In the event of a personal injury, you might have the opportunity to accept a settlement. You should be very cautious and make sure that you are aware of all of your legal rights before doing so.
Once a settlement is accepted and becomes final, you will likely lose your right to sue. In very rare instances, your case could differ based on the settlement’s terms and how it was accepted. Settlements involving coercion in rare instances might not be legally binding. Alternatively, if the settlement terms do not strictly prohibit future lawsuits, you might be able to sue. Even if you accept a settlement in principal, you might have some time before the settlement becomes final before you sign any documentation, and an attorney can help you rethink your decision. An attorney can also help take steps before accepting a settlement to negotiate fair terms.
If you were recently injured and are considering a personal injury action, our Indiana personal injury lawyers can help you negotiate a settlement. If you are reconsidering a settlement, we can help you figure a way out if possible. Call Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166.
In most cases, settlements are the final word in personal injury cases. Typically, a settlement will include a release which limits your legal rights once the settlement becomes final. It is standard for settlements to include release language that prevents plaintiffs from filing any future legal action against the defendant regarding the current personal injury case.
You can file a lawsuit after accepting a settlement only if the settlement terms do not prohibit further legal action. This typically involves continuing to pursue a claim against another party. For example, if you accept a settlement for a first-party insurance claim such as property damage or medical payment provisions under your policy, but the settlement does not prohibit further legal action or contain a release, you may be able to sue for injuries and losses that were not covered by the settlement. This may present complicated issues and you should speak with our Indianapolis personal injury attorneys about your case before reaching any agreement.
You might also be able to file a lawsuit after accepting a settlement if the new lawsuit is not connected to the settlement. Settlement terms and conditions only apply to specific legal actions. For example, if you accept a settlement for a car accident, you probably cannot file any lawsuits against the same defendant regarding that car accident. However, a separate legal action against other defendants arising from the same accident may be unaffected by the settlement, although there will likely be issues regarding whether other defendants will be entitled to a “set off” of the amounts already paid to you in the prior settlement.
Many people reach settlement agreements with insurance companies before pursuing lawsuits for the remainder of their damages. For example, if the other driver in a car accident was uninsured, you would file a claim with your own uninsured motorist coverage to get things like medical bills paid for. After that, you might sue the other driver. In such cases, the insurance company might file a subrogation claim to get back some of the money they paid to you if the insurance and the lawsuit covered the same damages.
Essentially, if you receive payment through a lawsuit for damages already paid for in a settlement with the defendant’s insurance, the insurance company will want some money back. Legally, plaintiffs should not be recovering compensation for the same damages twice, thereby turning a profit on their injuries. However, insurance companies might try to claim your damages have been covered twice when you were compensated for separate damages.
Sometimes, a settlement may become final very quickly after a plaintiff accepts. Other times, the parties agree to the settlement, but it might not become final for a while as both parties take time to review the agreement. If you have accepted a settlement, but the settlement is not yet final, there might still be time to back out and pursue a lawsuit instead.
A settlement is rarely based on an oral agreement or a handshake. In most cases, you will be required to sign some paperwork before the agreement is final and legally binding, although there are exceptions, particularly if settlement is reached through a mediation process. Typically, once the settlement terms are agreed upon, the parties will draw up a contract representing the agreement that must be signed by all parties involved.
If you have accepted a settlement but have not yet signed anything, contact an attorney to review your settlement immediately. Our South Bend personal injury lawyers can help you determine if the settlement is good or if you should reconsider and file a lawsuit.
Before accepting a settlement agreement in Indiana, the very first thing you should do is hire a lawyer. Our Hammond personal injury attorneys can help you negotiate the best settlement agreement possible and stick up for your rights if the defendant tries to bulldoze you. If a settlement is good, you should not have to worry about filing a lawsuit later.
If you do not know how much your total damages are worth, it may be easy for the defendant to take advantage of you and secure a bad settlement. Remember, your damages are more than just your medical expenses or property damage. You must also consider your emotional and physical pain and suffering, lost income from missing work or losing your job, and any future losses you can expect because of the defendant’s negligence.
One of the cardinal rules of any negotiations is never to accept the first offer. Your attorney can help you come up with a counteroffer for a better settlement. You might have to go back and forth with the defendant, but a good settlement takes time. During this process, do not be afraid to stand up for yourself if you feel you are being pressured to accept a bad deal.
If you are in the midst of a personal injury case and need help with a potential settlement, contact our Milwaukee personal injury lawyers now. We can help you reach a good settlement that fully compensates you and review the terms of any settlement agreement before you sign it to ensure you are treated fairly. Call Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166 for a free case review.
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Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.
More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.
In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.
Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.
For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.
Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.
Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.