Once you settle a personal injury claim, there is no going back. Even if it turns out that your injuries are much worse than you originally thought or if you experienced unexpected costs, you cannot ask the insurance company for more money. No matter how strong your argument may be, you cannot reopen a claim after you settle it.
That is why it is so important to reach a fair settlement. Do not wait until after you accept the insurance company’s settlement offer to seek legal advice. By then, it will be too late to negotiate for a fair amount. Contact a lawyer to set up a consultation.
Do Not Sign a Release Form
The reason an individual cannot reopen a personal injury claim after accepting a settlement is the insurance company’s release form. Before any insurance company writes an individual a cheque, it will ask them to sign a full and final release form. Insurance companies may call these forms by different names, but they all mean the same thing: an individual will release the insurance company from all future claims related to the accident.
Unfortunately, without a lawyer’s guidance, an individual may be accepting a settlement offer that is much lower than deserved.
Understanding the Prognosis & Long-Term Damages
Too many accident victims are left paying for their medical expenses out of their own pocket or are unable to work well into the future without getting any compensation for their lost earning capacity. Before an individual settles their claim, they should account for all current losses and expenses, as well as any long-term losses and expenses.
With a full understanding of an individual’s injury’s long-term prognosis and potential for temporary or permanent disability, they will be better equipped to negotiate a fair settlement. Without a full prognosis, an individual will be unable to evaluate settlement offers for whether they account for all of the damages.
Contact a Lawyer
If you have not signed anything yet, speak with a lawyer right away. An experienced lawyer will work with injured people in Ontario to get the full and fair compensation they deserve after an accident.
A lawyer can help build your case with solid evidence and determine if the insurance company’s settlement offer is fair. If a settlement offer does not compensate you for your full damages, a lawyer may work with medical experts and other expert witnesses to establish the long-term effects of your injuries, and any future costs and losses you can expect. Further, a lawyer will handle all negotiations on your behalf and can take your case to court if the insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement.
Never sign anything from the insurance company before you speak with a lawyer. You could be signing away your legal rights.