Can You Reopen a Lawsuit?

Can You Reopen A Lawsuit? 

Each year, thousands of car accident injury lawsuits present in courtrooms across the US. Settling these personal injury lawsuits has become an entire industry. Settling a lawsuit, either inside or outside of court, marks the end of a claim. However, under certain circumstances, you can reopen a lawsuit. This can happen due to a number of reasons. Additional long-term injuries may have presented. You may decide to bring a case against another defendant. Unfortunately, there are instances of legal malpractice. These are all possible reasons to reopen a lawsuit. 

Perhaps you believe your lawsuit may be one of the unusual cases that can result in reopening. If so, research your options. Reach out for another legal opinion if you feel like your attorney is giving you bad advice. Reopening a lawsuit is not the norm and you cannot file another lawsuit against the same party. Knowing this, you can more effectively advocate for your case before settling.

When does a lawsuit end?

When you settle a car accident lawsuit, you’ll need to sign a release of liability. This means that the case is over. The case is over even if you reject the settlement money. The moment you sign a release of liability form, you end your case, even if you’re in the middle of the lawsuit phase. For many outside of the legal realm, the end of a lawsuit can seem quite sudden and confusing.

If you settle your case in court, your lawsuit closes. This makes it very difficult to reopen your lawsuit. There is little legal precedence in favor of reopening typical personal injury lawsuits. Generally, there must be extreme circumstances. These may include legal misconduct, new lasting injury, or multiple parties at fault for the accident.

Remember, you cannot reopen a claim against a defendant you’ve settled with. If you have already settled outside of court, you can not bring a new lawsuit against the same defendant. You may find yourself frustrated with the amount of money offered in your settlement. In this instance, you need to fight for a higher amount before signing a release of liability. Once your lawsuit has ended, it will be difficult to reopen your lawsuit. This is true even under the best circumstances. 

What is a ‘release of liability’ form?

A waiver of liability is a common aspect of many car crash injury settlements. These forms are to protect insurance companies and defendants from liability. It can also protect them from facing future litigation. When you sign a release of liability form, you become the party known as the ‘releasor’. On the other hand, the defendant is the ‘releasee’. 

An experienced attorney will make sure that you do not sign any release of liability form prematurely.  You should not sign until you are happy with the amount of settlement money you will receive. A signed release of liability form ends your case. Therefore, it is critical to negotiate before signing.

Signing a release of liability form or waiver ends your case regardless of where you are in the lawsuit process. Make sure you read these forms carefully. If you are unsure whether or not it would be in your best interest to sign, consult with a local attorney. They will make sure you end your case only when it is in your best interest.

What happens if I settle my case?

Once your case has settled, you typically can not reopen your lawsuit. However, it is possible to reopen a lawsuit if you cannot agree with the other side’s attorney or insurance company about key settlement terms. Reaching a settlement requires negotiation. In some cases, the parties will have a disagreement about the settlement terms. 

During the most serious of disagreements, the plaintiff or defendant may back out of a settlement negotiation. In this case, you’ll need to talk to your attorney to see what your options are for reopening your lawsuit. Many factors will go into the legality of whether or not you can reopen your lawsuit.

Going into the settlement phase of a lawsuit does not automatically end your case. If a settlement is unreachable for both parties, your legal council may recommend reopening your case. This is unlikely, however, as most insurance companies seek to settle outside of court whenever they can. 

Can you reopen a lawsuit because of poor council?

Imagine that your lawsuit is over and you realize that your attorney gave you bad legal advice. Once your lawsuit is over, you cannot open a new lawsuit with a new legal council. However, you may have options if your previous attorney committed legal malpractice. You will have to prove legal malpractice in a court of law to have any impact on your lawsuit. The laws handling this type of malpractice vary from state to state. Reach out for another legal opinion to see if your case may qualify. 

Legal malpractice is a serious offence and a tough case to prove. However, there are options available to you. This includes filing a lawsuit against your previous attorney for mishandling your car crash injury case. Even if you cannot reopen your original lawsuit, this may help you reclaim some money that you may need.

Can I reopen a lawsuit if I’m unhappy with my settlement?

Unfortunately, you cannot reopen a car accident claim that has already settled. This is the case even if you settled without a lawyer and have now hired one. This means it’s extremely important to talk to an experienced attorney. This is vital before signing any paperwork from the at-fault party’s insurance company. The insurance companies will do everything they can to settle your case outside of court.

The time to negotiate with the insurance adjuster is before signing a release of liability waiver. If you have already ended your case by yourself, it is unlikely that a lawyer will be able to reopen your lawsuit. There will need to be extreme circumstances working in your favor. While it is possible for you to reopen a lawsuit, generally there must be legal misconduct by one of the parties involved. Any previous settlements are not considered when trying to reopen a lawsuit.

Can I reopen a lawsuit if there is another at-fault party involved in my accident?

If there is more than one at-fault party involved in your car accident, you may be able to claim damages from several parties. This will involve filing a new lawsuit against any other at-fault parties. This works in your favor if you have already ended another case regarding the same car crash.

However, make sure you work in combination with an experienced lawyer. Read over any insurance company paperwork you may have already signed. Many insurance companies work clauses into their release from liability forms. They often state you may not seek damages for the same injuries from other parties. If you have already signed a waiver like this, it may be difficult or even impossible to file a new lawsuit.

Speak to an Attorney About Your Lawsuit

Because it is so difficult to reopen your lawsuit, it’s important that you speak with an attorney before settling. You may not be aware of all the nuances of case law that will work in your favor during the settlement process. Additionally, a good lawyer has experience with negotiating with insurance companies. With a good legal council, you will not need to worry about reopening your lawsuit. Ideally,  your lawyer will handle it correctly the first time.