your injuries were more severe or there were other complications, there is little you can do.
This is why it is important to ensure you take care of your present and future needs when negotiating a settlement for your injuries. Furthermore, attempting to do this alone is never in your best interests. When you have a personal injury lawyer representing your interests, you tend to get a much higher settlement.
The reason lawyers help you achieve a higher settlement amount is that they are aware of the potential for future problems related to your injuries. They want to make sure your needs, now and in the future, are taken care of financially.
What if I have negotiated a settlement on my own but have not signed any release?
If you have merely reached a settlement offer and have yet to sign the release, there is still time to consult with a lawyer. This will be the very last chance you have to reject the offer and let your lawyer take over the case on your behalf.
What if my case went to trial and I lost?
If the case went to trial and the judge or jury found in favor of the defendant, it may be possible to appeal the outcome of the case. There must be evidence supporting an error occurred during the trial or substantial new evidence that would alter the outcome for the appeal court to consider reversing the decision of the lower court.
Are there ever any exceptions to getting a new trial?
There are a few exceptions in rare cases where you may be able to convince the courts a new trial is warranted. For instance, you discover more than one party could be held accountable for your injuries. As long as the release from the initial settlement does not have any wording to preclude you from taking action against other parties, you could get a new trial against each new party.
Even though there are a few exceptions, you should never risk it. It is better to consult with one of our NYC personal injury lawyers as soon as possible after your accident. Please feel free to contact The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. at 1-800-2-DEARIE (1-800-233-2743) to arrange a free consultation today!